Keep Your Brain Healthy by Avoiding These Drinks
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 305
As people age, one of the most common fears is developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease. But research suggests that a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and exercise, can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
A critical aspect of a preventive strategy to reduce the risk of dementia is to pay attention to what we consume, including what we eat and drink. The impact of drinks on our health, body weight, and brain health is significant.
Many drinks are packed with unhealthy substances, including added sugars, which can lead to metabolic conditions such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, inflammation, and metabolic syndrome. To help reduce the risk of dementia, it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including avoiding certain drinks.
Sugary Drinks: One of the Biggest Culprits
According to a 2017 report from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, almost half of all adults consume one or more sugar-sweetened beverages daily. Such drinks include soda, fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened coffee and tea.
These drinks can contain more sugar than some desserts or sweets, writes Eat this. Sugar is also linked to metabolic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and type 2 diabetes, which can increase the risk of dementia.
A study published in the Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease found that those who consumed the most sugar-sweetened beverages were three times more likely to develop dementia than those who did not consume such drinks.
The same study also discovered that the risk of stroke doubled for those who consumed the most sugar-sweetened beverages. Research from the Harvard School of Public Health indicates that people who consume one or more sugary drinks daily are more likely to have poorer memory, smaller overall brain volume, and a smaller hippocampus, an area of the brain linked to memory and learning.
The authors suggest that sugary drinks are associated with symptoms of preclinical Alzheimer's disease.
Milkshakes and Different Coffee Drinks
Milkshakes, despite being the ultimate indulgence for many, can be detrimental to brain health due to the high levels of sugar and saturated fat they contain.
Studies show that high cholesterol can significantly increase the risk of dementia. Three large studies found that a high intake of saturated fat doubled the risk of Alzheimer's disease, while a diet low in unsaturated fat reduced the risk.
For example, a medium chocolate shake from McDonald's has 650 calories, 85 grams of added sugar (21 teaspoons), and 11 grams of saturated fat, which is more than half of the total daily recommended intake. Specialty coffee drinks are another drink that people should avoid or consume with caution.
Common drinks like mochas, flavored lattes, and frappes can contain as much sugar as two cans of soda. If you want a healthier option, consider choosing sugar-free flavors and making your own drink with skim milk.
Sports Drinks and Post-Workout Recovery Drinks
While sports drinks play an important role in elite athletes' nutrition and hydration during competition, most average people can drink plain water or calorie-free electrolyte replacement tablets instead.
One bottle of sports drink contains about 140 calories and 34 grams of sugar, which is the daily sugar intake. The sugar in sports drinks can increase the risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurological problems.
Recovery drinks are similar to sports drinks in that they are intended for serious athletes and are high in calories and made from simple carbohydrates. Unless you're a professional athlete, there is little reason to include them in your diet.
Energy Drinks with Caffeine
Energy drinks with caffeine, such as Red Bull and Monster, were initially developed for extreme athletes or to help students stay awake. However, they offer no benefit when it comes to keeping your brain healthy because they are high in sugar.
A single can of Red Bull has 168 calories and 37 grams of added sugar (nine teaspoons). If you crave the caffeine that these types of drinks provide, look for sugar-free flavors instead.