You may have heard suggestions like using meditation, deep breathing, brainwave entrainment, visualization, and several other exercises to harness your brain’s potential and promote mental clarity.
But did you know that diet plays an important role in how well your brain works? What you eat influences your cognitive functioning. In fact, the herbs and spices in your kitchen spice rack can be very helpful in enhancing your memory and brainpower.
Here are the top 10 spices to boost brainpower.
Adding turmeric to your food can help keep your brain sharp. Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin that reduces plaques in the brain that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. It also slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease due to its potent antioxidant properties.
Curcumin also improves memory and has an antidepressant effect. Moreover, a recent study in India indicates that this active ingredient also protects against alcohol-induced brain damage.
Thyme is great for supporting brain health. Studies have revealed that the volatile oils in this herb increase the levels of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in the brain.
Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the brain because they protect against age-related cognitive decline or dementia. They also improve learning and memory.
Plus, DHA ensures proper functioning and development of the brain cells. Thyme also contains flavonoids that increase its antioxidant capacity.
Oregano is highly effective in neutralizing free radicals due to its high concentration of antioxidants. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that taking an extract from oregano leaves can help enhance mental well-being and regulate mood.
The study demonstrated that the compounds in this herb inhibit the reuptake and degradation of monoamine neurotransmitters, which are involved in modulating your mood, anxiety, cognition, sleep and appetite. Thus, oregano can help decrease anxiety and improve learning and concentration.
Apart from including this spice in cooking, you can use oregano essential oil as aromatherapy to relieve stress and calm your nerves.
Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, rosemary helps fight off free-radical damage in the brain. Carnosic acid, a phytochemical present in this herb, is particularly good for protecting the brain from a stroke and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
It also stimulates nerve growth factor synthesis, thereby reversing nerve cell damage. In addition, it improves brain functioning by increasing circulation in the brain.
Sage is excellent for better brain functioning and boosting memory recall. It also contains carnosic acid that stops free-radical damage in the brain.
Plus, it increases the production of the anti-aging antioxidant glutathione, which is used to treat a number of neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s, autism, and others.
Furthermore, the compounds present in this herb prevent the breakdown of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that is involved in memory and learning.
Extracts of sage with terpenoid constituents have been shown to improve cognitive function. So, to boost your brainpower, add more sage to your soups, stews, and salad dressings, or simply drink sage tea.
6. Black Pepper
Black pepper and other plants in the Piperaceae family contain a pungent compound called piperine that increases beta-endorphins in the brain and boosts cognitive function. Beta-endorphins have neurotransmitter qualities that improve your mood and promote feelings of relaxation.
This active compound also inhibits an enzyme that breaks down serotonin. Thus, it is believed to be helpful in the treatment of mood disorders. Plus, researchers believe that black pepper can help prevent and treat Parkinson’s disease as well because piperine inhibits an enzyme that degrades dopamine.