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5 Foods That Increase Your Alzheimer's Risk, Say Doctors

Avoid these high-risk foods to stay sharp and healthy.

When we stick to specific eating plans, most of us tend to think about the long term effects that the foods have on our waistline, muscles, and organ health. We often don't draw connections between our mental health and long-term diseases like dementia or Alzheimer's with the food we put in our body, but the facts have begun to slowly reveal these elements rely on each other. According to the National Institute on Aging, science has begun to reveal that some of the foods we eat can potentially increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease later in life.

Knowing what foods and beverages can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's can help you make the necessary changes in your diet. Staying healthy seems tougher every day, but by working on limiting these foods, you can guarantee to stay sharp and quick-witted as you go through your golden years. To help us compile the list of the top foods that can lead to Alzheimer's, we asked Dr. Christine Bishara, MD and founder of From Within Medical, as well as Dr. Amber O'Brien, MD and health expert at EZCare Clinic on their opinions of which foods present the largest Alzheimer's risk.

Learn which foods can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's, and for more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Sugary Cereals

colorful sugary kids cereal in white bowl on blue towel

Many health officials believe a dissonance between the stomach and brain contributes to developing Alzheimer's.

"The common finding…is the disruption of the gut-brain axis through transmission of abnormal proteins through the vagus nerve that sends signals from the gut to the brain," says Dr. Bishara. "Because of the decrease in gut diversity and increase in inflammation, we believe these pose significant links to the development of Alzheimer's dementia."

One of the biggest known contributors that can increase this kind of inflammation comes in the form of sugary cereal.

"[Sugary] cereals, especially the nonorganic ones have glyphosate- a common pesticide sprayed on corn crops have…been shown to lead to a disruption in the gut microbiome," says Dr. Bishara.

So make sure to steer clear of these Unhealthiest Cereals on the Planet.


chips ahoy cookies

"[Any] packaged cookies or sweets with added ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils or sugar as the first ingredient [contributes to an increased Alzheimer's risk]," Dr. Bishara said.

Cookies also contribute to gut inflammation and while they can prove tempting, try to stay away from these sweets as much as possible to make sure you don't succumb to Alzheimer's disease later in life.

To further better your mental health, check out 13 Healthy Foods That Boost Your Memory, According to Nutritionists.

Diet Soda


If you believed you could get away by simply replacing regular soda with the diet version, we have some bad news for you.

"Diet sodas with all artificial sweeteners are also gut disrupters and decrease diversity," Dr. Bishara said. "The only exception is stevia which is a naturally occurring sweetener but I would still limit that since we don't know long term effects and studies on it."

For a slew of other reasons to steer clear of these drinks, check out 15 Reasons You Should Never Drink Diet Soda.

Hard Liquor

three shots of different liquors with ice cubes and lime

Next time you want to indulge in that extra shot or nightcap, think twice before pouring yourself one more drink.

[All] alcohol can [increase your risk of Alzheimer's], so low or minimal consumption is key. And the higher the alcohol content, the higher the likelihood of disruption," Dr. Bishara said. "Hard liquors are probably worse."

When you want to celebrate, consider taking it easy on the liquor—your liver and brain will thank you in the long run.



"People consuming starchy foods, including bread, pasta, [and] rice…excessively are also at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease," says Dr. O'Brien.

If you can't live without pasta or other processed starches, you might have a ton of problems down the road. Make sure to limit these foods in your diet to maintain great gut health. When what we consume contributes so much to our future, eat cautiously now and avoid Alzheimer's risks down the road.

Now that you know which foods to cut down on, here are 5 Foods To Help Prevent Alzheimer's, According to Doctors.

Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more about Erich
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