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Avoid These 10 Ingredients if You Want a Razor-Sharp Memory

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We all know that certain foods are beneficial for the brain, but did you know that certain ingredients can be damaging to your memory? If you want to retain top mental clarity through the years, avoid these ingredients when possible.

Certain foods have been proven to boost memory, including fatty fish, leafy greens, berries, and oddly- coffee. However, there are also many ingredients in modern foods that cause cognitive decline.

It may not be possible to avoid all of these foods, but do your best and you will likely find that your memory improves and you have fewer memory troubles as you age.

What are the biggest memory-busters? Find out in the list below:


Although humans do not absorb as much aluminum by oral means as through the skin, it is still possible that consumption of too much aluminum could lead to heavy metal poisoning. One of the main side effects of aluminum poisoning is, you guessed it, memory loss. Although most studies linking everyday levels of aluminum exposure to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, aluminum is difficult to remove from the body. It is possible that over time aluminum could build up to unsafe levels in the body and cause memory problems.

Common sources of aluminum in the diet include aluminum cans and aluminum cookware. Avoid these sources of aluminum when possible. For example, cook in stainless steel pans and look for glass containers when possible.

Artificial Sugar

Artificial sugar was once thought of as a miracle substance that allowed people to have their sweets without side effects. Recent scientific discoveries have shown that this is false information, from the studies about how artificial sugar causes cravings for sugar to the studies that show artificial sugar may actually lead to weight gain, fake sugar is now on the no-no list. Another reason to avoid the substance? The way it affects memory.

According to research, Phenylalanine and aspartic acid impact the brain and central nervous system directly, leading to mood fluctuations, memory loss, and a variety of other neurological disorders. Other side effects include brain tumors, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, and seizures.

Real Sugar

If you think your brain will be fine if you just switch to natural sources of sugar, sadly, it too is bad for your memory. In fact, a study from the University of New South Wales showed that rats fed a diet high in sugar and fat showed reduced cognitive function in just a week. Researchers were surprised to find that sugar had such a powerful effect on the brain. The researchers also found that switching the rats back to a healthy diet did nothing to reverse the damage from the poor diet. This suggests the importance of maintaining a healthy diet right from childhood to obtain a maximum level of cognitive function.

Another study from UCLA showed similar results. In this study, rats were started on a high-sugar diet for six weeks and given several cognitive tests. The rats fed the high sugar diet had lower scores than rats fed a healthy diet. Researchers also found that feeding rats omega-3 fatty acids and DHA in conjunction with a high-sugar diet helped counteract some of the brain-damaging effects of sugar.


Most people realize that consuming large amounts of alcohol is bad for the brain and memory. Alcohol consumption has side effects like delayed reaction time, blackouts, and general impaired cognitive function. Much of the memory trouble with alcohol will disappear once a person is sober, but some effects of alcohol consumption may stick around longer than others. Most health professionals recommend that men not consume more than 6 drinks a week and women no more than 4. Binge drinking is more likely to result in permanent memory damage than occasional drinking.

Food Additives and Food Dye

According to research, food additives can cause a torrent of side effects ranging from hyperactivity to, you guessed it, memory loss. Chemicals in food additives can accumulate in the body because the body has no way to process the unnatural ingredients. As a general rule, avoid foods that state they are “enriched” or that have a variety of ingredients you cannot pronounce.

The worst memory offenders are listed below:

Memory-Reducing Food Additives

Glyphosate: This chemical is the main ingredient in the weed-killer Roundup. It is ordinarily found in genetically modified corn and soy products as a pesticide. Glyphosphate is linked to an increase in learning disabilities, according to Men’s Health Magazine.

Interesterified Fact: Sadly, this alternative to the deadly trans fat is equally as bad for you. It not only hampers memory, but it also increases blood sugar, increases weight gain, and raises bad cholesterol.

Yellow #5 and #6: These two food dyes are linked with memory problems in children. Typically, the two colors lead to learning disabilities and concentration disorders, according to Men’s Health Magazine.


Soy products may be healthy for you in some ways, but in others, soy does more harm than good. According to a study funded by the British Alzheimer's Research Trust, soy can lead to an increased risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. A study from Loughborough and Oxford universities looked at 700 elderly Indonesians and found that individuals who ate soy once a day are more likely to have memory problems or dementia. Researchers believe that it could be the phytoestrogens in soy that lead to memory problems.


Pesticides are used to kill pests on crops, and although they may be safe to consume, the pesticides may have more of an effect on us than we thought. According to research, pesticides destroy mitochondria, which produce adenosine triphosphate. Adenosine triphosphate is the body’s main source of energy, and it is used heavily in brain power and memory function. Researchers from University College London (UCL) and the Open University found that exposure to organophosphate pesticides results in damage to the nervous system and brain which leads to memory problems and information processing speeds, among other side effects.

Trans Fat

Scientists and medical professionals agree that trans fats are bad, but few people know how fat affects the body. According to a study from Oregon Health & Science University, elderly individuals with high levels of trans fats (partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oil) in their blood were more likely to have memory problems. Junk food, fake butter, and vegetable shortening are all sources of hydrogenated oils.


All sources of carbohydrates are not bad for the brain, but studies have shown that consuming high amounts of empty carbohydrates can have a damaging effect on memory. Carbs cause insulin levels to spike in the blood, which triggers the brain to make the enzyme that removes insulin. If you make your brain spend all its energy to remove insulin, it doesn’t get rid of beta-amyloid proteins, which cause Alzheimer’s disease. There is no need to eliminate all carbs from the diet, but careful monitoring of carb consumption will help reduce your risk of memory decline.

Counteract Damaging Ingredients

Although the above foods contribute greatly to memory loss, some foods boost memory and several supplements you can take that will help restore cognitive function. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best things to take to reverse cognitive decline, as the above study on rats has shown. Other beneficial supplements and ingredients include huperzine A, ginseng, vitamin E, ginkgo biloba, and bacopa, according to Web MD (although Web MD does recommend caution when taking bacopa due to the possibility of interactions with other medications).

Supplements That Boost Memory
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Bacopa
  • Vitamin E
  • Huperzine A
  • Ginseng

Stop Food-Related Memory Decline

While many factors cause memory loss, if you do your best to avoid the dangerous ingredients listed above, you are well on your way to protecting your memory. As a bonus, most of the ingredients listed are not good for you anyway, which means by eliminating them you will likely reduce your chances of facing a variety of conditions and diseases, ranging from type 2 diabetes to cancer.

If you truly want to improve your memory, however, you should take memory-boosting supplements and eat the ingredients from natural sources to ensure you give your brain the tools it needs to stay healthy and keep your mind as sharp as a tack.





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