“Curry” is the collective term for a variety of stews popular in India. Most people either love it or hate it. If you’re one of the people who loves it, there is good news for you. If you’re one of the people who hates it, you may want to give it a second chance!
While there is no particular spice that is always used in curry, the most well-known one is turmeric. Turmeric is a bright yellow powder ground from a root native to Southeast Asia. Turmeric is known for being the spice that gives curry its rich, earthly flavor. It is also a rich source of the powerful polyphenol antioxidant called curcumin.
Curcumin has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, and is believed to be the reason India has an unusually low rate of Alzheimer’s disease. It has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects and is now the subject of research for its ability to protect against cell mutation, limit stroke damage in neurons and generally protect the brain.
Recently, scientists at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA created a synthetic form of curcumin and found it actually reversed the effects of ischemic stroke and traumatic brain injury at the behavioral as well as molecular level in animals. The researchers report that it maintains the cell-signaling pathways required for nerve survival and even reverses movement and memory deficits following brain injury. In normal animals, it enhances memory.