If you want to have a boosted working memory and attention span, you might want to try the well-known spice, turmeric, according to a new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
The blessed ingredient in turmeric is a bright yellow compound called curcumin that has been shown to demonstrate the beneficial effects. These are restricted to older adults though, since that was the age group to participate in the study.
Curcumin is known in the world of traditional and contemporary medicine for its salubrious effects. It has previously been demonstrated to be soothing to patients of pro-inflammatory ailments, from cancer to arthritis and ulcers. It has also been associated with wound healing and inhibiting traumatic memories. More interestingly, it has been studied with respect to Alzheimer’s disease.
The new study, though, is the first to analyse the effect of the compound on cognition and mood in healthy, older adults, claims lead author, Andrew Scholey, from Swinburne University of Technology.
Scholey and his team worked with 60 participants falling in the 60-to-85-years-old age group. Some volunteers were given capsules consisting of a solid lipid curcumin formulation while the rest were given a placebo. They were then made to complete a series of mental tasks like recalling words and pictures, simple subtraction as well as exercises testing their reaction time. The results showed that the first group had better performances at those tasks requiring working memory and alertness; they also claimed to be less tired, and feeling more calm and content, with reduced stress.
Furthermore, the researchers found a link between curcumin and decreased total cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
The next step to be taken by the team will be to examine the effects of the compound using neuroimaging and genetic markers.