Bad for brain: Expert warns about foods that could raise dementia risk

Alzheimers Research UK explain 'what is dementia?'

“The development of dementia is driven by the same mechanisms as other chronic conditions, namely inflammation, dyslipidaemia, oxidative stress, insulin resistance and an unhealthy gut microbiome,” said Dr Shireen Kassam, who is also a founder of Plant-Based Health Professionals UK.

Worryingly, your dietary choices could be a trigger for all of these health problems.

This means that what you limit in your diet can be just as important as what you include.

Dr Kassam, therefore, highlighted the three food groups that could put your cognitive function at risk.

Sausages, bacon and ham

Beloved by many Britons, the key ingredients of staples like fry-up or sarnies, unfortunately, spell no good news for your brain.

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The doctor said: “Higher intake of saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of dementia.

“Saturated fat in the diet comes predominantly from animal foods and the consumption of processed red meat seems to be particularly bad for brain health.”

Don’t just take the doctor’s word for it, as research, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that each additional 25 grams of processed meat eaten per day was associated with increased risks of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The research team concluded that processed meat should be considered as a potential risk factor for the mind-robbing condition.

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Refined sugar

Hidden in foods like candy, cookies, soda, crackers, sauces and soup, refined sugar is a driver for inflammation, which can promote the brain condition.

Dr Kassam said: “Diets high in refined sugars and carbohydrates also appear to impair cognitive function both in the short-term and long-term.

“The latter is in part due to the ability of sugar to increase inflammation and the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Research, published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, also highlighted refined sugar as a risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Artificially-sweetened beverages

“Interestingly, even artificially-sweetened beverages, in some but not all studies, have been associated with an increased risk of dementia,” the doctor added.

For example, a study, found in the journal Stroke, noticed that those who drank at least one artificially-sweetened drink a day were 2.9 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

However, a significant effect on dementia risk wasn’t observed when the researchers adjusted for other factors like diabetes.

It’s also important to remember that while data from observational studies can suggest associations between dietary factors and health outcomes, they usually come with limitations and don’t demonstrate cause and effect.

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