This morning, I shared with you how the general anesthesia used during surgical procedures have been linked to accelerated cognitive decline.
Of course, it makes sense that something that "knocks you out" might also put a damper on your brain function.
So, it stands to reason that something that wakes up your senses might also perk up your brain.
And according to a new study, if you want to save your precious memories, you'll want to open your eyes to one herb in particular.
I'm talking about spearmint!
You may know it as the flavoring in your favorite gum or toothpaste, but spearmint can do a lot more than just give you fresh breath. And that's especially true if you're a little on the older side.
In the study, researchers divided 90 older folks with age-related memory impairments into three groups. Each group took either a high dose of spearmint extract, a low dose of it, or a placebo.
Compared to those who took the placebo, those who took the higher dose (900 mg) of spearmint extract showed a 15 percent improvement in their memory scores. And all it took was three months!
More specifically, the spearmint improved their "working memory" (a.k.a. short-term memory), which is what you rely on when you want to remember, say, a phone number or a grocery list for a short period of time.
And if you've ever walked into a room and forgotten what you went in there for, you know that working memory can fade with age!
The theory is that spearmint can actually REVERSE oxidative damage to your brain tissue -- which is exactly what it did for mice in a previous study.
And the polyphenols (plant compounds) in spearmint have been shown to reduce not only inflammation but also your brain levels of an enzyme called "cholinesterase," which is implicated in dementia.
That means that as we "spring forward," spearmint may help turn the clock BACK on the aging of your brain.
As a bonus, compared to those in the placebo group, those who took the higher dose of spearmint extract also reported improvements in the ability to fall asleep.
So, why not add a hint of mint to your day?
Spearmint extract is widely available at health food stores and online.
You can also enjoy fresh (ideally organic) spearmint by brewing up a cup of spearmint tea... blending it with basil for a spring pesto... or adding some leaves to Asian soups and stir-fries.