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Our brain. Photo: Medical Xpress.

Want to keep your brain healthy as you age? The best thing you can do is take a look at your diet. The fuel we choose for our bodies has the potential to both harm or protect us. Here are the must-avoid foods for a healthier brain and memories collected by Knowinsider.

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Photo: Women's health.

Refined bread and pasta

One of the steps in the mechanism of refined bread and pasta is to stripped of their nutrients so there’s no fibre to slow down their digestion. Instead, these processed carbohydrates rush through your system and spike your blood sugar. It is listed by the mamasezz.com that a diet comprised of refined carbohydrates has been linked to impaired memory in adults and kids.

Eat this instead: whole carbohydrates

Not all carbs are bad! In fact, whole carbs are great for you. Whole-grain bread and whole grain or brown rice pasta still have their fibre intact. This means they’re digested more slowly, your blood sugar is better regulated, and you, therefore, have a steady stream of energy so you can buckle down and focus.

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Photo: Eat this, not that

Sugary drinks

Negatively, a high intake of sugary drinks not only expands your waistline and boosts your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease — but it also has a negative effect on your brain.

In particular, according to healthline.com, an excessive intake of sugary drinks increases the odds of developing type 2 diabetes, which has been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, higher sugar levels in the blood can increase the risk of dementia, even in people without diabetes.

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Photo: healthline.

Red meat

Studies found “the most important dietary link to Alzheimer’s Disease appears to be meat consumption, with eggs and high-fat dairy also contributing.” Just like saturated fat clogs cardiovascular system, the blood vessels in our brain become clogged as well.

Eat this instead: beans

Skip the beef and make beans the centre of your plate! A great source of protein (saturated fat-free!) and packed with brain-boosting B vitamins and magnesium.

Vegetable oils

High in omega-6s, an inflammatory fatty aid, consuming vegetable oils — particularly canola oil — is linked with increased risk for Alzheimer’s. Chronic brain inflammation is also linked with depression and other cognitive issues. When our brains are inflamed, energy production goes down, the firing of neurons is slowed, and we’re often left mentally exhausted.

Eat this instead: walnuts

Filled to the brim with protective fatty acids, walnuts are a great way to get your Omega-3s. Omega-3 deficiencies can mess with our ability to learn and retain memories. In fact, studies have found that dementia patients have low omega-3 levels.

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Photo: Cone Health.


When consumed in moderation, alcohol can be an enjoyable addition to a nice meal. However, excessive consumption can have serious effects on the brain.

Chronic alcohol use results in a reduction in brain volume, metabolic changes and disruption of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals the brain uses to communicate.

People with alcoholism often have a deficiency in vitamin B1. This can lead to a brain disorder called Wernicke’s encephalopathy, which in turn can develop into Korsakoff’s syndrome.


Your diet definitely has a big impact on your brain health. Several other substances in food are dangerous for your brain too. However, this doesn’t mean you must avoid all these foods completely. In fact, some foods like alcohol and fish also have health benefits. One of the best things you can do for your brain is to follow a diet rich in healthy, fresh whole foods.

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