Small Card, Big Benefits. Make the most of your AARP membership all season long. Learn how

A Well-Seasoned Mind

New scientific research shows these spices are good for your brain


— Amana/Getty Images


In India, where people eat curry almost every day, the Alzheimer's disease rate is one-fourth the U.S. rate. Now researchers think they may know why. A University of California, Los Angeles study in mice showed that curcumin — the active ingredient in turmeric, which gives curry that distinctive yellow color — broke up brain plaques of amyloid beta, the abnormal protein buildup that is a hallmark of Alzheimer's.

Healthy way to dish it up:
For a brain-boosting chicken salad, toss 2 teaspoons curry powder with 2 cups cubed chicken. Sauté in olive oil until cooked, then cool. Add raisins, diced apples, chopped almonds, chopped celery, and low-fat yogurt, to taste.

Next: Boost your mood. >>>


— Michael Grayson/Getty Images


Got a case of the blues? Before popping an anti-depressant, try eating more of this pungent herb. A 2007 University of Tehran study discovered that a twice-daily dose of saffron works as well as Prozac in treating mild to moderate depression.

Healthy way to dish it up:
Add 1/2 teaspoon saffron to the water while cooking 2 cups rice.

Next: Stave off migraines. >>>


— Paul Taylor/Getty Images


A recent study found that more than 80 percent of migraine-prone patients with mild headaches who were treated with a combination of ginger and the herb feverfew staved off migraines. After two hours, 48 percent were pain free; for another 34 percent, the pain stayed mild. "If a headache doesn't go to full-blown migraine, that's success," says Roger Cady, M.D., study author and director of the Headache Care Center in Springfield, Missouri.

Healthy way to dish it up:
Stir 3 teaspoons grated ginger into 1 cup boiling water; steep for 10 minutes, strain, and drink.

Next: Fight cancer with cloves. >>>


— Chris Everard/Getty Images


Long touted for its heart-healthy benefits, garlic may also fight brain cancer. A 2007 study in the journal Cancer noted that garlic compounds eliminated brain-cancer cells, leading some experts to predict that garlic-based treatments for brain cancer aren't far behind.

Healthy way to dish it up:
Mix 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 to 2 cloves fresh garlic with tomatoes and basil for a cancer-fighting marinara.

Next: Increase your concentration. >>>


— Michael Rosenfeld/Getty Images


If you want to react faster during your next tennis game, chew cinnamon gum. Doing so, a recent study found, speeds the rate at which your brain processes visual cues. One reason the gum may help: cinnamon regulates blood-sugar levels, and this helps you stay focused.

Healthy way to dish it up:
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon cinnamon on oatmeal for a brain-healthy breakfast.

Next: Check out these brain-healthy recipes. >>>

These 10 recipes include brain-boosting spices that can improve memory, fend off migraines and help you stay focused.

        A blended drink for fall or winter

        A creamy dessert with simple flavors

        Fresh ingredients make this dish delicious

        Spicy vegetables make a punchy side dish

        A new take on this summer veggie

        An inexpensive side dish with lots of flavor

        A light but robust main course

        A colorful pasta with rich, smoky flavors

        An ideal winter meal

        An easy-to-make, rustic dish

Join the Discussion

0 | Add Yours

Please leave your comment below.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.

AARP Membership

Discounts & Benefits

    Next Article

    Read This