Brain health is important at any age. To maintain it, you have to be mindful of what you consume.
“There is growing scientific evidence that healthy behaviors, which have been shown to prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, also may reduce risk for (subjective cognitive decline),” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website.
Subjective cognitive decline occurs when there are frequent memory problems. There are steps you can take to keep your brain healthy. Some of them include changing eating and drinking habits that are harmful to brain health.
Eat This, Not That spoke to several experts about some of the worst habits for your cognitive function. Here are three of them.
Cutting all carbs
If you’re watching your waistline, you may believe it makes sense to eliminate all carbohydrates. However, it’s not a good idea.
“Carbohydrates are starches and sugars that supply most of the fuel to our body, including our brain. It’s the type and quality of carbohydrates eaten that make a big difference,” wrote Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center registered dietitian Liz Weinandy.
“Focus on complex carbs, meaning ones that are high in fiber and in their natural form — think 100 percent whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables,” she said. “They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients not only fuel the brain, they also protect brain cells against damage from free radicals released from pollution, stress and just being alive.”
Multitasking as you eat
Your habit of watching your favorite show at dinner could negatively impact your body and brain.
A study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted that watching TV as you eat can lead you not to pay attention to fullness cues. Doing so can lead to overeating.
“We tend to eat more mindlessly in front of the TV,” Cleveland Clinic psychologist Susan Albers told Health Essentials. “We also don’t taste and experience the food as much because we’re distracted.”
Drinking too much alcohol
An occasional adult beverage is fine, but to protect brain health, you’ll want to keep it at the recommended limit.
“Drinking more than the recommended one to two drinks per day can affect your brain’s ability to function at its best,” Melissa Mitri, registered dietitian for Wellness Verge, told Eat This, Not That.
“Too much alcohol over time can affect the levels of neurotransmitters in your body, which are chemical messengers that help your brain cells to communicate.”