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Spearmint May Sharpen Your Brain in Later Years

A natural part of the aging process includes a lessening of mental acuity. A recent study suggests that taking a spearmint extract rich in polyphenols may improve reasoning, attention, and planning in older adults.

Participants in the study included 11 people with an average age of 58.7 and an average BMI of 27.4 kg/m2. They were given 900 mg of spearmint extract daily for 30 days. The researchers tested mental acuity at the onset and conclusion of the study.

At the conclusion of the study, reasoning scores increased from 24.7 to 33.4 and attention and concentration when from 18 to 40.5. Additionally, the participants showed improvement in attention and concentration within two hours after supplementation on the first day of the trial.

There were no gastrointestinal side effects reported.

Researchers from Biofortis conducted the pilot study. It was presented at the Experimental Biology conference on April 26-30, 2014, in San Diego.

The researchers credit these positive brain health effects to the high polyphenol count of spearmint. Previous studies have linked polyphenol intake with a variety of health benefits, including helping with weight management, fighting certain cancers, and reducing inflammation. Polyphenols can be found naturally in many foods, including honey, a variety of fruits and vegetables, red wine, chocolate, tea, certain oils and many types of grain.

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