Two studies published this summer showed positive health effects of curry. One looked at brain function, the other at the colon.

First, the brain.

Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores were compared among 1010 elderly Asians, aged 60 to 93 years. The MMSE is used to determine the extent of dementia in adults. The results of the test were then compared to categories of curry consumption: “often” (more than once a month), “occasionally” (once or more in 6 months but less than once a month), and “never or rarely.”

And the results.

Those who ate curry “occasionally” and “often” had better MMSE results (ie, better perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning,) than those who only ate curry “never or rarely.”

Apparently, it is only necessary to eat curry once in a while for better cognitive performance.

Next, the colon.

Dietary supplementation with curcumin and quercetin (substances present in curry) might help prevent colon cancer. In five patients there was a reduction in the average number of polyps by 60%, and decreased their size by 50%.

It’s just 5 patients, and the amount of curry they took was a lot more than you would get in Tandoori Chicken. But the findings are potentially important because it’s the first time curry ingredients have been associated with reduced precancerous polyps in people at risk for colon cancer.

OK, let’s eat.

8/25/06 22:43 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.