The majority of touted health benefits from curry are derived from turmeric, a bright and beautiful yellow/orange colored key ingredient in most curries.
By Megan Holt, DR, PH, MPH, RD:
Q: I’m a big fan of curry powder and curry dishes at restaurants. What are potential health benefits of curry?
A: The majority of touted health benefits from curry are derived from turmeric, a bright and beautiful yellow/orange colored key ingredient in most curries. Turmeric contains an active compound by the name of curcumin, which is renowned for its antioxidant /anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin has been suggested to have protective effects against:
- Liver disease
- Cardiovascular disease (through lowering cholesterol)
- Various cancer
- Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
The large majority of studies have been animal studies, so it’s too soon to know whether these benefits apply to humans. Additional studies are needed on humans before we can speak to the benefits of curcumin with some degree of certainty, though turmeric has been used medicinally in Ayurvedic circles for centuries.