Our diet affects our physical body, which means it also nourishes our brain. We may not fully appreciate it. But the food we regularly consume also directly affects our mental function, including our memory. The food we eat commonly and regularly either will help to improve our memory or causes memory loss. Therefore, keeping our body healthy is important for keeping our brain working at its best too.
Several foods and supplements can help boost memory and cognition, as well as lower our risk for dementia. However, some foods may wreak havoc on our brain health and can increase our chances of developing neurodegenerative diseases. Most of these foods that are bad for the brain are also simply bad for the body in general. So eating them rarely or completely removing them from your diet will not only benefit your brain. But will likewise benefit your entire body.
Here are the top foods that may cause memory loss. And these foods can also increase a person’s risk of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.
Refined carbohydrates are foods that contain highly processed grains, such as white flour and white bread, as well as pasta, cakes, and white sugar. These foods have a high glycemic index, meaning our bodies digest them too quickly to be able to use the glucose as it is released.
As a result, blood sugar, and subsequently, insulin levels shoot up, which causes our bodies to release toxins that are harmful to the brain. Studies have shown that these foods can negatively affect brain function in both adults and children.
Additionally, a diet that consists of large amounts of refined carbs can lead to diabetes and insulin resistance. People with diabetes have higher chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Processed Foods Are Potential Causes Of Memory Loss
Processed foods, including processed meats, tend to contain high levels of trans fat. Artificial trans fat, also called hydrogenated vegetable oil, is known to cause negative health effects. Several studies show that trans fat can be detrimental to brain health. Nearly 80% of foods that contain trans fat are processed foods such as pre-packaged snacks and cakes containing shortening, margarine and frosting, as well as bacon and other deli meats.
Consuming foods that are high in trans fat is proven to decrease memory and contribute to cognitive decline. This may be due to nitrosamines found in trans fat, which triggers the liver to produce fats that can be harmful to the brain.
Alcohol Causes Memory Loss
Prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption can cause memory loss and may even have a long-term negative effect on our brain health. Alcohol may lead to a decrease in cognition and other brain function, such as memory.
It weakens our brain cells and reduces our brain volume, which leads to memory impairment and decline in cognitive function. Alcohol can also disrupt the neurotransmitters in our brains, making it difficult for us to think and communicate with others.
The harmful side effects of alcohol to our brains can be twice as dangerous on teenagers, whose brains are still developing. Also, alcoholic products such as beer are high in nitrites. Nitrites have long been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Soy in any form can be harmful to the brain, especially to seniors. Consuming soy in large quantities, may it be tofu or soy sauce, lead to a decline in an individual’s ability to recall and retain information.
A study in 2008 published in Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders claimed that the high phytoestrogen content of soy could negatively affect an aging brain, which can impair memory and also increase the risk of dementia.
Foods High in Mercury
Foods that are high in mercury are believed to be bad for your brain. These can include some types of fish, especially those at the higher end of the aquatic food chain. Mercury, a neurotoxin, is known to cause a decline in brain function, including memory. Mercury can build up in the brain which can directly affect the brain and other organs in the body. Over-consumption of mercury over an extended period, which can occur among seniors, is not healthy and can cause brain fog and memory loss.
Much like the other refined carbs, long-term consumption of sugary drinks can greatly increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and diabetes has long been linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
Our brain, as we know, is a vital body part. Similar to the other parts of our bodies, the brain also deserves to be well-nourished. Eating well for the body as a whole and limiting our intake of artificial foods and foods that are high in simple carbohydrates is beneficial to our heart, blood sugar levels, and kidneys, as well as the brain. Making an effort to eat well and healthy will not just make our bodies stronger, but our minds robust and vibrant for the rest of our lives.
The Bottom Line
In summary, memory loss is a serious issue that can be caused by various factors. However, the above mentioned are six common foods that may be causing your memory loss. While some of these foods may not be entirely harmful, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid them if possible. With so many other healthy and delicious options available, there is no need to take the risk. To avoid these foods, you should eat a balanced diet and consult with your doctor if you have any concerns.