Harvard Nutritionist: 5 Foods That Are Harmful To Memory

Harvard nutritionist and brain: 5 foods that are harmful to memory ( Photo: Hmun)

No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to start eating in a way that gives you the best chance of possibly preventing dementia and helping you feel focused and sensitive every day.

As a nutritional psychiatrist, faculty member at Harvard Medical School, and author of “This Is Your Brain on Food,” I study how our gut bacteria can trigger metabolic processes. metabolism and encephalitis affect memory. Current studies show that we can reduce our chances of developing dementia by avoiding foods that can damage gut bacteria and impair memory and ability to exercise. our center.

Here are the foods I try to avoid to promote brain health and the ability to make good decisions:

1. Added sugars

Harvard nutritionist and brain: 5 foods that are harmful to memory ( Photo: Hmun)

The brain uses energy in the form of glucose, a form of sugar, to fuel cellular activities. However, a diet high in sugar can lead to an excess of glucose in the brain, which studies suggest is linked to memory loss and less plasticity of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory.

Consuming large amounts of unhealthy processed foods like cakes and soft drinks, which are often high in refined and added sugars – often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, cause the brain to store too much glucose.

Although each body’s needs are different, the American Heart Association recommends that women should consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day and men should eat less than 36 grams everyday.

2. Fried food

If you want to take care of your brain health, you must reduce your intake of fried foods. In fact, a study including 18,080 people found that a diet high in fried foods was associated with lower learning scores and poorer memory. The reason could be: These “guilty pleasures” cause inflammation, which can damage the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.

If you’re eating fried food daily, switch it to weekly. If it’s a weekly routine, try enjoying them just once a month. 

3. Carbohydrates are high in glycemic 

Even if foods high in carbohydrates (carbs), such as bread, pasta, or anything else made with refined flour, don’t taste sweet, your body processes them in same way as sugar.

High glycemic index carbs include potatoes, white bread, and white rice. Honey, orange juice, and wholemeal bread are medium GI foods. Low GI foods include green vegetables, most fruits, carrots, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils.

4. Alcohol

Harvard nutritionist and brain: 5 foods that are harmful to memory ( Photo: Hmun)

Archana Singh-Manoux, a research professor and director at the French Institute of Health and Medical Research, and her colleagues followed 9,087 people for 23 years to see how alcohol related to the incidence of dementia.

In 2018, in the British Medical Journal, they showed that people who abstain from alcohol completely or drink more than 14 drinks per week have a higher risk of dementia than those who drink in moderation. .

In general, men who drink more than 14 drinks per week or more than four drinks in a day are considered heavy drinkers, as are women who drink more than seven drinks per week or three per day.


Harvard nutritionist and brain: 5 foods that are harmful to memory ( Photo: Hmun)

Used as a preservative and to enhance color in deli slices and processed meats such as bacon, salami, and hot dogs, nitrates may be linked to depression.

One recent study even showed that nitrates can change gut bacteria and lead to bipolar disorder.

If you can’t live without sausage or bacon, look for ones that contain buckwheat flour, which is used as a filler. Buckwheat flour contains important antioxidants that may counteract some of the negative health effects of these meats.

The author of the article is Dr. Uma Naidoo, a nutritional psychiatrist, brain specialist and lecturer at Harvard Medical School. She is also the Director of Nutrition & Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and the bestselling author of “This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensible Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More.”

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