Senior Brain Health: The Do’s and Don’ts of Diet (part 2)

May 26, 2009 at 11:11 am 1 comment

imageRead Part 1 of this article

So, we’ve covered the Do’s of brain-healthy diets…. but what about the Don’ts?

Here goes… (ahem)

The Don’ts:

General Junk Foods: Most junk foods and fast foods fall into the categories below, but they’re worth a separate mention due to a recent study  out of Sweden that showed that  high sugar, fat and cholesterol diets (like you’d get at most fast food joints) are connected to a significantly higher risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementia forms.

Diets High in Fats & Cholesterol: We all know these foods take a toll on the heart and arteries. That, in turn, reduces blood flow to the brain and impacts mental function. But more troubling, the Swedish study mentioned above found that they’re also a major contributor to the ‘brain tangles” which are associated with Alzheimer’s.

Sugary Foods: The occasional sweet treat is fine, but too much sugar causes spikes in blood glucose levels even in healthy people, which is just flat bad for the brain.  High sugar diets also raise the risk of diabetes, which is associated with increased risk for cognitive issues.

Artificial Sweeteners like Splenda: Most people don’t seem to be troubled by them, but for some people seem to be especially sensitive to them, and feel as though they create a “brain fog’.  So be aware and avoid them if you have a sensitivity.

Excess Alcohol: While some alcohol (especially red wines) may provide a slight protective effect for the brain, excessive drinking is notably bad for the brain, and leads to both alchohol induced dementia and an  increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Don’t Skip Meals: As we age, appetite drops, and skipping meals becomes more attractive.  But the brain works best on a steady flow of fuels; skipping meals causes spikes and valleys in blood glucose, which doesn’t do your brain function any favors!

Focus on the Positive

While it’s good to know about foods and diet habits that are generally bad for the brain, a better approach is to focus on the good-for-the-brain foods. If the foods you normally eat are not-so-brain-healthy, focusing on that aspect may tempt you to simply skip eating – which isn’t doing your brain any favors, either!  A hamburger, french fries and shake every now and then isn’t going to do much harm, if your overall diet is balanced and includes plenty of brain-healthy items.

So keep your focus on getting more of the positive, brain-building and protective foods.  As you incorporate nutrient rich  fruits, nuts, veggies and fish into your diet, you’ll find you naturally eat fewer junk foods and sweets, and you’ll likely find your mood and energy levels improve along with the clarity of your thought processes.

Entry filed under: Nutrition & Diet. Tags: , , , .

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About This Blog

A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
  • Physical Exercise
  • Cognitive Training
  • Stress Management
  • Social Interaction
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • A Sense of Purpose & Connection
Authored by Tori Deaux
Sponsored by Dakim Brain Fitness



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