Neuroprotective Spices

Dietary neuroprotection describes the beneficial effects conferred to brain and central nervous tissue by food. Many foods have been shown to confer such neuroprotection and the way this occurs can be via multiple mechanisms, some of which are well reported. Spices are one group of foods that are known to confer neuroprotection and research has shown the neuroprotective effect of turmeric, red pepper, black pepper, liquorice, clove, ginger, garlic, coriander, and cinnamon. These spices are thought to be beneficial at protecting brain tissue because they can target inflammatory pathways and limit the damage caused by inflammatory cascades, perhaps through their antioxidant phytochemicals. The implications for this neuroprotective effect are that spices may be a group of foods that can prevent memory decline, mental illness and degenerative processes that are associated with ageing. Consuming these foods regularly as part of a healthy diet is therefore recommended.

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Kannappan, R., Gupta, S. C., Kim, J. H., Reuter, S. and Aggarwal, B. B. 2011. Neuroprotection by spice-derived nutraceuticals: you are what you eat!. Molecular neurobiology. 44(2): 142-159

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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