8 Processed Foods that Could Increase Your Alzheimer’s Risk

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, scientists work hard every day to try to come closer to solving the puzzle of this debilitating disease. One change you may consider is avoiding certain processed foods to try to prevent cognitive decline later in life. Examine these eight common foods that might rob your brain of power and memory as you grow older. Instead, eat healthier, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables alongside lean-protein foods.

8. Processed Cheeses

Photo: Flickr/Mike Mozart
Processed cheeses, even cheese products sold as cheese slices, may cause proteins associated with Alzheimer’s to build up in the body. Go with some of the delicious natural alternatives!

7. Processed Meats

Photo: Flickr/Steve Johnson
Processed meats, such as sausages, hot dogs, bacon, cold cuts and canned meats, contain nitrates as preservatives. The liver converts these nitrates into substances that can reduce your brain’s normal functioning. Recent studies have shown a substantial link exists; play it safe and go easy on these tasty treats.

6. Pasta

Photo: Flickr/yoppy
Pasta is made from white flour, and this type of refined food may create insulin spikes in your body. Insulin spikes also affect the brain by sending chemicals into the bloodstream that alter your brain’s chemistry over time. Instead, eat whole-grain pasta as a healthier alternative. Whole grains undergo less processing compared to ordinary flour.

5. White Bread/Flour

Photo: Flickr/TheCulinaryGeek

White bread, made with white flour, has the same problem as pasta. The white, processed flour causes insulin spikes in your blood stream. Whole-grain breads won’t entirely resolve the problem, but they do help!

4. Sugar

Photo: Flickr/Melissa Wiese
Many processed foods contain added sugars. Cut back on these as much as possible because too much sugar can lead to problems with insulin and diabetes. Skip the sugary foods and try eating some fresh fruit instead.

3. Mozzarella Sticks

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Photo: Flickr/Joseph Nicolia
Mozzarella sticks contain a double whammy. Not only does this food consist of processed cheese, but it also contains breading on the outside that may have white flour in it.

2. Beer

Photo: Flickr/Tim Dobson
Beer is an interesting one. On the one hand, beer contains nitrites, and nitrites are linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. On the other, some research has shown that moderate beer consumption may actually have positive effects in the brain. The lesson here may just be: don’t go overboard.

1. Microwave popcorn

Photo: Flickr/Bill Smith

Some varieties of microwave popcorn contain diacetyl in the butter flavoring. Scientists link this chemical to a buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain, and researchers believe amyloid buildup is a marker for Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, there are other ways to make popcorn; pop it on the stovetop or in a popper, and use real butter or light olive oil (they taste better anyway).

Even though many of these foods taste good, consider eating a healthier diet for better brain health later in life. A diet that includes lean meats, whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables while limiting sugars, salt, and processed foods can make a real difference in the long term. To your health!

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