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Satisfying your hot and spicy food cravings may help your brain. People who ate curry occasionally to very often did better on the Mini-Mental State Examination, an Alzheimer's screening test, than those who avoided it, according to a new study of more than 1,000 mentally healthy people over 65. What makes curry so healthy? Curcumin, a component of turmeric, curry's main ingredient, has been found to help the immune system rid the brain of amyloid beta, a protein that may build up and damage memory and reasoning ability, according to Milan Fiala, MD, a researcher with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. And it doesn't seem to take much curry to reap these benefits. Even eating it as infrequently as once every six months can help cognitive function. If you don't like the taste of curry, try turmeric alone. It's widely available and can be added to many dishes.
-- Jennifer Castoro