Curry On Your Mind...


We wrote about the health benefits of turmeric in our earlier BrainReady Blog piece, "The Ultimate Anti-Aging Spice?", and now there's even more reason to choose that Indian restaurant instead of the steak house.

One of the compounds in turmeric (the yellow spice that gives Indian curry its yellow color), "may help stimulate immune system cells that gobble up the brain-clogging proteins that mark Alzheimer's disease", according to exciting new research by the University of California Los Angeles.

In fact, this isolated compound appears to, "stimulate a specific response against Alzheimer's symptoms", and the researchers believe it may be possible to infuse this compound into patients to actually treat the incurable and fatal brain condition, according to Dr. Milan Fiala of UCLA.

Curry as possible treatment for Alzheimer's and dementia? 

Who's getting hungry for Indian food?

But it's not just Alzheimer's, there's news on the cancer front as well: other related research showed that curcumin, an antioxidant found in turmeric, can help prevent tumors from forming in the laboratory and in rats.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Fiala's team said they had shown earlier that curcumin may affect the brain cells of Alzheimer's patients. But they wanted to pinpoint the precise factor in curcumin, which is a complex compound.

They isolated bisdemethoxycurcumin -- and determined it was the most active ingredient in curcumin.

Then, using blood samples from Alzheimer's patients, they found that bisdemethoxycurcumin boosted immune cells called macrophages to clear a protein called amyloid beta, which clogs the brains of Alzheimer's patients and kills brain cells. Macrophages are the immune cells that literally engulf and destroy deformed cells and attack invaders, like bacteria or viruses.

The researchers said it is not clear if people can eat enough curcumin to get this level of activity, but said bisdemethoxycurcumin was active at a level that could easily be achieved by infusion.

Infusion? Turmeric eaters/believers (like us here at BrainReady), give yourself a pat on the back.

The growing body of evidence is now so strong that companies are recently begun working to make an Alzheimer's vaccine that would stimulate the production of antibodies against amyloid beta. This approach would stimulate a different type of immune response and might be less likely to cause harmful side effects, like brain inflammation, the researchers said.

But whether your interest is Alzheimer's prevention, cancer prevention, anti-inflammatory effects, arthritis help, rich antioxidants sources or any of the other health properties that this incredible spice has been researched for, it's also one of the tastiest and most versatile (and easy to get) spices on the planet. 


Make it work for you: 

Here's a BrainReady tip for you regarding turmeric: one easy way to add it to your diet each day in sufficient amounts is to just buy pure turmeric powder at your local grocery store; preferably choose organic, non-irradiated 100% turmeric powder that is as fresh as possible, and then mix a spoonful with a small amount of water and drink it. 

Yes, it takes a bit of getting used to, but you'll be getting a far higher concentation of curcuminoids than you'd get from eating a regular curry dish, not to mention that trying to eat curries every day may become a tad challenging. We also like to add a few grinds of fresh black pepper to the curry-water concoction to make the taste more interesting while also adding some stomach-settling and digestion-friendliness to the mix. 

Another great way to consume turmeric is to just slice and eat the fresh root! If your local store carries it (and you'd be surprised...many do, just ask), the fresh root is an absolutely amazing-tasting vegetable...and feels like you're eating a spicy, hedonistic carrot. The taste and smell is different from the dry powder, and is a great way to finish a meal or spice up a salad. Just be careful with the raw version though, in the staining department: it STAINS! The orange color gets on your hands, and anything you touch, so wash your hands afterwards and don't drip the juice on your clothing unless you're an artist, as one of the many uses of turmeric over the centuries in India has been as a powerful dye/coloring for clothing!

Lastly, you could also take a high-quality turmeric supplement, such as this one we've tried from NSI

So, whichever way you choose to get it, there's now even more reason to check out turmeric again. With all of this mounting research and news, easy availability and low price, is there any excuse not to have curry on your mind next time you're choosing a restaurant?

- The BrainReady Team

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