India has a population that has a low occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers and nutritionists believe this is because of the healing benefits of curry. In Indian cooking, “curry” is a word that simply means “sauce.” Curry is made up of a combination of spices, the main ingredient of which is usually the yellow spice, turmeric. And turmeric contains something called “curcumin.” Curcumin has well-known medicinal properties. It has been hailed as a champion for its ability to protect the brain. By exerting a protective effect, curcumin could help shield against mental decline and memory loss.
It turns out that curcumin is able to inhibit the formation of amyloid beta plaques that form in the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s. In one study, researchers at the University of Pratas, Greece, were able to show that curcumin targets amyloid beta plaques and interferes with their formation. Curcumin binds to the plaques and immobilizes their spread to other parts of the brain.
Not only could curcumin help to protect your memory and thinking skills, it could also help to manage pain. It seems curcumin is able to inhibit the activity of the COX-2 protein that plays a role in transmitting pain signals. Many high-priced drugs claim to do the same thing, but with a lot of potential side effects. Turmeric has another role to play in pain-reduction. Because it is a part of the ginger family, turmeric may be able to stop the production of prostaglandins, which are inflammatory chemicals, in the body. Some physicians actually prescribe turmeric to patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
Now two more benefits of adding turmeric to your diet: the spice could help to regulate your metabolism and control weight gain or weight loss, respectively. And, secondly, turmeric plays a role in the digestion of high-protein meals and, for this reason, it makes an excellent addition to beef and chicken entrees.
Besides turmeric, curry can contain coriander, chilies, cumin, mustard, ginger, fenugreek, garlic, cloves, and salt. Use curry in soups, stir-fry dishes, omelets, or any meat dish, and to spice up your favorite pasta entree. If you are concerned about your salt intake, there are some salt-free curry powders available at specialty food shops. For a milder flavor, sprinkle a small amount of curry powder on meals after they have been prepared.