Cognitive functions deteriorate with age, and science continues to look for ways to mitigate or slow this process. Some tips for wellness include exercise, adequate rest and of course good nutrition.
Certain foods are great allies for brain function. Now new research suggests there is a vegetable that can significantly improve memory in people over 60.
We talk about wasabi, known as the sweet and spicy condiment commonly served with sushi. This vegetable, also called spicy Japanese radish, contains a bioactive compound – 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate or 6-MSITC – known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
A team of researchers from Tohoku University went to demonstrate the positive impact of wasabi consumption on certain brain functions, such as episodic memory, processing speed, working memory and attention.
Twelve weeks of experimenting
To assess this, the team used 72 healthy volunteers aged 60 to 80. The participants were randomly divided into two groups. First, their cognitive functions were assessed before the start of the trial period. Then, They were asked to take wasabi tablets every day before bed for 12 weeks.
One group received wasabi tablets containing 0.8 milligrams of 6-MSITC, while the other group received placebo tablets.
Once the 3 month period is over, the researchers reassessed cognitive functions, by analyzing participants’ mental processing speed, attention, short-term memory, working memory, episodic memory and executive functions.
Those who took wasabi tablets performed better on memory tests. Particularly in the areas of episodic memory (remembering past sequences), working memory (temporarily retaining information), and memory association tasks, such as associating names with faces, which is a common challenge in older adults. Moreover, they showed improvements in both short-term and long-term memory.
Reduced levels of oxidation and inflammation
According to research, The hippocampus plays a fundamental role in the functioning of episodic memory and working memory. Researchers suggest that the compound 6-MSITC could work by soothing neurological inflammation, protecting against oxidative damage to brain cells and strengthening neuronal connectivity.
The researchers also noted that they found no evidence of significant improvements in areas such as reasoning, attention and processing speed.
Although more research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms and confirm these findings, The study suggests that including wasabi in the diet may be a natural way to help memory as one ages.