Dementia is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. Here are six foods that could increase your risk of having dementia.
Sugar: Neuropathologist Suzanne DeLaMonte is credited with coining the term “Type 3 diabetes” when referencing Alzheimer’s disease. According to her research, sugar consumption results in insulin resistance. And regularly consuming insulin-spiking foods can eventually cause brain degeneration and dementia.
Processed cheese: Yes, it’s time to put down the Cheez Whiz and back away. Any processed cheese product, including string cheese and pre-wrapped sandwich slices, contains proteins that slowly build up in the body, which have been linked to Alzheimer’s.
Cheese lover? Try swapping your sandwich slices for a handful of almonds, as nuts are shown to be one of the key foods for optimal brain health. As a bonus for women, eating lots of nuts and extra virgin olive oil has also been shown to reduce your risk of chest cancer.
Processed meat: Lunch meat, sausage, ham, and even your beloved bacon are all problematic. These smoked meats contain carcinogenic chemical compounds called nitrosamines, which help to increase shelf life. They are linked to certain cancers and have also been found to increase brain degeneration in Alzheimer’s patients.
When lunchtime rolls around, consider a vegetarian entrée with a bean base or some healthy fish, such as salmon. Add some fresh veggies to make your meal a real power-packed brain-booster.
Beer: Even your beloved craft brew can have a scary side effect. Like processed meat, nitrosamines, or nitrates, can be used to process beer. And what’s worse is manufacturers are not required to disclose this process on the label.
Just because beer isn’t recommended for optimal brain health, it doesn’t mean you have to be a complete teetotaler. In fact, the brain-boosting MIND diet recommends you consume one glass of red wine per day.
White foods: This category includes items such as white bread, white rice, pasta, and any other insulin-spiking foods. Blood sugar spikes cause inflammation in your body, which is one of the suspected causes of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Instead of a sandwich, put together a healthy salad for lunch with lots of leafy greens and chopped veggies. Top it off with some fresh berries for natural sweetness, and add a protein, such as beans or even fish.
Even “healthy” whole-grain bread can cause dramatic blood sugar spikes, making it just as dangerous as white bread, bagels, and doughnuts. When you’re trying to feed your brain and prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s best to dramatically decrease the amount of carbs you’re consuming.
For a filling and brain-healthy meal, try beans. Bean-based entrees are an essential part of the MIND diet, which was created specifically for promoting brain health.