Ever wish you could just think more happy thoughts? Try switching up the spices you put on your foods. A recent study published in Neuropsychopharmacology has found that the spice turmeric, commonly used in curry powders and mustard, may impair your ability to recall fear memories. Not only did the spice make it harder for rats to recall their fear memories, but it also made it harder to form new fear memories. Want to get right down to the heart of the issue? It's curcumin in the turmeric that does all the heavy lifting here. This bright yellow chemical may be something of a natural wonder: scientists are also researching its properties in reducing inflammation, staving off cancers, and fighting depression. Some health food suppliers even sell straight up curcumin capsules for their antioxidant properties and ability to neutralize free radicals, which can damage cells.
The study showed promise, indicating that curcumin could help fight disorders like PTSD, but, in its current form, it doesn't quite scale. To eat as much curcumin as the rats did in proportion to body weight, you'd have to have 68 grams of it, which is a pretty absurd amount, especially because turmeric is only 3% curcumin. So there’s nothing wrong with adding a dose of curry powder to your soup, but maybe hold off on eating a mountain of straight turmeric and wait for future researchers to find a better curcumin-conveying system.