Most Indian dishes have turmeric powder in them. It is one of the most commonly used ingredients in Indian cooking. However, it is used in very little quantity. Also, many brands of turmeric powder are not organic and may even contain additives. Turmeric has a number of health benefits but is the turmeric we use in our food enough for us to avail of all its health benefits? Here is what Psychiatrist Dr Sagar Karia says.

One of the many powerful health benefits of turmeric is that it has the ability to fight and slow down cognitive decline. Age is an important factor in many neurological conditions. Cognitive weakening as one ages has emerged as a growing health concern among people. Dementia is one of the many conditions that can affect the elderly. Other ailments such as diabetes and heart disease that are common in older adults can also weaken the cognitive function. Also, medications, vision problems, weak hearing, sleep deprivation and depression have a negative impact on the brain’s functioning. Age-related cognitive deterioration brings down the quality of life and increases the cost of living for the affected individuals and their families.

Dr Sagar says, “A person suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which leads to a decline in cognitive abilities including thinking skill and memories is at an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies have shown that the intake 400mg of Curcumin can improve memory and mood in older adults including those afflicted with these health conditions. The food we eat contains turmeric but it is not in sufficient quantity and one can take tablets containing 400mg after consultation with their doctors.

For ages, turmeric (haldi) has been recognised and used in India both as a spice and a medicinal herb. Studies have shown that curcumin is an antioxidant that can protect our cells against damages caused by free radicals. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Curcumin is responsible for turmeric’s bright gold colour and most of its impressive health benefits. It stands out as a brain protector. Curcumin can lift one’s mood, control stress and anxiety, and also protect against ageing and neurodegenerative diseases.

A specific hormone called BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) is a critical growth hormone that operates in the brain. Certain brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, have been linked to reduced levels of BDNF. Curcumin has the property to increase levels of BDNF, thereby supporting improved cognitive function. As a strong antioxidant that protects brain cells from free radical damage, curcumin nourishes and protects the brain in several ways.