The Worst Foods for Your Brain

Before your next grocery shopping, check your list and cross out some.  WebMD, an organization that fulfills the promise of health information on the Internet, has come up with a list of ‘dietary don’ts’ for your health sake. These are foods that might raise your risk for mood or memory problems, especially as you get older. Find out which potentially problematic items should make fewer appearances on your grocery list, plate, in your fridge (or disappear altogether). Of course, you may want to add a healthy lifestyle to your list of 2021 goals.

Margarine and Frosting


These foods, along with many packaged snack foods, are high in trans fats. You may know that trans fats aren’t good for your heart and blood vessels. Research has found that they may also wreak havoc on brain function. A study from the journal Neurology found that older adults who had the highest levels of elaidic acid (a common type of trans fat) in their blood were the most more likely to develop dementia.



While a single glass of wine or beer is unlikely to mess with your mind, alcohol directly affects the brain’s communication pathways. The more you drink, the more difficult it may be to process new information or remember things. Alcohol may also make you feel confused or depressed.

Soda and Other Sugary Drinks


If you want to keep your brain sharp as you age, steer clear of super-sweet drinks. Research has found that people who drink a lot of soda, sweet tea, and other sugary beverages are a lot more likely to have memory trouble. These drinks, which often have a type of sugar called fructose, might even cause certain parts of your brain to become smaller.

Diet Sodas and Drinks with Artificial Sweeteners


If regular soft drinks are bad for you, then sugar-free ones are good, right?  Not so fast: Research finds that people who sip at least one diet soda a day are nearly three times as likely to have a stroke or develop dementia. Scientists think that artificial sweeteners may be the offending ingredient.

French Fries and Other Fried Foods

French Fries

People who eat a lot of fried, processed foods tend to fare worse on tests that measure their thinking skills. The likely reason: fried and fatty foods. These guilty pleasures cause inflammation, which can damage the blood vessels that supply the brain with blood and hurt the brain itself.


Box of Doughnuts

These tasty treats are both fried and loaded with sugar, a bad combo when it comes to brain health. You get an inflammation double-whammy from the deep frying process and the excess sugar. Studies have linked high levels of sugar in the blood with dementia. Even worse: Most doughnuts contain trans fats, another ingredient your brain doesn’t need.

White Bread and White Rice

White Rice

Refined carbohydrates, even ones that don’t taste super sweet, can spike your blood sugar. That’s often followed by a crash, which can make you feel mentally foggy. Research shows that too many refined carbs may increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in certain people who are genetically predisposed to it. Go for whole-grain breads, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta when you eat carbs.

Red Meat

Red Meat

It’s high in saturated fat, which is bad for your heart as well as your brain. In fact, limiting red meat is a key tenet of the MIND Diet, a research-based eating program aimed at keeping your memory and thinking sharp. Want a protein source that’s better for your brain? Fish, lean poultry, and beans are healthier options.

Butter and Full-Fat Cheese


That creamy taste comes at a cost. These dairy products are full of saturated fat. Followers of the MIND diet avoid butter, cheese, and other full-fat dairy. When it comes to brain health, low-fat dairy is generally the healthier choice. You can get milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other dairy foods in low-fat forms.

Swordfish and Ahi Tuna


Most health experts are big fans of fish, but the kind they love is salmon and others that contain a healthy fat called omega-3 fatty acids. Swordfish, ahi tuna, and other big fish lose points because they tend to be high in mercury. That’s a neurotoxin — meaning toxic to your brain — that may lead to higher risk of memory loss and poorer thinking skills in older adults.

Bottled Dressings, Marinades, and Syrups


Read the ingredients on the label carefully. Many of these products have surprisingly large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup. That’s the same stuff that’s in soda. It’s linked to a variety of health problems, including memory loss and a decline in brain performance. Try mixing up your own salad dressings instead.

2 thoughts on “The Worst Foods for Your Brain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.