Eating a portion of curry once a week may reduce your risk of developing dementia, new research suggests.
The study, conducted by scientists at Edith Cowan University in Australia, looked at the impact the chemical curcumin has on the brain.
Curcumin is found in the popular spice turmeric, that is used in many Indian curry dishes.
The researchers found curcumin has the potential to improve memory function for adults by blocking proteins that destroy neurones in the brain.
During the study, a group of 96 participants aged between 40 and 90 were split into two groups.
The first group were given a daily placebo pill while the second were prescribed a pill containing 1,500mg of curcumin.
Just six months into the 12-month study, the participants receiving the placebo pill displayed evidence of cognitive decline when completing verbal and memory tests.
In contrast, the group who'd been taking the curcumin-based supplement did not appear to show any change in brain function.
Commenting on the study, Laura Phipps, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said more research is needed before we can accurately say the chemical may help in fighting dementia.
"While there has been some early-stage research into the effects of curcumin on brain health, there is currently no conclusive evidence it could prevent or treat dementia in people," she told The Telegraph.
“Some studies have produced limited evidence that very high doses of curcumin – much higher than might be normally found in foods like curry – could have some impact on memory and thinking skills, but large-scale clinical trials will be required before researchers can fully assess any potential benefits."
She added that the best current evidence suggests that not smoking, staying mentally and physically active, eating a balanced diet and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check can all help maintain a healthy brain.
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