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Curry Spice Turmeric May Explain Low Occurence of Alzheimer's in India?

Teaspoon of Tumeric

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Curcumin, a naturally occuring phytochemical in Tumeric, the earthy spice that gives Curry its intense yellow color, may prevent, slow, even reverse, the build up of neural plaque which is implicated in Alzheimer's Disease.

The World Health Organization's regional forum article, Alzheimer’s Disease: Of Emerging Importance , points out a much lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease in India.

Studies in Indian villages, where curried food is a staple, found a less than 1% incidence of Alzheimer's in people over 65 years of age. Turmeric, a main ingredient in curry, contains curcumin, a bioactive phytochemical that some researchers believe may, at least in part, explain why Alzheimer's is so uncommon in India compared to Western countries, where millions upon millions of baby boomers (an estimated 78 million soon-to-be-seniors in the U.S. alone) are now beginning to reach retirement.

Alzheimer's affects more than 4 million Americans and many more millions worldwide. It is most prevalent among the elderly, see chart. The prevalence of Alzheimer's among adults ages 70-79 in India, however, is 4.4 times less than the rate in the United States.

A joint UCLA-Veteran's Affairs study concludes that "in view of its (curcumin's) efficacy and apparent low toxicity, this Indian spice component shows promise for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease."

"Curcumin has been used for thousands of years as a safe anti-inflammatory in a variety of ailments as part of Indian traditional medicine," said Gregor Cole, the lead UCLA researcher, as quoted by News-Medical.Net. "What we really need, however, are clinical trials to establish safe and effective doses in aging patients," said Cole.

Tumeric, No Stranger To America

Hot Dogs w/Yellow MustardThat squeeze bottle of bright yellow mustard on the lunch counter, that jar of Piccalilli or Chow-Chow Relish at the back of the refrigerator -- all contain tumeric.

As a culinary spice, tumeric not only imparts a rich yellow color, but a characteristic earthy flavor with dill-like undertones.

Often called "poor man's saffron" because of it's yellow coloring potency, turmeric is an ingredient in many off-the-shelf products. And, of course, is a major component in curry, the spice blend that predominates in the cuisines of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kashmir, and even Jamaica, and which can be readily found in ethnic restaurants in cities around the world.

sauerkrautCombine your hot dog & mustard with sauerkraut and you have a tasty meal that may even protect you against the looming flu pandemic. Check out this breaking news on Sauerkrat & Bird Flu, and read how the Korean sauerkraut-like delicacy Kimchi is credited with "curing" chickens infected with bird flu. Now, I like sauerkraut, but I'm not exactly running out and buying barrels of it -- though as you'll see in the article, many people are. But hey, a little couldn't hoit, right?

Available as Curcumin Capsules, Curcumin Pills, and Curcumin Standardized Extract Supplements

With turmeric readily available, and the enormous upside health benefit* potential, it may well be worth your while to introduce more curcumin into your diet -- be it in mustard, other condiments, curries, or a standardized curcumin extract supplement such as curcumin capsules, pills, or supplements.

Further Curry, Tumeric, Curcumin, and Alzheimer's Disase Research References

  1. Abstract: NSAID and Antioxidant Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease: Lessons from In Vitro and Animal Models -- In contrast to conventional NSAID/antioxidants such as ibuprofen, omega-3 fatty acid DHA, and Vitamin E, the unconventional NSAID/antioxidant curcumin was effective, lowering oxidative damage, cognitive deficits, synaptic marker loss, and amyloid deposition in cell culture and animal models for Alzheimer's Disease.
  2. Abstract: Suppression of the nuclear factor-kappaB activation pathway by spice-derived phytochemicals: reasoning for seasoning -- Extensive research in the last few years has shown that the pathway that activates this transcription factor can be interrupted by phytochemicals derived from spices such as turmeric (curcumin), red pepper (capsaicin), cloves (eugenol), ginger (gingerol), cumin, anise, and fennel (anethol), basil and rosemary (ursolic acid), garlic (diallyl sulfide, S-allylmercaptocysteine, ajoene), and pomegranate (ellagic acid).

* Some interesting and hopeful statistics were offered at the World Alzheimer’s Conference - 2000 held in WashingtonDC, USA. It was said that the rate of occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years for those between 65-85 years of age but if its onset were delayed by five years, the number of cases worldwide would be halved. Thus serious attention needs to be paid to the risk factors and preventive measures that may be taken to postpone the onset, if not prevent the appearance, of Alzheimer’s disease. Epidemiological data already suggests that certain communities in Asia and Africa may have a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease compared to western countries. Researchers in India have suggested a gene-environment interaction in the causation of Alzheimer’s disease. Although genes cannot be altered, the environmental risk factors which interact with the genetic factors can possibly be modified, thereby reducing the risk. This promising concept must be pursued, as it affords a ray of hope for the future.

For more about tumeric,curcumin, and curry visit montefin's FoodFacts glossary

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montefin.com is an information, education, and meal preparation resource. Always consult a physician for specific applicability of any dietary regimen or information to your health, medical conditions, and therapies.

Free Recipes with Turmeric

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Also, for a great selection of general recipes do visit Top 100 Recipe Sites .

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