The food you consume plays an important role in your mental health. Here’s why one particular type of food can increase your odds of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Our days are made possible (and better!) with the help of healthy meals and snacks that maintain our productivity and keep us fueled throughout the day. But according to a recent study, there is one particular type of food you should be wary of.
Published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the study found that foods high in refined carbs can increase your odds of dementia, especially when consumed after lunch.
Researchers examined more than 2,000 people aged 65 and older, who provided food questionnaires covering their meals, snacks, activity levels, and calorie intake.
According to BestLife: “Results showed no connection between the total daily glycemic load or the glycemic load recorded at breakfast, lunch, or dinner and long-term increased risk of cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s at the end of a 12-year follow-up period. However, they did find that there was an increased dementia risk associated with eating foods high in refined carbs as a snack after lunch in the afternoon.”
Researchers theorize that snacking on things like sugary sodas, baked foods, and cereal bars can, over time, result in insulin resistance. This could then turn into conditions that have been linked with dementia and Alzheimer’s. “During meals, carbohydrates are rarely ingested alone, and their degradation and absorption rates during digestion are modified by the other macronutrients,” noted researchers.
The link between food and dementia has long been of interest to researchers. Cecilia Samieri, PhD, spoke to Healthline on the issue and explained it further. “People who developed dementia were more likely to combine highly-processed meats with starchy foods like potatoes, alcohol, and snacks like cookies and cakes,” she said of a different study she conducted.
We tend to place more importance on our meals than on our snacks, having balanced meals three times a day and snacking on whatever’s available in between. Experts suggest a complex approach to fixing this issue: having a plan for your meals and snacks, that way all elements complement each other.
While this all sounds exceedingly complicated when we have to work and have a social life, a good first step would be to avoid processed foods. Some good options for snacks include fruits, vegetables, grains, and other plant-based whole foods.