Sprinkling just one gram of turmeric on your breakfast could improve memory for those at risk of cognitive impairment, according to a new study from the Monash Asia Institute at Monash University in Australia.
Those in the early stages of diabetes, which is connected to dementia, could benefit in particular, according to study leader Mark Wahlqvist, Emeritus Professor, who says early intervention could either halt the disease or reduce its impact.
In the placebo-controlled study, 48 male and female participants were given one gram of turmeric with white bread for breakfast and their memory was tested before and after the meal.
Participants were over 60 years of age and all had newly recognized, untreated diabetes. The control group was given two grams of cinnamon on their white bread.
"We found that this modest addition to breakfast improved working memory over six hours in older people with pre-diabetes," says Wahlqvist.
No changes were observed in participants who had received cinnamon instead of turmeric.
Turmeric is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine. Its distinguishing yellow color comes from curcumin, which accounts for three to 6% of turmeric, and studies have suggested curcumin reduces the risk of dementia.
"Our findings with turmeric are consistent with these observations, insofar as they appear to influence cognitive function where there is disordered energy metabolism and insulin resistance," says Wahlqvist.
The study was published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.