Cognitive function and the brain are often impacted by aging. There are foods and spices that are known to improve brain function. Wasabi, also known as Japanese horseradish, has been shown by Tohoku University researchers to have potential benefits for improving specific aspects of cognitive function in older adults. Many changes occur in the body as we age, both internally and externally. This also applies to cognition, or the brain’s capacity for information processing and memory. Common signs of age-related cognitive decline include difficulty finding the right word to say when speaking, forgetting where you put things, and slower problem-solving. Numerous lifestyle factors can help people preserve their cognitive health as they age, according to prior research. Among them is maintaining a nutritious diet. Additionally, studies have demonstrated the brain-boosting properties of certain foods, including kale, eggs, oily fish, and berries. It has also been discovered that certain spices, such as ginger, saffron, cinnamon, and turmeric, can enhance brain function. Recently, wasabi, a spice that is typically used as a condiment in Japanese cuisine, has been linked to improved cognitive function in older adults, according to research from Tohoku University in Japan. The journal Nutrients published the study not too long ago.
Native to Japan and parts of Russia and Korea, wasabi is also referred to as Japanese horseradish. It belongs to the family Brassicaceae, which is also made up of arugula, radish, and horseradish. Since wasabi is a rhizome, its roots are used and it grows underground. The wasabi root is typically grated to create a fresh paste. The scent and slight spice of freshly grated wasabi are reminiscent of horseradish or hot mustard. Scholars have examined the possible advantages of wasabi in human subjects, animal models, and cell culture. Previous studies suggest that wasabi may offer various health advantages. These include high vitamin C levels that support the immune system, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities, protection against neurodegenerative diseases, support heart health, aid in weight loss, improve gut health, boost bone health, improve sleep and fatigue, and have anticancer properties.
Researchers gathered 72 Japanese adults, ranging in age from 60 to 80, for this study. For a period of 12 weeks, study participants were instructed to take either a placebo tablet or a wasabi tablet containing 0.8 mg of 6-methylsulfinyl hexyl isothiocyanate (6-MSITC), the plant’s primary bioactive ingredient, before going to bed. Cognitive and memory tests measuring working memory, attention, processing speed, and episodic memory were administered to participants both before and after the 12-week period. At the end of the trial, the researchers discovered that, in comparison to those who took a placebo tablet, those who took the wasabi supplement containing 6-MSITC significantly improved in both working and episodic memory performances. The researchers did not discover any appreciable gains in other cognitive domains, though.
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