Curcumin—a bright orangeish chemical compound that’s found in turmeric and is integral to most curries and many other Asian foods (not to mention good old American mustard!) has already been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory. Now evidence is growing that it also stymies the destruction of brain neurons—meaning it may combat dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers in a year long study at Australia’s Edith Cowan University gave cognition tests to 96 middle-aged and elderly subjects, then sent half of them home with concentrated curcumin pills, and the other half with a placebo.
When all were retested just six months later, those who’d been taking the placebo showed a decline in verbal and memory skills—but the ones taking curcumin showed no such decline.
Though the study can’t be considered conclusive, it helps explain why many of India’s urban and rural populations have some of the lowest Alzheimer’s rates in the world.
The following are simple ways to integrate more curcumin into your diet:
Get 400 to 600mg of turmeric extract in tablets/capsules three times a day.
Cook With It
Curcumin is an unstable chemical, so store turmeric in darkness and add to an acid like lemon juice when cooking.
Marinate in It
A turmeric-garlic mix can cut carcinogens in grilled steak, the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii says.