7 Foods that Raise the Risk of Alzheimer's in Seniors

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These 7 Foods Can Increase Alzheimer’s Risk

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While there’s no single certain cause of Alzheimer’s, studies have shown diet can play a role in the risk of developing the disease. Certain foods may boost memory and cognitive function, while others can lead to Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Help your senior loved one reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by eliminating these foods from his or her diet.

1. Bread

If you pay any attention to health news at all, you know white foods, such as white bread, aren’t very healthy. Some pastas, rice, crackers, and other white foods also fall into this category. As it turns out, they may even raise the risk for Alzheimer’s. The theory is that these foods increase blood sugar, which also increases the amount of inflammation in the body.

2. Sugar

Another food that falls into the category of “white foods” is sugar. Like bread and other grains, it can spike blood sugar and lead to inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. If your loved one wants to keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay, it’s best to reduce the amount of pastries, baked goods, candy, and foods with added sugars he or she eats.

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3. Processed Cheese Products

If your loved one enjoys cheese, stick to the unprocessed kinds. Products like Cheese Whiz, Laughing Cow, and Velveeta may lead to a future Alzheimer’s diagnosis. These types of cheese products contain proteins that can build up in the body and lead to cognitive decline. Processed cheeses are also high in sodium, which isn’t good if your loved one has high blood pressure.

4. Microwave Popcorn

Popcorn can be a healthy snack for seniors who can eat it, but beware of the microwave kind. Studies have shown microwave popcorn contains something called diacetyl, which can lead to a buildup of unhealthy plaque in the brain and put your loved one at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s. Try popping it on your own instead. This way, you can also control how much salt and other additives the popcorn has in it.

5. Deli Meat

Most people love a good sandwich, but if they make it with deli ham or turkey, it could put them at risk for Alzheimer’s. Deli meats, bacon, smoked meats, and other processed meats contain something called nitrosamines. When these meats are eaten, the liver produces toxins that can damage the brain.

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6. Processed Foods

You may already know processed foods aren’t healthy, especially for older adults. What you might not know is they may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Foods that list “partially hydrogenated oils” in the ingredients are especially dangerous, as they cause inflammation in the body as well as other issues that are destructive to the brain.

7. Beer

If your loved one drinks an ice-cold beer every day, it may be time to cut back. Not only does excessive alcohol use damage the brain over time, but many beers also contain nitrates, which have been linked with Alzheimer’s. If your loved one drinks, encourage him or her to cut back or, even better, cut beer out completely.

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