Adding just one gram of turmeric to one’s breakfast could help improve the memory of people who are in the early stages of diabetes and at risk of developing cognitive impairment or memory loss,, a study indicates.
For the study, professor Mark Wahlqvist from the Monash Asia Institute at the Melbourne-based Monash University tested the working memory of men and women, aged 60 or more, who had recently been diagnosed with untreated pre-diabetes in Taiwan.
Working memory is widely thought to be one of the most important mental faculties, critical for cognitive abilities such as planning, problem solving and reasoning.
In the placebo-controlled study, subjects were given one gram of turmeric with an otherwise nutritionally bland breakfast of white bread. Their working memory was tested before and some hours after the meal.
“We found that this modest addition of turmeric to breakfast improved working memory over six hours in older people with pre-diabetes,” professor Wahlqvist added.
Turmeric’s characteristic yellow colour is due to curcumin which accounts for three to six percent of turmeric and has been shown by experimental studies to reduce the risk of dementia.
“Our findings with turmeric are consistent with earlier observations as they appear to influence cognitive function where there is disordered energy metabolism and insulin resistance,” Wahlqvist said.
The study was published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.