Avoid Food, Drink, and Drugs That Depress Memory

By American Geriatrics Society (AGS), Health in Aging Foundation

Foods, drinks, and chemicals that your brain is exposed to have major effects on your memory. If you eat junk food loaded with sugar, you set yourself up to crash, finding yourself full of anxiety and short of short-term memory. Similarly, if you drink too much caffeine, the liquid anxiety scatters your thoughts and shatters your memory ability. Keep these two guidelines in mind:

  • Avoid sugary foods (like candy, cookies, pastry, cakes/icing, and regular soda pop). Remember that regular soft drinks contain 39 grams of sugar in one 12-ounce can.
  • Minimize caffeine.

If you treat your brain badly, your long-term memory can erode, and your brain will struggle to remember. You can avoid devastating your memory by staying away from the following substances:

  • Alcohol: It kills not only your brain cells but also what they produce — a good memory. Alcohol affects memory of all types: short-term, long-term, and working memory.
  • Drugs: Marijuana can cloud your memory and cause you to lose the ability to focus. The chemical found in marijuana, called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), causes brain cell loss in the hippocampus, resulting in memory loss. Other illegal drugs — heroin, LSD, methamphetamines — all have serious harmful effects on brain health and memory.
  • Neurotoxins: These poisons include petrochemicals, solvents, pesticides, and herbicides. They kill brain cells when you’re exposed to them.