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New research shows this everyday spice can boost memory *and* mood

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Photo: Stocksy/Nadine Greeff

Chances are, you already know that turmeric is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory spices out there. But it turns out it has even more super powers than you may realize. According to a new study, it can also give your memory and mood a boost.

The study was done with 40 people between the ages of 50 and 90 with mild memory problems. Half of the participants took 90 milligrams of curcumin, which is derived from turmeric, twice a day. The other half unknowingly took placebo capsules. Some of the participants also reported suffering from mild depression at the start of the experiment.

“Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression,” says Gary Small, MD, the director of geriatric psychiatry at UCLA’s Longevity Center and the study’s lead author. In other words, foods that are good for the brain often work as multitaskers, giving it a boost in more ways than one.

The paper points out that the areas in the brain responsible for memory (the amygdala and hypothalamus) also control mood.

The big takeaway—besides feeling extra good about hitting up your favorite Indian restaurant on the reg—is that nothing you eat exists in a vacuum, only targeting one aspect of health. Whether you’re putting sugar, kale, or turmeric-dusted sweet potatoes into your body, it’s bound to affect you in more ways than one.

Speaking of turmeric, here’s how much you need to take for it to actually work. Plus, other supplements used to treat depression.