There has always been a lot of hype around foods that make you smart. This is why college students eat bananas when they study and why the product Smart Water is so popular. But have you ever thought about foods that make you dumber? It’s true that researchers at prestigious universities, such as UCLA and Oxford University, have found that there are certain foods that make you less smart. It turns out that “eating dumb” diminishes all of your efforts to be smart. Eating poorly affects your alertness, memory, mood and your nervous system, such as your neuromuscular response time. Read the following list of dumb foods so that you know which foods to avoid.

1. Sugar

 donut

The idea that eating too much sugar is bad for you isn’t anything new, but eating a lot of sugar over an extended period of time causes neurological problems. High consumption of sugar affects your memory and your ability to learn. Also, too much sugar in your blood slows down your brain cells’ use of insulin to break down sugar to aid in processing thoughts and emotions, leading to a decrease in brain activity. This information is daunting because the average American consumes 47 pounds of sugar annually. You should try to limit you sugar intake, including high-fructose corn syrup and high-carb foods.

2. Salt

Aside from affecting your heart rate and blood pressure, salt affects your cognitive functioning. Adding raw salt to your food is worse than cooking it with salt. Not only does salt impair your ability to think, but it also causes many other problems such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke. Try to consume salt in moderation.

3. Junk Food

Potato chips, soda, burgers and fries. It all sounds so tasty, but junk food is addictive, and addiction is a matter of the brain. It turns out that the cessation of eating junk food triggers symptoms similar to withdrawal, depression and anxiety. The fats in junk food impart the creation of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine plays a role in giving you an overall feeling of well-being, learning, alertness, memory, cognitive function and motivation. When everyone told you not to eat junk food or it will rot your brain when you were a kid, it turns out they weren’t kidding. In fact, consuming high amounts of junk food for an extended period of time can lead to memory loss, and in some cases, Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Fried Food

Fried food is kind of implied under junk food. However, there are still healthy foods that, when fried, become unhealthy. For instance, eating fish has many health benefits, but eating fried fish is unhealthy. The same goes for other fried food like chicken. Stay smart by opting for non-fried foods.

5. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners drain your brain power. Consuming too many artificial sweeteners slows your brain response, effectively making you dumber. Items that contain artificial sweeteners, other than packet food, include mouthwash, toothpaste, cough syrup and chewable vitamins. Also, consuming high quantities of artificial sweeteners for an extended period of time causes brain damage.

6. Trans Fats

trans fat

Researchers who conducted the Oregon Brain Aging Study found that the consumption of trans fats is linked to brain shrinkage. The study examined 104 adult over the age of 65 and tested the subjects for the consumption of 30 nutrients over time. The findings show that those with high trans fat diets had brain shrinkage similar to people who have Alzheimer’s Disease.

7. Precooked and Processed Foods

sausage

Precooked and processed foods contain harmful chemicals that make you dumber. Preservatives, additives, dyes and artificial flavors are some examples of the chemicals in these foods that affect your behavior and cognitive functioning. Consuming large quantities of processed foods over a lifetime slowly destroys your nerve cells and causes your brain to shrink.

8. Nicotine

Having nicotine in your bloodstream causes the capillaries between your blood vessels to constrict, which affects the function of neurotransmitters and, ultimately, brain function. The cessation of nicotine intake causes a brain fog, and this causes nicotine users to develop dependency.

9. Alcohol

Consuming alcohol causes a mental cloud of confusion that has several effects. First, alcohol use is a liver killer. Also, the consumption of alcohol lowers your ability to think clearly and to recall information. If you have trouble recalling the names of common items or can’t differentiate between reality and your dreams, then you are likely a heavy alcohol user and need treatment. Fortunately, these symptoms are reversible if you stop consuming alcohol or limit your consumption to two drinks or less a week.

10. Tofu

tofu

This last one is surprising, because tofu is generally regarded as a healthy food. However, research from Loughborough University and Oxford suggests that tofu can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. The two universities conducted a study that looked at 700 participants between the ages of 52 and 98. The results show that those who consumed a lot of tofu were more at risk for memory loss. It hasn’t been proven, but researchers suspect it is the phytoestrogens in tofu that are responsible.

These are 10 foods that make you dumber. Other than these foods to avoid, you should also avoid becoming dehydrated. A lack of water also causes brain shrinkage and affects memory, focus and decision-making. So eat smart, drink your water and maybe then you could pass for being smarter than a moron.

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Featured photo credit: Happy woman in a restaurant eating a fast food hamburger, focus on the burger via Shutterstock,tofuvia Shutterstock

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