Top 5 Worst Foods for Your Brain

Top 5 Worst Foods for Your Brain

Modern advancements in nutrition and supplementation have dramatically improved the quality of living for millions.

Many are living well past retirement, enjoying their golden years.

However, even though we may be living longer, that doesn’t mean our lives are necessarily healthy, enjoyable, or comfortable.

Without the full use of your cognitive ability, life as you know it can quickly become a difficult task.

Simple actions may require great struggle. Aspirations to learn a second language, write a novel, or work on an old math problem may quickly disappear as cognitive impairment sets in.

Your cognitive ability relies on a number of factors but the quality of your diet has been directly linked to the development and maintenance of your mind. Despite wide spread access to fantastic nutrition, many people are still eating a variety of foods that have been shown through research studies and clinical trials to cause havoc on your cognitive functioning.

Let’s review the top 5 types of foods that could potentially be causing you more harm than you realize.


If there is one thing that the Western diet loves, it’s sugar. Stroll down any isle in any supermarket and you’ll find sugar within most products.

When it is in a natural state, such as with fruit or honey, sugar is not much of a concern.

The problem is that refined sugars are being placed in a majority of the products that are readily available to you.

Even those with the “all natural” stamp may contain harmful, refined sugars under different names. While it’s not completely understood why sugar is so bad for your cognitive health, a large of number of studies have shown that diets containing high sugar intake are directly linked to poor cognitive function. Sugar has also been linked to illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. (1)


Number two on the list of things that the Western diet is packed with is saturated fats.

It’s important to understand that not all fats are bad. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, found in foods such as salmon and almonds, are a terrific source of healthy fats. Saturated and trans fats are the culprits that have been directly linked to weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and a number of other health problems.

Saturated fats, found within animal and dairy products such as beef and milk, have also been linked with cognitive decline including poor memory and slower processing speeds. What’s more, this isn’t just in the West; these studies are from around the globe. One study in particular found a direct connection between consuming a diet high in saturated fats in middle age and a dramatic drop in cognitive function later in life. (2)


The supposed solution to those cravings for sugar, artificial sweeteners have been under fire for a number of years. Scientists are still split down the middle but many studies are claiming that the artificial sweeteners are linked to obesity, cancer, and other illnesses. It’s easy to miss artificial sweeteners on the labels of your favorite foods and beverages because they are listed under a variety of names. Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, and Saccharin are a few examples of the many names to watch out for on your food labels. One of the more recent discoveries surrounding artificial sweeteners involves its role in harming your cognitive ability. Aside from negatively impacting your mood and behavior, artificial sweeteners may play a part in cognitive decline. It is suggested that the longer the sweeteners are involved in one’s diet, the greater the potential for damage. (4)


They’re quick, they’re easy, and they have the potential to cause more harm than good.

Processed foods have become a way of life in our fast food, grab and go culture.

Packed with preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and other chemicals, processed foods are made to last, whether that’s on your shelf, in your car, or in your backpack, the intent is to be a readily accessible and enjoyable choice for consumption.

Unfortunately, as far as nutrients are concerned… Well, processed foods are not typically too concerned with proper nutrition. Many processed foods are stripped of nutrients and, often times, synthetic vitamins and minerals are placed in the product after the fact. Studies show a direct link between a diet consisting of processed foods and the cognitive decline in function, memory, and processing as one ages. (5)


The wide spread educational effort to distinguish simple carbohydrates from complex carbohydrates exploded approximately a decade ago.

Not long after, the United States federal government redesigned the very outdated food pyramid. While the general public may have a better grasp on what carbohydrates are, that doesn’t mean simple carbs are any less popular.

Known to cause spikes in blood sugar, followed by sudden crashes, simple carbohydrates are coming under fire for their role in potential cognitive impairment. Ingestion of simple carbohydrates over the long term affects the hippocampus, which is directly responsible for learning and memory. As the typical Western diet is focused around simple carbohydrates and saturated fats, the potential damage could be even greater if eaten together. (3)


While it may not be possible to completely avoid each of these categories for the rest of your life, you can make a conscious effort to limit them to avoid the greatest repercussions.

Giving more attention and consideration to your eating choices is the first step. Instead of buying processed foods, try cooking at home and placing it in a to-go container.

Trade in your simple carbs such as a regular potato for a complex carb like a sweet potato. Focus on healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, certain oils, and fish.

Lastly, be conscious of how much sugar you are using in your meals and beverages. Take it one step at a time and remember that even a small improvement is still a step in the right direction.