Curcumin is in the Spice that makes classic Indian Curry dishes bright yellow. It’s also, apparently, a good thing to eat to improve memory and mood in people with mild, age-related memory loss. Researchers at the University of California say they have proof of results, but aren’t sure how the stuff works…
Dr. Gary Small, Director of Geriatric Psychiatry at UCLA’s Longevity Center and of the Geriatric Psychiatry Division at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, is the lead author of a report in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry that shows daily consumption of even relatively small amounts of the substance can help ward off memory loss and elevate mood in older folks.
The clinical study examined the effects of an easily absorbed curcumin supplement on memory performance in people without dementia, as well as curcumin’s potential impact on the microscopic plaques and tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression,” Small told reporters.
Found in Turmeric, Curcumin has previously been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in lab studies. It also has been suggested as a possible reason that senior citizens in India, where Curcumin is a dietary staple, have a lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and better cognitive performance.
In fact, Small’s team showed, in their study, that memory in older subjects improved as much as 28 per cent over a year and a half.
Eat more Indian Food! Or, at least, take a daily Turmeric/Curcumin supplement to stay sharp and happy as you age. Seems simple? Well, the best things often are!
~ Maggie J.