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Want a better memory and a happier life? Eat more curry, study says

Want to improve your memory and live a happier life? Try adding more curry to your diet, a new report suggests. 

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Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles recently conducted an experiment, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, to determine how curcumin, the chemical substance that gives Indian curry its bright color, affects the brain. 

To do so, they examined 40 adults, aged 50 to 90, who had mild memory complaints. They were then split into two groups, where one received a placebo and the other got 90 milligrams of curcumin twice a day for 18 months. 

The subjects took standardized cognitive assessments at the start of the study and then every six months. Also, about 30 of the subjects underwent PET scans at random in order to measure their brain activity.

>> Related: Inability to smell peppermint linked to dementia, study says 

After analyzing the results, they found that those who had curcumin saw “significant improvements in their memory and attention abilities,” compared to those who had not had it, the report said. In fact, those who had the curcumin performed 28 percent better on the memory tests after 18 months.

While they are unsure why curcumin has this effect, they think “it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression,” co-author Gary Small, said in a statement. “These results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years.”

>> Related: This common cooking oil could be linked to dementia, study

Analysts also discovered that those who had curcumin reported being in a better mood. That’s why scientists want to further their investigations to find out if the chemical can help people with mild depression.

They also want to administer a larger study for people with varying ages and genetic makeup. 

>> Related: Study: Here's why marriage is linked to a lower risk of dementia

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