Friday, March 30, 2012

Eat Tumeric (Curry) for a Healthy Brain

There were two articles from the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM) over the last two months on the benefits of tumeric (curcumin, or curry) for a healthy brain. I have been preaching the benefits of curcumin for a while now, for its actions as a COX-2 inhibitor (reduces inflammation and pain), anti-cancer benefits (has been found to cause apoptosis in some forms of cancer), for cholesterol and glucose control, and most recently there have been several studies of curcumin for preventing Alzheimer's Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Improve Your Brain Health: Eat Curry

I have to admit, I didn’t grow up eating curry. It just wasn’t a mainstay in the New England diet, and my parents still aren’t much into trying new foods.

And while this follows the whole “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks” thinking, anyone who doesn’t at least try curry, or more importantly, turmeric, is possibly missing out on some pretty spectacular health benefits.

Turmeric is a spice used in various dishes in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The reason that turmeric is so important is the derived chemical, curcumin. Curry can improve brain health Curcumin has been implicated in numerous studies as a booster of brain health.

In a recent study in the journal PLoS ONE, investigators led by Ina Caesar from Link√∂ping University in Sweden looked at how curcumin affected transgenic fruit flies which developed Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) symptoms.

(If you’re wondering why we would care about fruit fly studies, fruit flies are increasingly used for research into neurodegenerative diseases like AD.)

The flies that received the curcumin lived up to 75% longer and maintained their mobility longer than the sick flies that did not receive the substance.

However, it should be noted that there was no decrease of amyloid in the brain or eyes (that’s the plaque normally associated with Alzheimer’s Disease).

So while curcumin didn’t dissolve amyloid plaque, the researchers still found that it reduced neurodegeneration.

Diet is just one way of influencing neuroplasticity – or the brain’s ability to rewire itself.
Would you like to learn more about the possibilities of neuroplasticity?

We are offering a Free Report featuring Norman Doidge, MD, where he talks about:
  • How to use the brain’s potential to change to achieve better patient outcomes

  • A closer look at how neuroplasticity is changing real peoples’ lives – a case study

  • How to rewire the brain to bring healing to patients with depression, PTSD, and chronic pain

  • The paradox of plasticity – what every practitioner needs to know about the “dark side” of neuroplasticity
You can find more right here.

What are your favorite health promoting strategies for the brain? Please leave a comment below.

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Turmeric for a Healthy Brain: Part II

Have you had your turmeric yet this week?

In a recent post, I talked about the neuroplastic possibilities of curcumin (a brain-boosting chemical in turmeric) for slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Did that convince you to start eating it? If not, consider this my second attempt.
Spice Display
Slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease isn’t the only benefit from eating turmeric.
We were curious and so did a PubMed search. We came across so many other important studies on curcumin that we had to share some of them with you.

Let’s start with some more brain benefits.

A randomized, controlled study published in the journal PLoS ONE looked at the neurogenetic potential of prolonged curcumin use.

Neurogenesis is the process by which neurons are created in the brain, including in the hippocampus (one of the centers of neural learning).

Researchers led by Z. Zhao out of the Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, Shanghai, China looked at performance and brain growth in rats after 6 and 12 weeks on a curcumin-fortified diet.

(I hope those sweet rats got something tasty.)

The result?

Curcumin enhanced memory (both spatial and non-spatial), as well as hippocampal cell growth compared to rats in the control group.

But in addition to brain health, curcumin has been linked to:
  • The slowing of prostate tumor growth (S. A. Shah et al. Cancer Research, 2012)
  • Prevention and treatment of tendinitis (C. Buhrmann et al. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2011)
  • Increasing the effectiveness of drugs used to fight colon, neck and head cancers (I. Aroch et al. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 2010 and W. M. Abuzeid et al. Archives of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 2011)
Want to find out what else is good for the brain?

We have invited nine neuroscience experts to be a part of the New Brain Science 2012 series.

We’ll discuss not just new findings in neuroscience, but even more importantly, how to apply these findings for peak brain health.

It’s free to listen at the time of initial broadcast, you just have to sign up.

What have you recommended to your patients in order to change their brains? Please leave a comment below. And if you’ve got a recipe that includes turmeric, let us all know here.
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