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Spices in curries spruce up aging minds

In an interesting study conducted at National University of Singapore recently by researchers, reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology//, November 1, 2006 edition, to study the tangible benefits of curries commonly used by Asian communities it was discovered that a regular consumption of meals which are accompanied by a helping of curries slow down the degenerative processes of the brain which is often indelibly associated with aging. Asian elders who have regular helpings of curries in different forms show better memory reasoning judgment thinking and speech on standard tests.

The beneficial element of curries has been traced to the yellow spice ‘turmeric’ which is well known as a powerful anti inflammatory and anti oxidant traditionally - a must have in every Indian home. Today it is scientifically proven that ‘Curcumin’ found in turmeric is indeed an effective anti-oxidant and anti inflammatory.

Earlier research done by scientists have proven the efficacy of anti inflammatory drugs to slow down the development of Alzheimer’s disease .However pharmaceutical preparations are often harmful for the stomach and liver so does not suit elderly people .Although Vitamin E has shown marked efficiency in laboratory studies in protecting nerve cells the basic functional unit of brain ,it has failed to show effectiveness in boosting cognitive functions such as thinking, reasoning, memory , judgment in people suffering from mild to moderate dementia. Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, have been shown to protect neurons in lab experiments but have had limited success in alleviating cognitive decline in patients with mild-to-moderate dementia.

In the study conducted by Dr. Tze-Pin Ng and his team three groups were studied to correlate the effect of intake of curries among three groups of elderly people between the ages of 60 and 93 of Asian origin, on mental prowess . 43% of the people who said they have helpings of curry regularly showed defini tely better cognitive responses tested under standardized guidelines than those who rarely include curries in their diet. It is noteworthy that elderly Indians who use turmeric in a wide variety of their cuisines are less prone to Alzheimer’s disease as compared to their western counterparts.

The researchers have concluded on the basis of their findings that the potential of Turmeric which is remarkably less toxic that most commercially prepared anti inflammatory drugs should not be overlooked in fighting the quietly invading Alzheimer’s disease which is crippling many of our older generation today.

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