Curry up, Grampa!

A new study suggests that curcumin-packed curry dishes may boost pulmonary function of the elderly.

Diners with early bird specials and senior centers might want to feature curry. A new study suggests that the curcumin-packed dishes may boost the pulmonary functions in the elderly. The research was published in PLoS One and noted in the American Botanical Council's Herbalgram.

Curcumin's made from tumeric, the yellow stuff featured in many Asian curry recipes. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It's been used for ages in traditional medicine and has recently shot to popularity in North America. Curcumin enjoyed an incredible 1,000+ published studies in 2012. Many of them showed how it can potently affect chronic degenreative disease states that are based on inflammation.

This new study sought to discover whether curcumin could help an elderly population at high risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by protecting their lungs against oxidative stress and inflammation. The study was conducted in the southeast region of Singapore as part of the Singapore Longitudinal Aging Study (SLAS). The mean age of the male subjects was 66. Their pulmonary capacity was measured with a spirometer, which apparently, is the perfect instrument for doing things like that. Their curry intake was measured with a questionnaire, a less hi-tech apparatus. Researchers also took into account subjects' smoking and vitamin supplementation.

“The results of this preliminary study indicate that consumption of curry meals may improve the pulmonary function of the elderly, especially in smokers;” according to the release. However, the authors suggest that the questionnaires used in this study may have limited the study. (Apparently, they had no problem with the spirometers.) They suggested future studies should provide more details about the amount of curcumin or curry consumed and should also include women.

“This study indicates that there is a possible protective effect of curcumin for elderly subjects who are at risk for COPD, but clinical trials are warranted to confirm these effects,” according to the release.

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