Mild memory loss is a normal part of aging, and it oftentimes can’t be avoided. However, there are ways to slow the brain aging process and improve your cognitive health as you get older.
For example, getting enough good-quality sleep and regularly doing cognitive exercises can help, as well as eating a healthy diet and focusing on incorporating more brain-healthy foods.
When it comes to your brain, it’s not just what you eat that matters, but what you drink as well. Drinking things like water, tea, and coffee have all been found to help improve things like cognition and memory, while also helping to lower your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
And according to recent research, one of the best drinking habits you can have for your memory is replacing both regular and diet sodas with unsweetened beverages.
What the research says about soda and memory loss
Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda have been linked to lower cognitive health in both older adults and adolescents. One recent report from The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease studied participants for a period of 15-20 years while documenting their average soda consumption.
The participants were divided into three main categories: those who didn’t drink soda, those who had fewer than 7 servings of soda per week, and those who consumed an average of more than 7 servings each week.
The participants who consumed the highest amount of sugary sodas ended up having higher risks of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and stroke compared to the groups who consumed less sugary drinks over time.
These risks don’t just affect adults, however. One recent study of mice found that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages at a young age can impair memory and cognitive performance into adulthood.
These results were said to be due to the alteration of your gut microbiota from sugar and the connection between your gut and your brain, but researchers concluded that more studies need to be done to find the exact solution.
What about diet soda?
Sadly, research shows that opting for a diet soda may not actually help at all. In fact, diet sodas can cause harm to your memory and cognitive health just as much as regular soda.
A 2017 study from the American Heart Association found that higher consumption of artificially-sweetened beverages were associated with an increased risk of stroke and dementia.
Both regular and diet sodas have been found to negatively impact your brain health and memory over time, as well as increase your risk for things like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Because of these findings, it’s best to limit your consumption or avoid them altogether. Switching out your soda for things like water, 100% natural fruit juice, tea, or coffee can help you care for your brain health. But before you regularly consume something like juice or coffee, you may want to talk with a doctor to make sure it fits with your health goals.