By Team Lounge
Wasabi, the spicy green accompaniment that is traditionally paired with sushi could enhance more than flavour, a new study shows. The findings reveal that wasabi could also contribute to improving short- and long-term memory.
According to the researchers at Tohoku University, the main active constituent in wasabi found in Japan is a biochemical compound named 6-MSITC, which is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In the study, published in the journal Nutrients, 72 participants aged between 60 and 80 years took part wherein half took 100 milligrams of wasabi extract before bedtime, and the remaining took a placebo.
After 12 weeks, the findings showed that the group that took the extract showed a significant improvement in two aspects of cognitive function—the working and the episodic memory, Earth.com explains. People who received the wasabi extract showed an average 18% increase in their episodic memory scores along with an overall average score 14% higher than the placebo group.
The researchers believe that 6-MSITC could help in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress levels in the hippocampus, the region that manages memory function, and hence, promotes neural plasticity.
"We knew from earlier animal studies that wasabi conferred health benefits," Rui Nouchi, the study's lead researcher told CBS News. "But what really surprised us was the dramatic change. The improvement was really substantial."
The findings also showed that people who took the wasabi extract “showed improved verbal episodic memory performance as well as better performance in associating faces and names, which is often the major memory-related problem in older adults."
This is not the first time a spice has been linked to improving memory. In a 2018 study, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) demonstrated that daily consumption of a certain form of curcumin improved memory and mood in people with mild, age-related memory loss. The findings, published in the journal American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry show that people who took curcumin experienced significant improvements in their memory and attention abilities, UCLA’s press statement reveals.
These findings indicate the importance of diving deeper into the links between different spices and their health benefits.
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- FIRST PUBLISHED06.12.2023 | 03:52 PM IST