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Top 10 Spices for a Healthy Brain

spices-white-pepper-nutmeg-45844Your diet plays a crucial role in your mental well being and physical health, as they are intricately connected. Have you ever thought about everyday spices that could give your brain an internal boost and reset from within to function at an optimal level?

Consider adding these 10 spices below to your current diet, or better yet cook with them to improve overall brain health, and help prevent, or at the very least stave off future cognitive decline. These top spices have been studied extensively by world renowned psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, and is widely discussed in many of his journal publications and books, including one of his latest Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. He recommends the 10 spices below to be incorporated into your every diet to have a happier and healthier brain.

Turmeric

Found in curry, turmeric contains a chemical that has been shown to decrease plaques and tangles in the brain thought to be responsible for the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Saffron

In 3 specific studies that Dr. Amen conducted, a saffron extract was found to be as effective as antidepressant medication in treating people with major depression, and various anxiety disorders.

Sage

There is strong scientific evidence that sage helps to improve and strengthen the hippocampus of our brains, which is responsible for memory.

Cinnamon has been shown to help regulate attention, and focus. Additionally, it helps to regulate blood sugar, which decreases the hunger hormone Ghrelin, while boosting Leptin, the satiety hormone responsible for fullness.

Basil, a common antioxidant pizza topper is responsible for improving blood flow to the heart and brain, and has additional anti inflammatory properties that offer protection from Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia.

Thyme is responsible for increasing the amount of DHA, an essential fatty acid in the brain. DHA is responsible for playing a central role in brain health. In fact, an optimal intake of DHA is especially essential for pregnant and nursing mothers to endure adequate brain development in their children.

Oreganoespecially dried oregano has between 30-40 times the brain healing antioxidant power of raw blueberries, 46 times more than Quercetin that’s found in the skin of apples, and 56 times as much as strawberries, making it one of the most powerful brain cell protectors on the planet.

Garlic promotes better blood flow to the brain, and actually works by stopping/killing brain cancer cells in a 2007 study.

Ginger can potentially make you smarter. A study that combined ginger with ginkgo biloba suggests that it does, and further studies aiming to replicate those earlier findings are currently underway. Ginger root extract may also be beneficial in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and for those who suffer from migraine/ tension/cluster headaches.

Rosemary

A recent study highlighted the beneficial effects of rosemary in diminishing cognitive decline in people with dementia. Fresh or dried will do the trick.

Despite our genetic blueprint, a lot of things regarding our overall health are really in our hands, and specifically found in nature. Take advantage of the power you personally have by incorporating these healing spices into your diet and you will be rewarded with a happier and healthier brain in the long run.

Top 10 Spices for a Healthy Brain

Emily Waters

Emily Waters earned her Master's degree in industrial psychology with an emphasis in human relations. She possesses keen insight into the field of applied psychology, organizational development, motivation, and stress, the latter of which is ubiquitous in the workplace environment and in one’s personal life. One of her academic passions is the understanding of human nature and illness as it pertains to the mind and body. Prior to obtaining her degree, she worked in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Presently, she teaches a variety of psychology courses both in public and private universities.


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APA Reference
Waters, E. (2017). Top 10 Spices for a Healthy Brain. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/top-10-spices-for-a-healthy-brain/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 20 Feb 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Feb 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.