One spice beats pain, helps the brain

Curcumin is a disease-fighting superstar

What is it about when I don’t eat Indian food. It smells like death, and they simmer that stuff all day long — a slow torture that robs meat and vegetables of all their nutrients.

But there’s one secret in their sauce you’ll want to share — because a common Indian spice just so happens to contain one of the world’s most powerful disease-fighting anti-inflammatory compounds: curcumin.

It’s so good it almost sounds like an old snake oil pitch: “It heals your pain! It saves your eyes! It keeps your mind sharp! It can protect your heart! Hurry, hurry, hurry ladies and geee-entlemen, because this miracle cure can even keep the cancer away!”

But what if it’s all true?

Let me start with that pain relief, because I know from your letters and emails how many of you are fighting daily battles with your joints.

Researchers gave 100 osteoarthritis patients either NSAIDs or NSAIDs along with a supplement that had 200 milligrams of curcumin at its heart.

The patients who got only the meds had no improvement… while those who got the curry pills not only had less pain and better mobility, they also managed to slash their NSAID use.

The researchers believe curcumin might even replace the drugs completely for many osteoarthritis patients, according to the new study in Alternative Medicine Review.

But since other studies have found that curcumin by itself can beat other forms of pain, including rheumatoid, I don’t know why anyone would even mess around with NSAIDs in the first place.

So far so good — but that’s only the beginning, because this stuff could also explain why India has such a low rate of Alzheimer’s disease.

One of the hallmarks of the condition is the formation of amyloid beta plaques in the brain, but one study found that curcumin is like a plaque-seeking missile — hunting the plaques, binding to them… and stopping them cold.

I’m running out of room here, but I’m not done — because other recent studies have found that curcumin may prevent cataracts, fight tumors, aid stroke recovery and even lower your risk of obesity (let’s not get too carried away with that last one — all the turmeric in Asia won’t save your belly from a carb-loaded lifestyle).

Usually, I’d say get your nutrition from food. But since I don’t like curcumin on my steak and eggs — blech! — I get mine from supplement.

You do the same, and you’ll even avoid that curry stink.

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