Abundant in medicinal properties, turmeric is one of the most health beneficial spices of today. Apart from its century-long use as a condiment in traditional Asian culinary practices, it has also long been used in holistic Chinese and Indian medicine as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent for numerous conditions including stomachache, flatulence, jaundice, menstrual cramps, blood in urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, and chest pain. But, its health benefits don’t stop here.
Namely, a new study by researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and several Taiwanese research institutes, published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that only one gram of turmeric a day can improve short-term memory function in those suffering from memory loss.
The study included adults over 60 diagnosed with pre-diabetes, a condition linked to memory loss. What the study looked into was the memory function of the subjects, who were not on any medical treatment during the trial. The participants were divided in two groups – both of which were given the same breakfast of white bread, supplemented with either 1g turmeric or a placebo. The working memory of the subjects was tested before and after breakfast.
The results showed that the turmeric group had improved working memory in the next 6 hours as opposed to the placebo group, which saw no improvements at all.
As conditions linked to memory loss, such as diabetes and dementia, are constantly on the rise, health experts advise that early treatment, turmeric treatment is also included, is of vital importance for reversing and preventing the symptoms of this debilitating condition, especially if you consider that our cognitive abilities, such as planning, problem solving and reasoning, critically depend on working memory.
The power of curcumin linked to a reduced risk of memory loss
A separate study carried out by researchers from Duke University also confirmed the link between turmeric and a reduced risk of dementia. In fact, the study found that curcumin, the active substance in turmeric, can effectively neutralize some of the effects of Alzheimer’s. This powerful ingredient attacked the amyloid plaques, which are the root cause of brain damage.
In the words of researcher Murali Doraiswamy, “There is very solid evidence that curcumin binds to plaques, and basic research on animals engineered to produce human amyloid plaques has shown benefits. You can modify a mouse so that at about 12 months its brain is riddled with plaques. If you feed this rat a curcumin-rich diet, it dissolves these plaques. The same diet prevented younger mice from forming new plaques.”
As emphasized by the researcher themselves, diet and exercise play a vital role in reversing and preventing the symptoms of dementia. Supplementing regularly with turmeric and doing regular exercise can effectively fight this debilitating condition.
The health benefits of turmeric are not limited to memory loss prevention. According to research, turmeric and curcumin, offer a wide array of other health benefits including cancer prevention and improving cancer treatment results. This spice also relieves arthritic symptoms, improves heart health and even reduces excess body fat.
Turmeric medicinal properties were also confirmed by a series of studies carried out by researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan in 2013. The results revealed that curcumin improved cardiovascular health much more than aerobic exercise did. However, the two combined together were most beneficial.
Note: It’s important to know that curcumin from the turmeric root or powder is better absorbed than curcumin from supplements.