Nootropics are a promising field of study that help us stay mentally sharp as we age and be at the cutting edge in our youth. But even the perfect nootropic stack will do us about as much good as a bucket with a hole in the bottom if we sabotage it with the wrong diet.
Here’ a list of foods (or better yet, food-like substances) that can interfere with your brain health, thus undermining our nootropic nutritional supplements. Some of them may actually surprise you.
Anything that can last beyond a few months when it would naturally go bad is no longer nutritious. This includes most crackers, cereal, TV dinners, fast food, and deli meats—basically anything that needs added preservatives to keep it from rotting before it can be sold to you as a food-like substitute for actual nutritious, natural food.
From trans fats to endocrine disrupting BPA to toxic levels of high fructose corn syrup, all of these foods are better left where you found them—on the store shelf.
Toxins in Common Food Oils
Many of the oils in our everyday foods can have toxic consequences, and some of these foods may surprise you.
• Foods Fried in Vegetable Oil: When food is fried in vegetable, corn, or sunflower oil, the frying process releases aldehydes. Aldehydes have been very strongly linked to myocardial ischemia and dementia. It’s better to fry food in coconut oil, olive oil, or even good old fashioned grass-fed butter, which turned out to be okay for us after all.
• Microwave Popcorn: This stuff is toxic. Many brands contain diacetyl, which not only harms the lungs but according to the CDC may seriously damage the brain as well.
• Soda with Brominated Vegetable Oil: Many
This one is going to take additional explaining. Coffee is a great nootropic food as it’s rich in antioxidants. Chlorogenic acid is one of these antioxidants and is a fantastic substance for reducing damage caused by free radicals. Unfortunately, coffee is actually a delicate food that is very susceptible to contamination by Ochratoxin A, which comes from mold.
How often have you ever thrown out coffee beans? Roasting apparently does not eliminate this toxin. Ochratoxin A sabotages our brain power by accumulating in the brain and reducing NMDA receptors concentrations in the hippocampus. Developing brains are even more susceptible to these effects, which gives ironic credence to our parents who said that coffee will stunt our growth.
There are some who are attempting to debunk this fact, but it’s true that test results have shown this toxin in several brands and the U.S. does not regulate or properly test for it. So, coffee should be fresh, wet processed, from a single region and purchased from a retailer that you know has processed it and stored it correctly.
This tiny list is only the beginning when it comes to the toxins in the standard American diet. Even healthy foods can become toxic if they are stored in toxic containers such as BPA-laden plastic because these harmful organic chemicals in plastics can and will leach into our food.
If your food is fresh, organic and prepared by you so you know exactly what is going into it, you will have a much better chance of enhancing your nootropic supplements instead of undermining them.