Ginger is one of those spices that really deserves more credit than it ever gets. Not only it is warming and delicious, it also has the power to boost your thought processes.
In a study carried out by the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research, it was discovered that ginger significantly improved attention, cognitive processing and learning abilities with no side effects when used by middle-aged women. If ginger can help improve the brains of these women, think of what it could do to you too.
Ginger can also help to prevent monosodium glutamate toxicity, something that has huge implications for the health of our brains. MSG as it is commonly known is a flavor-enhancer, which is added to many kinds of processed foods. Worst of all, it has a toxic effect upon our brains, and may contribute to the onset of age-related memory decline and dementia. What more proof do we need to avoid processed foods as far as possible and stick to wholefoods?
If you want to enjoy some of the benefits of ginger, you have lots of options to choose from. You can add it to your recipes, drink it as a tea or even take it in capsule form. It’s recommended that you take between 400 and 800mg per day for best results.
I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard the hype about turmeric by now – it’s the spice hailed as a miracle cure for countless health complaints and the most exciting natural preventative measure against Alzheimer’s disease that you can start to enjoy right now. India has an interestingly low rate of Alzheimer’s disease, suggested to be a result of the high levels of turmeric they consume.
The secret is thought to lie in its high curcumin content. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce plaque formation in the brain and battles against free radicals in the body. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory, which helps to heal the entire body.
And as well as all of this, turmeric could also help you to boost your brain-power, increase brain-cell repair processes and improve your memory. This is because of another compound that it contains, known as aromatic-turmerone, which was shown to increase brain activity in a study carried out in Germany.
All of this evidence is proving to be really hopeful in the fight against brain deterioration, and brain injury. Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its distinctive bright yellow color, so the best thing you can do to reap the benefits is to eat more of them. If you’re not a fan of curries – don’t panic. A great tip is to sprinkle a small amount of it into your food. You’ll barely be able to notice the difference, and it won’t add even the slightest hint of spice to your meal.
Of course, you can also take turmeric in supplement form – studies have shown that a dose of 400mg of a pure curcumin works wonders for your brain, and also makes you feel amazing!
Who would have thought that one of the most common condiments also has a magical effect upon our brains? It has the potential to tackle low moods and make you feel absolutely fabulous.
This is because it contains an active substance called piperine, which protects the levels of the hormones serotonin and also dopamine in the brain. This has great implications for depression and mood disorders as well as Parkinson’s disease, as both are linked to lower levels of the respective hormones. Piperine also works to improve concentration and also reasoning skills.
It increases levels of beta-endorphins in the brain and improves overall cognitive performance resulting in a happier you and a stronger brain.
You can either take a piperine supplement of around 15-20mg or be generous with the quantity of black pepper that you add to your foods. The choice is yours!
Cinnamon’s reputation as a health-boosting drug has come on in leaps and bounds of the past few years, and for a great reason too. Not only does it help with weight-loss and food cravings, it works miracles on your brain function too.
It’s a great source of the mineral manganese which acts as a potent anti-oxidant, protecting the body from the ravages of free radicals that can lead to
Alzheimer’s, dementia and also cancers. It’s involved in the correct functioning of the brain, and so from a nutritional standpoint, it’s absolutely perfect.
Cinnamon also contains two compounds that help to ward off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. These are cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin, which can prevent plaque formation in the brain that can lead to the disease.
Like so many of the other spices, you can simply sprinkle a small quantity of the spice onto your favourite meals and in smoothies. You can also choose a supplement of around 1000mg per day to enjoy the same kind of benefits.
Eating nutmeg will keep you as sharp as a pin! It contains a natural organic compound called miristicin, which will improve your memory and helps ward off free-radical damage that might lead to Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.
If you are suffering stress and insomnia, nutmeg might just be your cure. Sprinkled into a warm drink late at night, it will help relax your body and allow you get the kind of rejuvenating sleep that you deserve, as well as reduce levels of anxiety and stress you might be experiencing.
Nutmeg is also potent in essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron and manganese which all promote healthy brain function.
Simply add a small amount to your soups, stews, smoothies or even your oatmeal to enjoy a delicious brain boost.
Although you might not realize it, cloves are the dried flower bud of the evergreen tree, Eugenia aromatica, which is native to Indonesia. They’re best known for their pain-killing properties when it comes to toothache, but they can also help work wonders for your brain too.
They’re a brilliant source of omega-3 oils that help keep your brain in tip-top condition, they’re packed full of vitamin and minerals and they have the highest food concentration of manganese out there. As a result, cloves are a great source of antioxidants, which help resolve the damage caused by free radicals and boost our entire bodies.
A study carried out by the University College of Medical Sciences in Delhi, India discovered that clove oil can actually reverse short-term and long-term memory deficits suffered throughout our lives.
When used as an aromatherapy oil, clove oil also effectively targets stress, depression and anxiety by stimulating brain function and managing the levels of neurotransmitters and hormones in the blood.
You can add ground cloves to many foods, as well as enjoying it as an aromatherapy oil or treatment oil.
Sweet Orange Essential Oil
Sweet Orange Oil is one of the best essential oils for helping you to feel positive, uplifted and also creative. It’s one of my favourite essential oils as it smells just like a juicy, freshly peeled orange that will leave you feeling bright, energetic and productive.
Its power comes from its active ingredient, limonene, which has been proven to reduce stress levels and help tackle depression.
To use sweet orange oil, simply combine a few drops of the pure essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, and massage
into your skin. You can also use it in a diffuser to spread the scent throughout the room, and allow your colleagues, friends or family to also enjoy its boosting benefits.
Basil Essential Oil
Basil oil has a fresh and invigorating scent which can improve your memory, focus, and help you to avoid distraction – perfect for those times when you have an important deadline looming, or have an exam that you need to revise for.
Its active ingredient, linalool, reduces levels of stress and increases levels of wellbeing, making it perfect for studying.
It has a rich and powerful smell, so use it sparingly, either in a diffuser or by applying a small amount of the diluted oil to your pressure points.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil has a cooling and refreshing fragrance, and for that reason it is widely used in foods and also cosmetics. But did you know that it can also help improve the productivity of your mind?
It’s a great alternative to caffeine that can effectively tackle stress, provide a great feeling of whole-body relaxation, focus your senses, improve your memory and wake up your mind, leaving you raring to go!
For best effects, blend a few drops of the pure essential oil with a carrier oil, such as almond oil, and apply to your pressure points throughout the day. Of course you can also use it as a massage oil, but do take care to blend it correctly as it is a very potent oil.