dementiaNew research suggests that eating curry and other sharply spiced foods at least once a week might be an effective way to help stave off dementia. The senior care study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, identifies turmeric, an ingredient commonly used in a number of Indian curry dishes such as kormas to vindaloos, as being extremely beneficial to cognitive health. In fact, the trial conducted by Australian sciences indicates that eating foods with this spice in it once a week can help elderly individuals to stay sharper for longer.

Turmeric is a yellow spice that contains curcumin, a chemical compound thought to block beta amyloids, rogue proteins that clump together and destroy neurons.

The researchers at Edith Cowan University in Perth looked at 96 participants between the ages of 40 and 90 over the course of a year.

Some participants were administered a daily placebo while others were given pills that contained curcumin.

In verbal and memory skill tests, those taking the placebo pill actually suffered from a decline in mental function after only six months. Meanwhile, those who took the curcumin pills did not experience these symptoms of dementia.

When considering the fact that evidence exists that there is a lower prevalence of dementia and better cognitive function in countries where curry is frequently eaten, this study is indeed promising. Currently, the probability of becoming cognitively impaired after the age of 60 is as high as 68%. To boot, more than three-fourths of all assisted living residents suffer from either dementia or high blood pressure.

While researchers say that more trials are required before the study can be properly assessed, these findings may help home care specialists and individuals with genetic predilections towards developing dementia. While there is no known cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s, researchers are seeking all of the answers they can to make elder care as comprehensive as possible.