Some foods you are probably eating on a daily basis can actually cause DAMAGE to your brain over time.
In this article, we’ll explore the foods that HARM your brain vs foods that PROTECT your brain.
This article is based around an article by Mike Geary – Certified Nutrition Specialist
Co-author of the best seller: The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Aging
First, the BAD NEWS…
Certain foods your eating can do a lot of harm your brain, both by impairing learning ability as well as impaired memory response. Even worse, the wrong food and drink choices throughout your life can even lead to the terrible and deadly disease called Alzheimers.
A friend of mine just told me that her father died of Alzheimers, and it was just a terrible disease where he didn’t even know who she was anymore towards the end of his life. It’s time our society started to take degenerative diseases like Alzheimers, cancer, and heart disease more seriously throughout our lives, and not just once it becomes too late. Even in our 30’s, 40’s, and even our 50’s, the choices we make with our daily food can PREVENT these terrible diseases from starting.
So let’s get on with the topic of foods that harm your brain, and what you can do about it…
Food No.1 that HARMS your brain: Fructose
In 2012 UCLA published a study in the Journal of Physiology, researchers found that a diet high in fructose over time can damage your memory and learning ability.
Beyond the harm to your brain, it’s well known in the research world that a diet high in fructose can also cause insulin resistance in your body over time, and can lead to type-2 diabetes and extra body fat. Also it has been found, a high fructose diet also adversely affects your triglyceride levels in your blood as well as small dense LDL particles that cause plaque in your arteries.
So what we have here is high-fructose intake = impaired memory and learning in your brain, increased risk of diabetes, and increased risk of heart disease. Oh, and we forgot to mention extra abdominal fat too… Yum – so who wants another can of soda pop or a large bowl of corn syrup sweetened ice cream!
The average person eating a modern western diet of processed food consumes a LARGE quantity of fructose without even knowing about it, from all of the soft drinks (high fructose corn syrup typically), sweetened juice drinks, orange juice, processed junk foods such as cakes and candies, as well as the High Fructose Corn Syrup that’s added to store-bought salad dressings, breads and cereals, and even condiments like ketchup.
Also many sports drinks, even though marketed as “healthy”, can have large amounts of corn syrup or even crystalline fructose as their main sweetener. Sports drinks can be equally as bad as a soda for your body and your brain. Don’t be fooled by the clever marketing showing pictures of pro athletes guzzling this stuff, they get paid for it. It does not mean that they drink it.
Please note that agave syrup which is marketed as a “healthy” sweetener, is one of the most concentrated forms of processed fructose in sweeteners as well. I would personally stay away from agave sweeteners as much as possible unless the amounts are very small.
All of these fructose-laden foods and drinks are easy to avoid though if you choose to eat consciously… for example, make homemade salad dressings from your favorite olive oil and vinegar with added spices, or choose to drink unsweetened iced tea with lemon instead of sweetened drinks or juices. If you have to use a lot of ketchup (which is usually full of sugar), try to reduce the quantity by mixing with mustard or hot sauce, which typically don’t contain HFCS sweetener in any significant quantities.
Last thing to note about Corn Syrup also known as fructose… Yes, natural whole fruits do contain fructose, but generally they contain smaller quantities of fructose than you would consume in a sweetened juice drink, soft drink or sweetened junk foods. The phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber that’s contained in most whole fruits counteracts any negative effects of fructose. I personally try to eat no more than 1-2 pieces of fruit a day due to the sugar and fructose content of larger amounts of fruit.
Here’s a trick: Did you know that limes and lemons contain virtually zero fructose, and there is only about 3-4 grams of total carbs in a whole lemon or lime, whereas a typical orange can contain upto 6 grams of fructose, and 25 grams of total sugar per fruit. I squeeze lemons and limes daily into either water or teas for a healthy flavorful drink. Fresh lemon juice has even been shown to control blood sugar response from a meal…another great bonus.
Other Foods that HARM Your Brain:
As you probably already know some of the harmful health effects of these foods, but long term effects on your brain are yet another…
Trans fats — are strongly inflammatory in your entire body including damage to cell membranes throughout your body. You must avoid hydrogenated oils in processed and deep fried foods. Eating too much trans fat can harm your cell membranes… but eating more healthy fats can help reverse that harm. We’ll show you 11 of the healthiest (and delicious) fat sources that can balance your hormones and protect your cell membranes.
Mercury — studies show that mercury from pollution (coal burning plants are the biggest source of mercury pollution to air and water) and from fish that are high on the food chain such as tuna, shark, swordfish, etc can possibly cause long term negative effects on your brain. Limit these types of fish to a couple times a month and focus more on fish such as salmon, trout, and many other types of smaller fish to reduce your mercury load.
Wheat-based foods — In his groundbreaking book, Wheat Belly, Dr William Davis makes a very convincing argument that wheat has addictive properties that act on the brain. Wheat contains compounds termed “exorphins” that have an effect in your brain similar to opiate drugs. This explains why some people have such a bad time giving up their favourite breads, cereals, pasta, and muffins because these foods are mildly addictive.
I know personally from past experience that if I have have a pasta dinner, I’ll go back for a second helping, and then a third, as I just can’t seem to stop eating the stuff. Then hours after dinner, I’ll get cravings for more carbohydrate based foods or sweets. But if I skip the pasta and just have meat, veggies, and salad, I find myself totally satisfied after dinner with no cravings later at night.
The good news is…
There are plenty of superfoods, herbs, and spices that can protect your brain and your other organs too! Turmeric is one of the highest antioxidant spices that also exhibits brain-protecting effects? In India, where curry containing turmeric and other spices is eaten daily, rates of Alzheimer’s disease are among the lowest in the world, proving some of the brain-protecting effects of turmeric.
In addition, the powerful fatty acids DHA and EPA omega-3 fats in fish oil has been proven in countless studies to protect your brain from damage.
Do you want to know more…
I’ll show you how to find dozens of delicious foods, spices, herbs, and unique nutrients that PROTECT your brain, joints, organs, and skin from aging. All you have to do is purchase my book: The Top 101 Foods that Fight Aging
Learn 52 brilliant tricks to counteract the 3 most harmful processes contributing to faster aging in your body, glycation, oxidation, and inflammation.
How to use 5 tasty “fatty” foods to protect your skin from aging and give it a more youthful appearance. You’ll also be surprised to know that even some saturated fat sources can be very beneficial for you!
These nutrients and super foods can be found at most food stores, and can help PROTECT your brain from aging, HEAL your joints, reverse or prevent type 2 diabetes, normalize your blood pressure, SLOW the aging of your skin, FIGHT against developing cancer, FIX years of digestion problems, and even help to BOOST your metabolism.