Eating a curry once or twice a week could help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, a US researcher suggests.
The key ingredient is curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric. Curcumin appears to prevent the spread of amyloid protein plaques - thought to cause dementia - in the brain. But the theory, presented at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' annual meeting, has been given a lukewarm reception by UK experts.
Amyloid plaques, along with tangles of nerve fibres, are thought to contribute to the degradation of the wiring in brain cells, eventually leading to symptoms of dementia. Professor Murali Doraiswamy, of Duke University in North Carolina, said there was evidence that people who eat a curry meal two or three times a week have a lower risk of dementia.
He said researchers were testing the impact of higher doses - the equivalent of going on a curry spree for a week - to see if they could maximise the effect.