In doing some research for an upcoming article on men's health, we found a study that shows a strong connection between curcumin, or turmeric, and a reduced risk for Alzheimer's. We've known that turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, but we didn't know that it could also reduce inflammation in the brain, thought to be a precursor to the brain plaques that lead to dementia and Alzheimer's.
The 2008 review, published in the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, covered studies that have researched turmeric's effects on various diseases. According to the study, "Curcumin holds a high place in Ayurvedic medicine as a 'cleanser of the body,' and today, science is finding a growing list of diseased conditions that can be healed by the active ingredients of turmeric."
The review showed a strong correlation between populations whose diets include significant amounts of turmeric (e.g. curry, of which turmeric is an important component, in India) and a lower instance of Alzheimer's. While there is still research to be done about how turmeric affects the brain, it's clear that it has strong potential for treatment of dementia, even after the disease has developed.
The long and short: Supplementation and dietary sources of turmeric can be a great way to improve your brain's long-term health. So keep eating that curry!