Wasabi provides a major brain boost for older adults, study finds

Brain function declines as people age. Although the aging process cannot be reversed, there are certain foods that improve cognitive health, including antioxidant-rich options like berries and tomatoes.

Research has shown that the Japanese spice wasabi has brain-boosting benefits for older adults. Here’s what it can do and easy ways to incorporate it into your diet.

Wasabi, also called Japanese horseradish, is a plant native to Japan and some parts of Korea and Russia. It comes from the Brassica family, as does mustard. Traditionally, people grate an aromatic and slightly spicy paste from the wasabi root, which resembles hot mustard or horseradish.

Is wasabi good for memory? The short answer is yes. This green-tinged spice offers more than a spicy kick. Its active ingredient, 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate (6-MSITC), has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help with many bodily functions, including enhancing cognitive function.

In the study, 72 Japanese adults aged 60-80 were divided into two groups. One received 0.8 milligrams of 6-MSITC, while the other received a placebo without wasabi. Participants who took real wasabi pills significantly improved working and episodic memory performance compared to those who took placebo pills.

Working memory refers to how people process, use and remember information on a daily basis. You use it when you memorize your Shopping List or remember a phone number. It’s like a mental platform where you can write down and process any information you might need.

On the other hand, episodic memory refers to how you acquire, store, and retrieve information. It is a type of long-term memory that involves recalling past experiences, such as meeting your partner last month.

Although the study concluded significant improvements in these aspects, they did not find the same results in other cognitive areas.

Wasabi is more than just brain food. It has positive health effects, all of which are beneficial for older adults.

1. Anti-inflammatory properties

Inflammation is the immune system’s response to toxins, injuries, and infections. When it becomes chronic, it can contribute to serious conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Wasabi helps suppress enzymes and cells that promote inflammation, including cytokines.

2. Antibacterial effects

Wasabi is good for memory and intestines. It can help treat H. pylori, a bacteria that infects the stomach. It can cause peptic ulcers and, in the worst cases, stomach cancer and inflammation of the stomach lining.

3. Weight loss support

Edible wasabi leaves contain compounds that may support weight loss. Animal and test-tube studies show that wasabi can inhibit the growth of fat cells by shutting down a gene involved in fat formation.

4. Packed with essential nutrients

Wasabi contains vitamins C and D, which are essential for immune function. It also contains magnesium, which helps regulate the nervous system and helps reduce the risk of depression.

Now that you know that wasabi is good for your memory, it’s time to add it to your diet. Here are a few ways to use and add wasabi in addition to pairing it with your favorite sushi.

1. Add to salad dressing

Salads can be tasty. If you’re looking for something to spice up your palate, add Wasabi paste to your sauce of choice. It may become a new favorite.

If you want to try new sauces, mix soy sauce, salt and wasabi and pour it over the greens. You can add dried fruit like apple slices and apricots to add a touch of sweetness and liven up the salad with ginger, shallots and citrus.

2. Make sandwich bread

Any sandwich would benefit from a wasabi kick. It’s as simple as adding your desired amount of wasabi to your spread to turn your lunch into a food that helps improve cognitive health.

It’s good mixed with mayo, which moderates its spiciness, so it just adds a subtle heat. Since mustard and wasabi come from the same family, they taste great when combined.

3. Mix with mashed potatoes

Give your classic favorite a spicy twist. Add the wasabi powder or paste to the mashed potatoes, mixing it with the butter and cream. With this combination of sweet and rich ingredients, you get all the fresh flavor without compromising your mashed potato texture.

Along with proper diet and exercise, certain nutrient-dense foods besides wasabi are also good for memory.

1. Salmon

This fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce symptoms of depression and can improve memory and learning functions. You can enjoy it with your favorite pasta, garlic butter, capers and a light lemon cream sauce.

2. Nuts

Almonds, walnuts, cashews and other nuts contain impressive amounts of minerals that support mental health. Despite their relatively high calories, these foods do not excessively promote weight gain.

3. Avocados

Avocados contain healthy fats and are a rich source of brain-healthy lutein. They also contain folate and vitamin K to improve mood, memory and concentration.

4. Coffee

Your favorite drink contains caffeine and antioxidants that support brain health. Caffeine is known to improve mood, alertness and concentration. Coffee is only useful if consumed in moderation.

5. Blueberries

These colorful berries contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties like wasabi, making them delicious foods that boost cognitive health. They are healthy and easy to add to your diet. Just sprinkle them over your bowl of oatmeal or add them to a smoothie.

Wasabi isn’t just good for your sushi, it’s also good for your memory. The versatility of this spice makes it easy to add to your favorite dishes. Try a dish with a spicy wasabi kick and enjoy all the delicious rewards.

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