What if eating just 1 gram of a simple spice with your breakfast, could turbo-charge your working-memory for up to six-hours? That’s exactly what researchers in Korea have discovered in a recent study involving the common spice Turmeric.
Turmeric is a yellowish spice native to southern India, and is a member of the ginger family.
In the Korean study, participants were given 1 gram of turmeric with their breakfasts, while a control-group was given breakfast containing no turmeric.
The working memory of the study participants was measured at regular intervals following breakfast, and the results clearly indicated an improved performance among the turmeric group.
Mark L. Wahlqvist who lead the study explained the results:
“We found that this modest addition to breakfast improved working memory over six hours. Working memory is widely thought to be one of the most important mental faculties, critical for cognitive abilities such as planning, problem solving and reasoning. …
Assessment of working memory is simple and convenient, but it is also very useful in the appraisal of cognition and in predicting future impairment and dementia. …
Our findings with turmeric are consistent with these observations, insofar as they appear to influence cognitive function.”
It is believed that the chemical compound curcumin, which is found in turmeric is responsible for the working-memory benefits. Interestingly however, the study found no correlation between cinnamon and increased working memory, despite the fact that cinnamon also contains large quantities of natural curcumin.