Would you like to improve your brain health just by eating? Try putting turmeric in your food and you just might!
And even more amazing to consider: Could turmeric actually be a treatment for dementia?
Of course, that sounds too wonderful to ever be true. But the evidence is mounting that one of the health benefits of turmeric is that it protects your brain from the onslaught of Alzheimer’s disease. In some documented cases, it has reversed signs of dementia.
What we do know for sure is that there is a significantly lower rate of Alzheimer’s disease among Asian populations that have diets high in turmeric. Although it’s too early to know the reason for this, it is leading researchers to investigate the connection between brain health and turmeric.
Turmeric is native to southeast India and is a member of the ginger family. The root of the turmeric plant is used as a spice and medicine, either fresh or dried and ground into a powder. Curcuminoids are the chemical components in turmeric that give it its yellow color. And it turns out that curcumin is a fairly powerful anti-inflammatory agent – rivaling even some of the commonly used pharmaceuticals.
So what makes fighting inflammation important? One of the primary indicators of Alzheimer’s disease is chronic inflammation in the brain. Curcumin has been shown to lower inflammation levels and is the natural element in turmeric. As a result of the curcumin, turmeric contains powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and prevent damage to the brain – not only in Alzheimer’s disease but also other brain diseases like Parkinson’s. With the research that is available today, it seems like harnessing the power of turmeric is worth a try.
So how do you add turmeric to your daily diet? The first thing that’s important to know is that turmeric is not soluble in water, only in fats and oils. So it’s best to combine turmeric with healthy oils like coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. One way is to add a half teaspoon of turmeric powder to your vegetables before roasting or baking them – along with a little olive oil and black pepper. (Black pepper seeds increase absorption by as much as 2000 percent.) Turmeric is also a very common ingredient in Indian food – think curry.
But one of our favorite ways is to have a nice warm cup of “Golden Milk.” It can substitute as a dessert and is full of healthy ingredients. Jim absolutely loves Golden Milk, and it will be a great comfort food for both of us in the fall and winter. Below you’ll find the recipe. It was introduced to us by my sister-in-law Jane, who is a health fanatic herself and always up on the latest.
In a world that offers little hope for dementia patients, this is an encouraging development. The cost of turmeric is about 15 cents a dose, so what do you have to lose? Not much! And what do you have to gain? That’s an interesting question and one Jim and I will try to get more information about as the cold weather arrives. So go ahead and drink up!
Jane’s Golden Milk
Turmeric Paste (1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup turmeric powder – stir gently over heat 7-10 minute & let thicken a minute)
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (canned milk makes a creamier drink)
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp to 1 tbsp turmeric paste
1 tsp chopped ginger, or grated clove – add to cup boiling water (shortcut: organic ginger tea in only ½ cup water and reduce down to ¼ cup)
4-6 crushed peppercorns
Pinch of Stevia
Combine all ingredients, then simmer 10 minutes. Strain into mugs and enjoy!
Makes about 2 servings
Note: We use organic spices.