This Japanese spice turns up the heat on brain power

When I’m not sure what to have for lunch or dinner, I often head for the supermarket next door and grab a box (or two) of California rolls. They’re the only kind of sushi I like.

With each serving comes a green blob of wasabi. I do NOT allow it to touch my sushi. I simply can’t tolerate the heat it gives off — especially what people refer to as “wasabi brain burn.”

If you know, you know… but I’m beginning to think about training myself to tolerate wasabi. It seems that it can do more than just spice up my sushi…

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How it works

A new study shows that wasabi can improve certain areas of cognition in people over the age of 60.

The key to this ability is the compound 6 methylsulfinyl hexyl isothiocyanate (6-MSITC), which has been previously linked to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities shown to protect cells and slow cell damage.

In the present study, 72 healthy participants aged 60 to 80 took either 100mg of wasabi extract or a placebo before bed for a period of 12 weeks.

At the end of the experiment, those who had taken wasabi tablets showed significantly better performance in their episodic memory (recalling events from the past) and working memory (holding information temporarily) based on a series of cognitive tests.

Why does the green stuff improve memory?

While the study did not really look at the biological mechanisms behind the improvements, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of 6-MSITC are thought to play a critical role.

These properties may help protect against brain damage and enhance neural functions in key areas of the brain like the hippocampus, which is vital for memory.

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Wasabi supplements and other ways to protect memory

So do you have to learn to endure the high-intensity, eye-popping heat you get from eating wasabi in order to protect your brain?

Absolutely not! There are already plenty of wasabi supplements on the market, which means it’s already well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

You’d have to eat a LOT of wasabi to even come close to getting the benefits described here. And, unfortunately, in the US often what we’re served with our sushi is actually what’s known as “western wasabi” — or horseradish.

Of course, it can never hurt to get more anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods into your diet on a consistent basis.

And there are so many of them to choose from…

  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Dark chocolate
  • Beans

All of these foods and more are included in the MIND diet, which consists of foods with proven brain benefits.

If you’re at all concerned with protecting your memory as you get older and preventing dementia, what better way to get started on prevention right now?

Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!


Wasabi Compound Enhances Memory — Neuroscience News

Benefits of Wasabi Supplements with 6-MSITC (6-Methylsulfinyl Hexyl Isothiocyanate) on Memory Functioning in Healthy Adults Aged 60 Years and Older: Evidence from a Double-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial — Nutrients

Japanese Condiment, Wasabi, Boosts Memory — Healthnews

Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Hypercholesterolemic Activities of Wasabia japonica — Hindawi

Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.