6 Foods That Could Increase Your Dementia Risk (and What to Eat Instead)

You’ve been hearing for years about how eating a healthier diet can help prolong your life — but there’s more. Recent studies have shown certain foods can actually contribute to brain health while others have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The fact is Alzheimer’s and dementia were not nearly as prevalent 50 years ago as they are today, and the modern American diet could be largely to blame. But you can fight back against this trend. By making some changes to your diet, you can keep your brain happy — and healthy — for a long time.

Changing your diet can help to positively impact your brain health in the future and might even help to reverse some of the damage that’s already been done. A study published by the journal of Alzheimer’s & Dementia found that of 900 participants polled, those who followed recommended dietary recommendations and avoided known trigger foods had a level of cognitive function 7½ years younger than their biological age.

Here are six foods to avoid, plus six things you can do to promote brain health.

1. Sugar

Doughnuts and candy with "sugar" written in sugar

Doughnuts and candy can cause brain degeneration. | iStock.com/OcusFocus

Neuropathologist Suzanne DeLaMonte is credited with coining the term “Type 3 diabetes” when referencing Alzheimer’s disease. According to her research, sugar consumption results in insulin resistance. And regularly consuming insulin-spiking foods can eventually cause brain degeneration and dementia.

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