Sun damage, fine lines, and wrinkles aside, our main priority when it comes to aging is maintaining a healthy lifestyle—one that's centered around wellness for our bodies and minds. That's why we're sure to stock up on brain-boosting foods and research wellness practices, whether that's something traditional and ancient in origin, like acupuncture or pretty much brand-new like sensory deprivation therapy.
Much of it, as we all know, comes down to your diet. Eating well is the key to aging well, right? Well, according to The Independent, a new study found that a certain food, more specifically a spice, can help boost mood and memory. We're talking about turmeric, the vivid orange spice traditionally associated with Indian cuisine.
For the study, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, enrolled 40 participants between 40 and 90 years old. Each of these participants had mild memory complaints—saying their memory was declining with age. Half were given 90 milligrams of curcumin (turmeric's main anti-inflammatory ingredient) while the other half were given a placebo. They ingested either the curcumin or the placebo twice daily for 18 months.
After cognitive assessments, PET scans, and blood tests, the results were clear. The participants who took the curcumin saw significant improvements in their memory and mood. In fact, in memory tests, the people who took curcumin improved their score by 28% over 18 months. "Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer's disease and major depression,” said Gary Small, director of geriatric psychiatry at UCLA's Longevity Center and the study's author.
There you have it. Maybe switching out our daily espresso for a turmeric latte could improve our memory and mood over time. And hey, every little wellness boost counts.