Turmeric, Curcumin and Cognitive Health

I hate to admit it, but we are all getting old. An inevitable part of life is aging and no, we don’t like it either. If we had it our way, we would stay in our 20s or 30s for the rest of our fun-filled lives, living wild and free, and remembering every single detail of our young and crazy nights (or not, depending on your definition of “crazy”). But as we age, we start to forget the details, some parts of our lives get fuzzy and we find ourselves walking into a room not knowing why we walked in there in the first place.

The decline of cognitive health is a natural part of aging. It happens to everyone. Unfortunately, it also goes along with many brutal mental illnesses. Science has shown that the more we learn the better chance we have at slowing down the progression of potential mental illnesses, like Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. Curcumin, a compound found in Turmeric (the primary spice in curry), has shown promising cognitive support due to its anti-inflammatory properties. There is one thing that many diseases and health problems have in common, oxidative stress caused by free radicals and inflammation2. Curcumin, our super little botanical compound, can help.

Recent studies are very promising for curcumin’s capacity for positive health changes. Not only is Curcumin a viable anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound, these studies reveal that it may be valuable in protecting the mind against natural cognitive decline and possible neurodegenerative diseases1. Many believe that the root to solving this problem is using nutrition to work with our bodies and not against them. So while the usual recommendations of crossword puzzles, Sudoku or other problem solving games are not harmful, they are no substitute for addressing memory loss, cultivating meaningful relationships and engaging in the world’s worthwhile activities2 as well as having proper nutrition.

For cognitive health, it is all too easy to procrastinate in taking care of your brain and preventing mental illnesses from occurring. You can only lose your sunglasses on your head so many times before you realize it’s time to take care of your noggin. If you’re younger and want to improve your thinking, memory and reaction time and help your brain resist potential illness, there is no better time than the present. If you’re in your 40s or 50s, and have begun experiencing some issues with memory retrieval or age-related short-term memory loss2, obviously, you should have started yesterday.

 

References:

1. Bryan, Derek. Curcumin And Cognition: Why Adding Turmeric To Your Diet May Help Keep You Sharp. March 2013.

2. Lemerond, Terry. BCM-95 curcumin: Natural hope for cognitive health. Nutracos. Sept/Oct 2012.

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