Dementia and Alzheimer’s are on the rise, and there is mounting evidence that environmental factors are contributing to the increase.
While we can’t control everything in our external environment, we can control what foods and substances we put into our bodies.
Here are the top 3 foods to avoid:
- Smoked meats — Smoked selections from the deli counter may seem appealing, but those meats are hiding something sinister behind their rich flavor — nitrosamines. Used as a preservative, these carcinogenic chemical compounds are the same you’ll find in cosmetics and pesticides — and in rubber products including balloons and some condoms. Nitrosamines are the result of nitrites and organic compounds combining in the acidic human stomach. High cooking temperatures increase the formation of nitrosamines. The highest levels are found in cured meats (primarily bacon and hot dogs) and cheese preserved with nitrite pickling salt. They cause the liver to produce fats that are toxic to the brain.
- Processed Cheeses — If you think that Laughing Cow cheese is a healthy selection, think again. Processed cheeses, including mozzarella sticks and American cheese slices, cause a protein build-up in the body that affects the brain and has been linked to Alzheimer’s.
- White foods – These are among the most difficult to avoid because they’re everywhere — in pasta, cakes, white rice, and white bread. Derived from white flour and sugar, all of these foods cause insulin to spike, sending toxins to the brain.
But there’s a bright side! You don’t have to give up everything you love. Here are two treats you can feel good about eating when it comes to boosting your memory: Coffee and chocolate.
If you’re looking for permission to have that second (or third) cup of coffee and that piece of chocolate, here it is!
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University recently found that caffeine (present in both of these treats) has significant positive effects on long-term memory. In fact, their research showed that caffeine enhanced certain memories for up to 24 hours after it was consumed.
Of course, coffee with no added sugar or syrups and dark chocolate with cacao content of 72% or higher are the best options.
Here are a few tips to keep you out of the danger zone when it comes to nurturing your memory:
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and dairy products.
- Avoid foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol, especially fatty meats and fried foods.
- Cut down on sugar.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get adequate rest.
For some delicious ways to swap ingredients like white flour and sugar out of your diet, check out Chef Gui Alinat’s new cookbook, Eat More, Burn More.