A Harvard nutritionist recommends avoiding these 5 foods to keep your brain healthy

We are what we eat. That is the premise of Dr. Uma Naidoo, the professional chef author of the best seller “This is your brain on food and the first nutritional psychiatrist recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

For Dr. Naidoo, also a fellow at Harvard University, no matter how old you are, “it’s never too late” to start a diet that helps you avoid dementia in old age and “feel focused every day.”

Since Harvard Medical School, Naidoo has spent years studying how our gut bacteria trigger metabolic processes – and even episodes of brain inflammation – that affect concentration and reasoning.

“Existing studies point to the idea that we can reduce the chance of dementia by avoiding foods that compromise our gut bacteria and weaken our memory,” he said in his column for CNBC.

To preserve brain health, and enhance analytical thinking and good decision-making, the expert recommends avoiding at least five types of food.

Added sugars do not exist naturally in a food or drink, but are added during processing or preparation. Added sugars provide calories, but contain little nutritional value.

The brain uses energy in the form of glucose to power cellular activities. However, a high-sugar diet can lead to excess glucose in the brain, which studies have linked to memory problems and less plasticity of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory.

Processed foods like baked goods and soft drinks, which are often loaded with refined and added sugars, flood the brain with too much glucose.

In the specific case of women, the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 25 grams of added sugars per day. Men should not consume more than 36 grams a day.

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