When focusing on brain health, there are things you can do to slow cognitive decline and increase your brain power. These include exercise and changing your diet to monitor what you eat and drink. And while your brain is still aging, along with the rest of your body, particular habits can help delay this process.
“While aging is inevitable, certain eating habits can help fight the effects of aging or potentially accelerate it,” says Lisa MoskowitzDR, CDNauthor of The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan. “In general, eating a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich diet is important to keep your mind and body strong.”
Moskovitz also suggests that on the other hand, mindless snacking ultra-processed and empty-calorie foods such as candy, soda, and potato chips may accelerate brain aging. If you want to avoid further cognitive damage, take a look at these four snacking habits that can accelerate your aging brain.
While sweets are an easy midday snack and may satisfy your sweet tooth for now, they don’t have much of a benefit to them. In fact, they can negatively affect your overall health, which can lead to brain health issues.
“Added sugar found in snacks such as baked goods, ice cream, candies, some cereals and bars can increase blood sugar levels“, explains Moskovitz. “Chronically high levels of blood sugar can affect the functional connectivity of your brain, which over time can potentially contribute to brain shrinkage and atrophy.”
It’s easy to get a family-sized bag of chips at the store. It’s also easy to snack on the chips straight from the bag. But it turns out it has a more serious impact on your age than you thought.
“A lot of research shows that we tend to eat more when we eat from an oversized bag,” says Lisa R. YoungPhD, RDNauthor of Finally full, finally thin and The teller plan. “Take a portion, put it on a plate, sit down and enjoy! And if you don’t like the taste, choose something else.
According to a study published in the American Academy of Neurology, research has shown that overeating can double the risk of memory loss. If you eat too many calories repeatedly, over time, it can actually increase your chances of developing memory loss or mild cognitive impairment later in life.
Liquid calories are drinks which don’t add much to the table besides unnecessary calories. These include a soda, juice and sweetened iced tea. And while they may seem harmless as a midday treat, they can lead to cognitive issues.
In a study published in the journal Strokeparticipants who drank at least one artificially sweetened drink a day were three times more likely to develop a stroke and almost three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
“These [liquid calorie drinks] are high in sugar and contain unnecessary calories,” says Dr. Young.
Similarly, eating any type of high-volume processed foods will have a negative impact on your brain health.
“When consumed in large amounts, snacks such as chips, baked goods, and candy bars, containing high amounts of saturated fat and/or refined flours, can increase systemic inflammation,” says Moskovitz. . “Ultimately, this may contribute to cognitive decline and memory loss.”
Kayla Garritano is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That! She graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and earned a double minor in Marketing and Creative Writing. Read more