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The worst foods for memory

The worst foods for memory

By: Shona Wilkinson

The connection between what we eat and how well our brain functions is a topic that has garnered significant attention in recent years. Studies have shown that certain foods can profoundly impact memory, cognitive function and overall brain health. While a wholesome diet can support cognitive function, consuming specific foods has been linked to memory impairment and brain fog. Understanding which foods to limit or avoid can be crucial to maintaining a sharp and focused mind.

How food impacts your memory

Before delving into the worst foods for memory, it's essential to understand the mechanism through which diet influences cognitive function. Like any other organ, the brain requires proper nutrients to function optimally. Nutrients including antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals play a vital role in supporting cognitive processes and protecting the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation. On the contrary, consuming certain foods can lead to inflammation, oxidative stress and impaired neuronal function, ultimately affecting memory and cognitive performance.

Discover the 10 best foods and supplements to support brain health, as well as the best nutrients to improve brain function.

What's your diet missing? Create your free Diet Profile and find out.

Worst foods for memory and brain fog

Ever felt like your brain has hit a mental roadblock and you can't seem to shake it? You may be experiencing 'brain fog'. Our nutritionists have delved into the causes, symptoms and strategies to clear brain fog. Now it's time to explore the worst foods for memory and brain fog that exacerbate symptoms.

Processed foods

Processed foods often contain high levels of unhealthy fats, sodium and preservatives. These additives can contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress, negatively impacting cognitive function and memory.

Dive into the world of ultra-processed foods and explore what makes them detrimental to our health, how to identify them and easy ways to make healthier choices.

High-sugar foods

Consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to spikes in blood glucose levels, causing inflammation and potentially impairing memory and cognitive function. Moreover, excessive sugar consumption has been linked to an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Read more on how excessive levels of sugar can cause changes in the brain's decision-making, learning ability and memory, and find out what the healthy amount of sugar per day is, plus how to reduce your sugar intake. 

Brain Fuel®

Brain Fuel®

Artificial sweeteners

Some artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, have been associated with neurological issues and may interfere with neurotransmitter function, potentially affecting memory and cognitive performance.

Read about the common myths and health risks of sweetners, including plant-sweetners

Refined carbohydrates

Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Refined carbohydrates, including white bread, pasta and pastries, can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, triggering inflammation and adversely impacting cognitive function over time. Discover the 5 best carbohydrates to include into your diet

Research shows refined bread is the most common cause of IBS and bloatingLearn more about the common and unusual symptoms of IBS.

Unhealthy fats

Trans fats, commonly found in fried and processed foods, can contribute to the development of plaque in the brain, leading to cognitive decline and memory impairment.

We've created an easy guide to healthy fats to reach for and unhealthy fats to avoid.

Brain Health Bundle

Brain Health Bundle


Excessive alcohol consumption can have detrimental effects on memory and cognitive function. Chronic alcohol abuse has been linked to a higher risk of developing memory disorders and dementia.

Our experts explain five of the biggest health risks from consuming alcohol. You may also be interested in reading 'The best foods for detoxing your liver'.


While moderate caffeine consumption may have some cognitive benefits, excessive intake can lead to jitteriness and impair sleep quality, ultimately affecting memory consolidation and cognitive performance.

Discover the best alternatives to caffeine.

Discover Brain Fuel®, an advanced nootropic formula of clinically proven ingredients, including BacoMind®, Phosphatidylserine and Ginkgo to improve your memory, focus and cognitive performance.

Fish high in mercury

Certain fish, particularly large predatory fish like shark, swordfish and king mackerel, can contain high levels of mercury, which has been associated with cognitive impairment, particularly in children and developing foetuses.

Vegan Omega 3

Vegan Omega 3

Maintaining cognitive health through diet

Adopting a diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats, is crucial to safeguarding and promoting optimal cognitive function. Incorporating foods abundant in antioxidants, including berries, leafy greens and nuts, can help combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Opting for a diet low in processed foods, refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and excessive sugars can contribute to maintaining a sharp and focused memory. Symptoms like sugar cravings have been linked to low levels of GABA (a neurotransmitter in your brain). The more short-chain fatty acids in our gut, the more GABA we produce. Learn more about the connection between our gut and brain in 'Why your gut is your second brain'.

In conclusion, the foods we consume play a significant role in shaping our cognitive abilities and memory. By being mindful of our dietary choices and prioritising nutrient-dense foods, we can support our brain health and foster sharper memory and cognitive function throughout our lives.

The power of nootropics 

Nootropics, your cognitive superhero, are 'smart' drugs or supplements that help to fuel focus, mental clarity, memory and performance. Discover the mystery behind nootropics and how they work.

Learn why Brain Fuel® is the best nootropic for your memory, focus and cognitive performance. You may also be interested in how BacoMind® works, a key ingredient in our Brain Fuel® formula. A study of customers taking Brain Fuel® daily for 3 months showed they enjoyed:

*based on a user rating from month 0 to month 3, across 40 individuals.

Discover our range of vegan supplements and probiotics.

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