Dementia diet: Four spices that could make you ‘smarter’ and lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease

By Staff 7 Min Read

Looking after your body, staying physically active and eating well is just as important as maintaining good brain health. Health experts have shared four spices that have been proven to boost your brain health

Health experts have shared four spices that are proven to boost your brain health – and you probably have already in your kitchen cupboard.

Looking after your body, staying physically active and eating well is just as important as maintaining good brain health. Everyone wants to be at their optimum brain health, however, as people get older, it’s completely natural for the brain to age too. Food affects memory, cognition, mood and focus, so one of the best ways to boost brain health is with food.

Adding spices to meals can not just boost health benefits, but also boost our brain health too. Food expert and founder of Seasoned Pioneers, Matt Webster, has listed four of the best spices that can boost brain health.

1. Ginger

Not only does ginger help to improve digestive health, but it’s also a powerful spice when it comes to brain health. Ginger contains hundreds of phytochemicals, which all protect against oxidative stress, reports Bristol Live.

Oxidative stress can accelerate the ageing process and is thought to be one of the key drivers of Alzheimer’s disease. Next time you’re making a curry, stew or stir fry, why not add some ginger. It also goes well in sweet dishes, such as puddings, cakes and biscuits too.

One study has shown ginger can improve cognitive function and enhance memory. Another study found ginger is a potential cognitive enhancer, especially for for middle-aged women. Other benefits health ginger can provide include:

2. Turmeric

Next up is turmeric, a nutrient-rich spice. Its primary compound, curcumin, boasts neuroprotective properties that help maintain brain sharpness. It aids in enhancing memory function, reducing brain fog, and improving cognition. Studies have found that curcumin boosts levels of the growth hormone BDNF, which is reduced in Alzheimer’s patients. You can add some turmeric to your curry, stew, or rice dish – it even works well in smoothies and teas.

One study suggests curcumin also has a potential role in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Other research shows curcumin possesses important proprieties such as anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antiproliferative, anti-tumoral, and anti-aging.

3. Cinnamon

Cinnamon, a classic spice, is packed with antioxidants that prevent protein build-up in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Not only does it promote learning and the formation of new memories, helping neurons form new connections, but this spice is also high in antioxidants that protect the brain from stress-related damage.

You could sprinkle cinnamon into coffee, mix into morning oats or enjoy a sweet cinnamon bun. Research has shown cinnamon extract improves insulin sensitivity in the brain. Other studies argue cinnamon and in particular, cinnamaldehyde, seem to be effective and safe approaches for treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease onset and/or progression.

4. Black pepper

Black pepper, one of the most widely used spices globally, is also fantastic for brain health. Its main medicinal compound, piperine, is packed with antioxidants.

These antioxidants protect healthy brain cells from damage. Black pepper also boosts cognitive function and memory by stimulating chemical pathways to the brain.

Black pepper extract has improved symptoms of degenerative brain diseases in animal studies. In a study in rats with Alzheimer’s disease found that piperine improved memory. Other research has found piperine extract can decrease the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, which are damaging protein cells that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

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