Grown throughout India and other parts of Asia, turmeric is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine. Today, it’s mainly found in spice or supplement form and commonly used to brighten up curries, stir-fries, soups, and even smoothies. Here are a few more reasons why turmeric deserves a spot on your spice rack.

Turmeric may help improve your memory.

The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry reported that a March 2018 study of people aged 51 to 84 found that those who took a 90-milligram curcumin supplement twice a day for 18 months saw a boost in memory compared with those who took a placebo. The study was small and more research will be needed to confirm these findings, but some scientists believe that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects might protect the brain from memory-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Turmeric might ward off heart disease.

Curcumin’s antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds may help protect against certain heart conditions, including diabetic cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), and more, according to a 2017 review in the journal Pharmacological Research.

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