Cognitive functions tend to deteriorate with age, and science continues to look for ways to mitigate or delay this process. Some wellness tips include exercise, adequate rest, and of course, good nutrition.
Some foods are excellent allies of brain function. Now, new research suggests there is a vegetable that can significantly improve memory in people over 60.
We are talking about wasabi, famous as a sweet and spicy condiment that is usually served with sushi. This vegetable, also called spicy Japanese radish, contains a bioactive compound – 6-methylsulfinhexyl isothiocyanate or 6-MSITC – known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties..
A team of researchers from Tohoku University set themselves the goal of… positive effects of wasabi consumption on some brain functions, such as episodic memory, processing speed, working memory, and attention.
Twelve week experimental phase
To evaluate this, The team targeted 72 healthy volunteers aged between 60 and 80. Participants were randomly divided into two groups. First, their cognitive functions were assessed before the start of the experimental period. Subsequently, They were asked to take wasabi tablets before bed every day for 12 weeks..
One group received wasabi tablets containing 0.8 milligrams of 6-MSITC, while the other group received placebo tablets.
Evaluated after 3 months the researchers again examined cognitive functions, 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 those of episodic memory (remembering sequences from the past), working memory (temporarily retaining information), and memory association tasks such as associating names with faces, which is a common challenge for older people. Over and beyond They showed improvements in both short-term and long-term memory.
Reduction of oxidation and inflammation levels
According to research, The hippocampus plays a critical role in the function of episodic memory and working memory. Researchers suspect that the compound 6-MSITC may work by mitigating neurological inflammation, protecting against oxidative damage to brain cells, and strengthening neuronal connectivity.
“6-MSITC would reduce the levels of oxidants and inflammation in the hippocampus. The reduction of oxidants and inflammation can protect the brain from damage and improve neuronal functions, such as brain activity and neuronal plasticity in the hippocampus. Weekly use of 6- MSITC would improve memory function in elderly people”, concludes the study published in Nutrients.
The researchers also noted that they found no evidence of significant improvements in areas such as reasoning, attention and processing speed.
Although further research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms and confirm these findings, The study suggests that including wasabi in your diet may provide a natural way to support memory as you age.