Turmeric and Alzheimer's!

June 06, 2009

turmeric-india What if I told you one of nature’s most powerful healers and that you should use it in your daily diet?

Turmeric is not very popular in the western culture. But it does make its presence in some sauces (mustard) and curry powders which the western diet uses liberally on occasions. A British friend of mine told me that he makes a chicken curry which is a bright golden color, taking after a non-spicy version of an Indian chicken curry. Many of us keep away from turmeric in our western kitchen because it can stain our ivory white kitchen platforms and white cutting boards and taint our nails yellow. But is turmeric worth a sacrifice?

Turmeric is in fact a nature’s boon to man being anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous, antiseptic and antibacterial.  There is a long list of health benefits associated with turmeric out of which its ability to prevent Alzheimer’s has gained recent attention. Alzheimer’s is a very dangerous progressive brain disease which has already taken up the memory of more than a 5 million Americans. Remember Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan in the famous Indian English movie, Black? What is deadly about Alzheimer’s is that it is a common form of dementia without a cure. Plaque and tangles cause the brain cells to slowly start dying in a patient with Alzheimer’s and probably block the communication between the nerve cells. This results in the symptoms of dementia. And it is feared that around one million may develop dementia (mental deterioration) in the next decade.

Turmeric contains curcumin, a type of  polyphenol. According to researchers, curcumin has the ability to destroy the amyloid-beta, a nerotoxic protein molecule in plaque. The antioxidant property of turmeric will protect the body cells from damage caused by the oxidation of free radicals. Scientists believe that turmeric may be highly beneficial to prevent dementia because it can take a combined approach with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Applying turmeric all over the bride and the bridegroom on the eve of their marriage is customary in many parts of India. It is perhaps not just a custom to be laughed at. No wonder why India has the lowest rates of cancers and mental disorders among its high population. Yet, they maintain that an unhealthy lifestyle and an occasional diet rich of turmeric may not work any miracle. A balanced diet with regular physical activity and ¼ tsp of turmeric in your daily diet may help you to stay away from diseases.