Researchers have shown that a key food in Japanese cuisine can boost memory from the age of 60.
As a person gets older, their brain inevitably ageswhich reduces cognitive functions and is sometimes accompanied by memory loss or difficulty performing daily tasks. From the age of 50, brain weight decreases on average 2% per decade and from the age of 60, a human being’s ability to think decreases, researchers from the University of Heidelberg, Germany confirmed in the journal Nature Human Behavior. However, to slow down aging, the brain needs the right nutrients.
No more than one knife tip per day!
Recently, researchers discovered that a flagship food of Japanese cuisine could have a positive effect on cognition. This is wasabi, this green condiment used to enhance the taste of sushi, sashimi, makis, and which is easily found in Japanese restaurants or in tube in supermarkets and Asian stores. “The main bioactive compound in wasabi is 6-MSITC (6-methylsulfinyl hexyl isothiocyanate) which has functions antioxidants and anti-inflammatories playing an important role in cognitive health in healthy elderly people aged 60 and over“, we can read in the magazine Nutrients. Riche in calcium, proteins and vitamin Cwasabi remains a condiment fatty, sweet and salty (and with several additives when it is industrial) which should be eaten sparingly: no more than a knife tip (0.5 mg/1g) per day.
Fighting “brain fog”
To highlight the benefits of wasabi on cognitive health, researchers studied the cognitive performance of people aged 60 and over for 12 weeks. During this period, 72 volunteers were randomly divided into two groups. The first group was asked to take a wasabi tablet every day (0.8 mg) and the other, a placebo. The researchers then checked a range of cognitive performance (executive function, episodic memory, processing speed, working memory and attention), before and after the 12 weeks. They concluded that “people supplemented with 6-MSITC showed a significant improvement in working memory performance and episodic memory compared to the placebo group”. The supplemented group also complained less “brain fog” which is defined as a feeling of confusion or one lack of mental clarity. In contrast, they found no significant improvement in other cognitive domains such as thinking speed or planning ability.
As a reminder, working memory is a form of short-term memory that allows information to be stored and manipulated for a short period of time (a few seconds) in order to use it to accomplish a task. Episodic memory is that of moments personally experienced and which allows us to situate ourselves in time and space and to project ourselves into the future.
- Mental speed is high until age 60 as revealed by analysis of over a million participants – Nature Human Behavior