Here’s How to Flavor Your Foods with Brain-Smart Herbs and Spices
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Parris Kidd

It’s easy to forget that herbs and spices aren’t just flavor enhancers for food, but promoters of good health too.

These plant-derived seasonings have a long history of medicinal applications that you can use in your cooking.

Here are some of the most powerful, brain-smart herbs and spices, along with a few of their benefits.

Flavor Your Foods with These Brain-Smart Herbs and Spices!

Brain-Smart Herbs


This herb is loaded with potent antioxidants that can improve blood flow to the brain, which is essential for good cognitive function.


This bulbous herb has a particularly unique array of sulfur antioxidants. Eating garlic promotes healthy blood flow and overall brain function.

Regular consumption of garlic can help boost the immune system’s ability to ward off colds and flus. Garlic also can help keep blood sugar manageable along with cholesterol levels.


The lineup of nutrients in this sweet-flavored herb is impressive – vitamin C, vitamin A, as well as the vitamin-like nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which are essential for vision and may also be important for a healthy brain. Marjoram also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.


The scent of peppermint can help improve memory and focus, and its oil can soothe digestive issues. Recent clinical research reported that certain substances in peppermint enhanced cognition.


A potent antioxidant herb, oregano helps protect brain and body cells from free radicals that can cause premature aging. It may also ease migraine headaches.


Rosemary is a well-known herb that has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It promotes healthy circulation and digestion, and helps protect the brain’s cognitive functions.


This herb has been extensively researched and found to help boost mood and alleviate occasional anxiousness. Recent clinical research suggests saffron may also help improve memory and learning.


Sage contains substances that inhibit an enzyme which breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps improve memory. In this way sage can help the aging brain and body conserve acetylcholine nerve pathways, which are crucial for numerous bodily functions.


This herb is densely packed with polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals which contribute to brain health.

Brain-Smart Spices

Brain-smart Herbs and Spices 2 Black Pepper

This spice enhances absorption of cognitive-supporting compounds such as curcumin (a group of 3 powerful antioxidants). It also may aid with digestion.

Cayenne Pepper

The bold taste in cayenne is created by capsaicin, a well-known pain reliever. Capsaicin supports healthy blood flow to tissues by stimulating the release of nitric oxide, which helps your blood vessels expand. This allows for greater blood flow and increased energy in the brain and body.

Cayenne pepper may also stimulate metabolism, but too much of it may elevate blood pressure. Be sure to moderate your intake if you suffer from hypertension.


This sweet/savory spice has been in use for over 4000 years. It supports healthy management of cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose. Cinnamon provides a treasure trove of health benefits including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, modulating effects on cholesterol levels, and promoting healthy blood flow and blood pressure.


This fragrant super-antioxidant spice has had many medicinal roles over the centuries, from soothing upset stomach and tooth pain (clove oil) to relieving diarrhea and acting as an expectorant. It also contains eugenol, a potent anti-inflammatory. Cloves can help support healthy blood flow, which is crucial for the healthy function of the brain and body.


The phytonutrients in coriander may help control blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels. It’s rich in manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin K.


Deriving from the turmeric root, curcumin is a mixture of 3 gold colored polyphenol substances that are used in curries. Curcumin has been extensively researched for its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It also helps promote working memory, calmness, and satisfaction in coping with mental strain.

Curcumin concentrates are proven to be well absorbed and have been found beneficial for mood, circulatory, vision, joint, liver, skin and prostate health.


This aromatic spice gives foods a delightful flavor. Traditionally, it’s been used for occasional anxiousness, against diarrhea, and for antibacterial control especially in tooth decay.

NOTE: Avoid use of higher amounts of nutmeg (120 milligrams or more).

Spice Up Your Life

These are just some of the many brain-smart herbs and spices that can support your brain and body health. To boost your mood, memory, and overall mental clarity, start adding these herbs and spices to your diet.

For some of these herbs and spices, more doesn’t necessarily mean better. For instance, using too much nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne, and garlic can cause stomach discomfort.

You can introduce them one at a time or pick up all of them during your next visit to the grocery store.

Try them out and feel free to share your “spiced up” recipes with your friends and family.

At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.


Keith Rowe