8 Herbs and Spices That May Help Support Brain Health…And Make Your Food Taste Great
For thousands of years, people around the world have used herbs and spices to make their foods taste delicious and their bodies run at peak performance. Today we know much about the properties of these ancient ingredients, and how they may help support both physical and mental health.
Pharmacists don’t need to be culinary experts to know the value of these nutrients. Here are eight herbs and spices they might recommend to clients:
- Black Pepper: This most common of kitchen spices contains piperine, a known antioxidant that may support brain function, mood, and cognitive abilities.
- Ginger: An ancient ingredient, ginger may enhance cognitive functioning and memory. One study reported that ginger extract helped improve working memory and attention in a group of middle-aged women.
- Saffron: Saffron is high in antioxidants.
- Gingko Biloba: Another 1,000-year-old natural remedy, ginkgo may improve the flow of blood to the brain and act as an antioxidant.
- Cinnamon: Considered a “super food,” cinnamon may have antioxidant characteristics.
- Peppermint: The bracing fragrance of peppermint has long been associated with a more positive mood. In one study, participants exposed to peppermint aroma were found to have better memory and increased alertness compared with the control group.
- Sage: Long revered for its healing properties, sage may improve brain function and memory.
- Turmeric: The spice that produces curry’s distinctive yellow color, turmeric has been used for generations to support brain health, memory, and mood. Turmeric contains high levels of antioxidants. Some research also suggests that the main ingredient of turmeric, curcumin, can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which enhance a person’s mood.