Having the occasional unhealthy treat isn’t going to give anyone Alzheimer’s, but there are some foods that can negatively impact brain health when consumed regularly. Older adults who have a family history of Alzheimer’s should make sure most of their meals are made up of nutrient-dense dishes and ingredients. They might also want to avoid these six foods that could potentially increase their risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another dementia-related disorder.
1. Canola Oil
For many years, canola was marketed as a healthy alternative to other forms of oil, but research has shown that this particular product could potentially damage the brain. One study carried out at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University revealed that canola oil increases plaque production in the brain, and plaque is one of the leading risk factors for Alzheimer’s.
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2. Refined Pasta and Bread
Whole grains are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, but seniors need to be wary of which grain products they purchase. Refined grain products have very few nutrients, and researchers now know those foods can increase the risk of general brain inflammation. Whenever your senior loved one purchases pasta or bread, he or she must make sure they were made with whole grains and don’t contain any unusual additives.
3. Red Meat
More research needs to be done on the connection between red meat and Alzheimer’s, but many health experts believe the consumption of red meat increases the risk of this neurodegenerative disorder. Instead of eating red meat, your loved one might want to focus on poultry and fresh seafood. Those sources of protein are much leaner, and they contain various nutrients that protect the brain.
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Regularly drinking soda can increase the risk of several health conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Even sugar-free sodas contain harsh sweeteners that negatively impact almost every organ in the body. If your loved one is a regular soda drinker, encourage him or her to switch over to carbonated water with natural flavors.
5. Baked Sweets
Unless you baked the treat yourself, you should assume all baked sweets contain large amounts of refined sugar and saturated fat, both of which have been directly linked to Alzheimer’s disease and many other forms of dementia. Those who have a sweet tooth should try making their own baked goods at home so they have full control over the amount of sugar and butter used.
While a single glass of red wine can actually boost brain health, older adults need to limit how many servings of alcohol they have per week. Multiple studies have shown that heavy drinking can greatly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. As a general rule, seniors should drink no more than one or two servings of alcohol per day. A single serving of alcohol would be a glass of wine, a small beer, or a small mixed drink.
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