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5 Things to Avoid to Reduce Dementia Risk

Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen · Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated May 11, 2022

5 Things to Avoid to Reduce Dementia Risk

Dementia food? Is there such a thing? Although most of us consume food because it satisfies us or gives us short-term happiness as we counteract hunger, there are certain types of food that can have long-term harmful effects on the brain. In preventing certain disorders like dementia, food also plays a crucial role.

Although there are several factors that can result in a disease like dementia, food that’s unhealthy can lead to heart disease. This can cause brain issues including memory problems and dementia.

The heart-healthy Mediterranean-style diet is recommended for the good of the brain. This is because it stresses whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil, and other healthy fats like avocado, and keeps the red meat to a minimum.

Harvard nutritionist Dr. Uma Naidoo in turn listed down which foods to avoid that can weaken memory and focus. Avoiding the following, it is believed, promote brain health, sharp thinking, and good decision making. And for those who want to reduce their risk of dementia, food that have similar effects on the brain can help.

Dementia Food: What to Avoid to Prevent This Condition

Added sugars

This is another non dementia food. As the body’s fuel, the form of sugar that is glucose is the root of cellular activities. However, a high-sugar diet can lead to excess glucose in the brain, which studies have linked to memory impairments and less plasticity of the hippocampus — the part of the brain controlling memory.

The refined and added sugars in processed food like baked goods and soda can flood the brain with too much glucose. While the American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day, and men stay under 36 grams added sugar per day, it is difficult particularly since added sugars, added fats, and refined grains are inexpensive, convenient, and taste good.

Fried foods

It likely is not a good idea to immerse yourself in fried food as one study including 18,080 people found that a diet high in fried foods was linked to lower scores in learning and memory. These kinds of food cause inflammation, which can damage the blood vessels that supply the brain with blood.

In another study that measured levels of depression and resilience, researchers found that those who consumed more fried foods were more likely to develop depression in their lifetime. It is thus advised to gradually wean yourself off fried food.

High-glycemic-load carbohydrates

Are carbohydrates dementia food? Research from 2018 found that people who had the highest score on the carbohydrate-quality index (or those eating better-quality carbs) were 30% less likely to develop depression than those who were eating high-glycemic index (GI) carbs.

These “better-quality” carbohydrates are whole grains, foods high in fiber, and those ranked low on the glycemic index. These are food that break down glucose faster during digestion.

High-GI carbs to avoid include potatoes, white bread and white rice. Honey, orange juice. Whole-meal breads are medium-GI foods. Low-GI foods which should ideally be consumed more include green vegetables, most fruits, raw carrots, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils.


The pitfalls of high alcohol consumption have been written about for years but can never be overemphasized. The British Medical Journal reported in 2018 that people who had abstained from alcohol completely or who consumed more than 14 drinks per week had a higher risk of dementia compared to those who drank alcohol in moderation.

Alcohol primarily disrupts the ability to form new long-term memories; it causes less disruption of recall of previously established long-term memories or of the ability to keep new information active in short-term memory for a few seconds or more. As the amount of alcohol consumed increases, so does the magnitude of the memory impairments.


What are nitrates and are they a type of dementia food? Nitrates may be connected with depression even as they are used as a preservative and to enhance color in deli slices and cured meats like bacon, salami, and sausage. A recent study even suggests that nitrates can alter gut bacteria in such a way as to tip the scales toward bipolar disorder.

Key Takeaways

The maintenance of a good, healthy diet is always advisable for an individual’s overall health. However, studies have also shown that to maintain one’s long-term mental health and prevent the onset of dementia, food curation (certain types as mentioned above) can prove beneficial.

Understanding the molecular basis of the effects of food on cognition can help determine how best to manipulate diet in order to further promote mental fitness.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Chris Icamen

Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated May 11, 2022

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