We are what we eat.
The human body needs nutrients to function, and the foods you eat provide the energy your body needs to work.
Our brain is the largest energy consumer in our body.
The brain alone is responsible for up to 20% of our body’s total energy haul.
Unfortunately, not everything we eat is good for the brain.
Some foods are actually potentially harmful to it, so you should avoid eating them.
Avoiding the following 9 foods will noticeably increase your focus and boost your brain power.
Before we go ahead and get started, I wanted to let you know I researched and assembled 47 scientifically-backed ways to achieve laser-like focus, accelerate learning, sharpen memory, & boost mental energy.
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Soy is often the go-to product for vegetarians, vegans, or people who fast.
What makes soy different from other foods is that it’s very versatile.
Almost every type of meat, processed meat, or dairy products have a soy replacement.
You can find soy hamburgers, soy hot dogs, soy milk, and so on.
This versatility makes fasting and giving up meat protein easier for many people, which makes soy products very popular.
Unfortunately, studies have found that soy is not very good for your brain, especially as you get older.
An extensive study conducted between 1965 – 1967, 1971 – 1974, and 1991 – 1993 on 3734 subjects showed that men and women who ate less than two tofu servings a week had a better cognitive function when they were older.
But the subjects’ cognitive function was not the only thing that was altered.
The structure of the brain itself changed for people who ate a lot of tofu.
Their brains presented an enlargement of the ventricles, and they were lighter than those of the other participants in the study.
The study revealed that midlife tofu intake leads to a poor late-life cognitive performance and brain atrophy.
The researchers involved in this study believe that these changes are the result of an excessive intake of phytoestrogens and the poor intake of elements that could be found in animal products, such as vitamin B-12.
According to Natural News, GMO soy is found in up to 70% of food products in the U.S. supermarkets, including bread, pasta, meat, cereals, & snacks.
Genetically modified soy is thought to not only have potentially dangerous effects on humans, but on the environment as well.
So next time you want to reduce your meat intake and find another source of protein, make sure you avoid soy. Your future older self will thank you for it. (1)
Contrary to popular belief, the peanut is a legume crop.
Yes, a legume, not a nut.
Unlike nuts (real nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc) the peanut has a permeable pod that’s softer than the protective shells the real nuts have.
Just think about it, it’s harder to crack a walnut than a peanut pod, right?
Well, the problem with peanuts is that they grow underground as part of the plant’s root system.
That might not seem problematic at all, but since their pod is permeable, they’re vulnerable to temperature changes and moisture conditions.
If the peanuts grow in a humid soil that’s also warm, they can be the perfect nutrient for mold.
Even if they are cultivated in perfect conditions, the permeable pod won’t protect them against mold formation when they’re shipped and stored.
Some peanuts sacks might grow mold in the grocery store if the conditions are right.
The problem is that many manufacturers are aware that mold grows easily on peanuts, so they choose the best-looking peanuts and bag them as cocktail peanuts.
The moldy peanuts often end up in a peanut butter factory, so you should stay away from peanut butter as well.
You might be wondering why the mold on peanuts is considered dangerous.
Well, the type of mold that usually grows on peanuts produces a toxin named aflatoxin.
This toxin can create a congestion in your liver which can lead to neurological manifestations (you know, besides jaundice and cancer) (2)
Dairy products are part of the food pyramid, but they might not be as good for your health as you would think.
It’s currently believed that up to 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant.
This is easy to believe, as in some Asian countries only one in ten people can tolerate lactose.
Since Asia is home to most of the world’s humans…well, you can do the math on your own.
But the problem with milk and other dairy products is that most people consider them healthy, and they keep eating them even if they shouldn’t.
Humans are the only species that consume the milk of other species.
Every other species drink milk produced by their own species and do it until they’re weaned, not for the rest of their lives.
Humans are naturally intolerant to lactose.
Undigested lactose accumulates in our small intestine and pulls the water and electrolytes in the small intestine as well, which leads to diarrhea, gassiness, and bloating.
Besides lactose, dairy products (especially cheese) represent a big source of saturated fat.
In fact, cheese and pizza are the biggest sources of saturated fat you’re most likely to find in the American diet.
Not only do saturated fats determine memory problems, but they can also damage your hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that manages the body-weight control and that regulates how much food you eat.
High-fat diets can also promote inflammation in your brain and the rest of your body.
This type of diets increase the chances of suffering from a stroke or a heart attack.(3)
And if you believe that’s all there is, you’re in for a surprise.
Dairy products also contain casein.
In fact, up to 80% of the proteins you will find in cow’s milk are represented by casein.
You might be wondering why casein is so important and dangerous.
Well, casein is a protein that’s foreign to your body, so your immune system will be on alert and send some soldiers (IgG) to check it out when it enters your body.
The problem is that patients who have casein antibodies are 7-8 times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
At the same time, they have a risk 3 – 5 times higher to suffer from Bipolar disorder.
You might want to stop adding milk to your morning coffee, right? (4)
Gluten is the silent killer you can find in most types of bread, cookies, pastries, cakes, and cereal.
If you have been living under a rock in the past 10 – 15 years, you should be pleased to learn that people are now aware that gluten is dangerous for them, and they try to avoid it.
Some of them even make a spectacle of refusing to eat gluten, and they can act violently towards girl scouts trying to sell the cookies.
Unfortunately, celiac disease is not a trifling matter.
Most people don’t know that celiac patients suffer from psychiatric pathology, but they do.
When compared to people who are not gluten intolerant, celiac patients presented a higher incidence of anxiety, schizophrenia, and depression.
These psychiatric symptoms can be caused by the body’s immune response to gluten, which it perceives as a threat.
New studies have shown that schizophrenia and autoimmune diseases (such as celiac disease) have a bidirectional relationship.
Individuals who suffer from schizophrenia are 3 times more likely to suffer from an autoimmune disease as well.
Since the study showed that the relationship between these diseases goes both ways, it might be better to avoid eating gluten altogether.
This will protect you against developing celiac disease, which can lead to other, more severe, complications. (4)
Corn is one food that could be on the top of the list of things you shouldn’t eat.
Even though corn is widely used in Mexican cuisine and we’re used to eating it popped while watching movies, this grain is not really good for your health.
First of all, corn has very little nutritional value.
Sure, you can stuff yourself with corn and feel like you’re full, but unlike most vegetables, meats, fruits, and nuts, corn doesn’t contain a lot of minerals and vitamins.
Second, corn might be bad for your gut, especially if you suffer from pre-existing conditions.
Like all the other grains, corn contains prolamines.
Prolamines are proteins that are foreign to your body.
These proteins are difficult for our bodies to break down, and they can often lead to a leaky gut or stimulate the growth of bacteria in your gut.
In addition, almost all the corn cultivated in the US is GMO, so that might also be a concerning factor.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are typically less concerning than the presence of prolamines, but it’s important to be aware of it.
Because of its low nutritive value and the potential problems it causes, it might be better to eliminate it entirely from your diet.
- Sugar And Artificial Sweeteners
Sugar is bad for you in all its forms.
Whether you consume sugar by eating a cookie or drinking a fruit juice that’s full of fructose, it doesn’t matter.
It won’t do you any good, and it might actually lead to dangerous afflictions.
It’s true that our brain relies on glucose as its primary source of energy.
Actually, the brain consumes roughly half of the glucose you have in your body.
If the brain doesn’t have enough glucose, it won’t produce enough neurotransmitters which can lead to a lack of communication between your brain and your other organs.
In addition, hypoglycemia, usually a complication of diabetes caused by the lack of glucose, can lead to a loss of energy in your brain which translates in a poor cognitive function.
Even though your brain needs glucose to work properly, sugar consumption is not recommended.
Fruits and grains contain enough glucose to keep your brain working without any problem, so you don’t have to consume foods with added sugar.
Studies have shown that a diet high in added sugar can reduce the production of a brain chemical that’s crucial to our brain’s capacity to form new memories and learn.
Low levels of this chemical have also been linked with depression and dementia. (6)
As far as artificial sweeteners are concerned they’re just as bad for your brain’s health.
You would think that people would avoid overusing something artificial that’s supposed to replace sugar, but they don’t.
A study analyzed the health data of almost 3,000 adults over a period of 10 years to determine their incidence of stroke and dementia.
The results were alarming.
People who consumed diet drinks at least once per day suffered 3 times more strokes than those who didn’t.
Not only that, but they were also three times more likely to develop dementia. (7)
Now, these studies might make you consider changing some of your habits.
Maybe you shouldn’t drink so many soft drinks and start drinking water or soda instead.
Maybe you should only eat cookies or cake just once in a while, and read a product’s ingredients before buying it.
Giving up sugar might do wonders to your motivation and productivity.
- Processed Foods
Processed foods are now a part of our lives, and it would be silly to try and avoid them altogether.
Not only silly but avoiding processed foods nowadays is almost impossible.
Whether you’re eating at a fast-food joint, a restaurant, or you’re making your own food at home, chances are you’re eating some kind of processed food.
We’re not even going to explain what counts as processed in a fast food joint because the list will never end.
But when it comes to restaurants, the list is shorter, but it’s still there.
Bacon, for example, is a processed food and it’s an American favorite for breakfasts.
Or for instance, you may use foods such as salami or ham to make yourself a quick sandwich.
Well, both the salami and ham are processed meats.
The problem with processed foods is they typically contain potentially harmful components.
Most of them contain a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners (see point 6).
Some of them contain preservatives to prevent spoilage.
According to a study that involved 1,873 children, those who consumed preservatives and additives regularly experienced hyperactive behaviors. (8)
- Refined Salt
Most people know that eating salt can be bad for you because it can cause hypertension.
However, more than 95% of the restaurants in the U.S. still offer you salt and pepper when they place you at a table.
The thing most people don’t know, though, is that salt is not necessarily bad for you.
Refined salt is.
When it’s extracted from mines, salt is full of minerals that can actually be helpful and have a positive effect on your body.
Unfortunately, most of the minerals are stripped during the refining process, and to add insult to injury, manufacturers also add certain additives and preservatives to the salt.
The salt refining process is pretty complicated, but during this process, the salt is stabilized with dextrose (a sugar) and then it’s bleached to look better.
If you want to use salt and keep away from refined salt, you can switch to sea salt and/or Himalayan salt, which are healthier than their refined cousin. (9)
Even though shrimp is considered a delicacy by many, it might not be beneficial to your brain’s health.
Most of the shrimp we eat comes from places like Thailand, Ecuador, or Indonesia.
These countries don’t have the same health standards as the U.S. or the countries in the E.U., so the shrimp might provide some nasty surprises.
Shrimps grow in pond farms. But since the farmer feeds the shrimp, other things such as fungi want to live there as well.
To make sure the fungi stay away from the pond water, the farmer uses pesticides.
Some of the pesticides used are linked with symptoms of ADHD, muscle tremors, and memory loss.
If the farmer notices that fish eat the food meant for the shrimps, he or she might decide to use rotenone to kill them off.
Rotenone is a chemical that has been linked with Parkinson’s symptoms.
To make sure there are no mollusks in the water, the farmer might decide to use organotin compounds to kill them off.
These compounds mimic the action of estrogen, and eating them might lead to serious problems.
Sure, you can say that you only eat wild shrimp.
Well, we have some bad news for you.
About 25% of the shrimps labeled as wiled comes from shrimp farms as well.
So you might end up paying more for the same product, and still risk eating the harmful chemicals. (10)