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

Turmeric can 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 curcumin supplement of 90 milligrams twice daily for 18 months saw an improvement in their memory compared to those who took a placebo. The study was small and more research will be needed to confirm these results, but some scientists believe that the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin may protect the brain from memory-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric could prevent heart disease.

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

Turmeric can help relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States. A 2016 research review found that taking curcumin for four weeks, however, may help relieve osteoarthritis pain in people who already have the disease, an effect comparable to taking NSAIDs or glucosamine.

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