While most of us have quite a clear understanding of what to eat to keep our brain sharp and young at any age, we usually ignore the fact that a poor diet can totally outweigh the benefits of a healthy one. There are certain foods that have a negative impact on our brain health and can provoke irreversible damage. It’s time to find out what foods can make your brain shrink and, therefore, should be avoided.
#1. Canola, Sunflower, and Soybean Oils
While Omega-3 fatty acids work to improve our memory, Omega-6, on the contrary, can eventually kill our brain by causing inflammation. According to scientific research conducted in 2017, consumption of canola oil, abundant in Omega-6, can cause memory loss and even provoke Alzheimer’s disease. Since vegetable oils such as sunflower and soybean oils also contain significant levels of Omega-6, experts recommend reducing their consumption as well. On the other hand, Omega-6 shouldn’t be totally excluded from our diet since it is beneficial for our hair, skin, and bones. The trick is to choose vegetable oils that contain both Omega-6 and Omega-3 since Omega-3 fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory effects. Olive oil is a perfect combination of the two types of fatty acids for your benefit.
#2. Sugary Drinks
A sugary drink is the second-worst thing to feed our brain. Sweetened beverages not only cause weight gain, heart issues, and type 2 diabetes – which, by the way, sounds like an obvious reason to quit drinking them as it is – but they also can damage our brain. Excessive amounts of sugar plus sodium benzoate, a food preservative, cause neurological damage that is linked to memory and cognitive impairment. Energy drinks in their turn pose another threat due to high amounts of caffeine they contain. Combined with sugar, it can have a negative impact on your sleep pattern. Sleep deprivation can affect our mood, cognitive abilities, memory, and eventually result in depression.
#3. Sugar-Free Foods
Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can be as harmful to our brain health as sugar itself. Various studies show that regular consumption of aspartame can be linked not only to mood swings, depression, cognitive impairment, and anxiety but also to a greater risk of stroke and dementia. However, aspartame is still considered to be safe and, hence, is widely used in diet soft drinks. If you’d prefer to cut it from your diet, you better avoid foods labeled “diet” or “sugar-free.”