While your friends may think you’re a negative Nancy, it’s actually perfectly normal to remember negative events (like a painful injury or hurtful criticism) more so than positive ones. And that’s because negative emotions generally involve more brainpower to process than the feel-good ones. Not to mention, as a general science-backed rule, bad events fade more slowly from our memories than good ones. But there is a bit of good news! Scientists say pushing these negative memories from your mind and alleviating emotional pain may be as simple as adding turmeric to your next meal. Yes, that’s right, the spice you tucked away behind the cinnamon in your spice cabinet could help you live a happier life—and it’s all because it contains a compound called curcumin.
To come to this finding, Yale University and the City University of New York researchers divided lab rats into two groups. One group was fed regular chow while the second group was given curcumin-enriched pellets. Then, they conditioned the rats to fear a specific noise by playing the sound and then shocking their feet. After the animals had been conditioned, the scientists removed their brains and studied them. They also performed memory retrieval tests on some of the animals and discovered that those who consumed the curcumin-spiked chow had a more difficult time recalling the fear memory, suggesting that the compound helps keep bad memories at bay.
There haven't been any curcumin-memory studies done on humans yet, but scientists are very hopeful that this finding will translate over to people. In the meantime, why not add a little turmeric to your diet? While we can’t promise that the spice will help you forget your first heartbreak or erase the memory of that time you got fired, it can provide a number of additional health benefits. Turmeric has been shown to enhance brain function, ward off aging, and aid weight loss. So go ahead and add some of that orange, pungent spice to your next meal. It may just help you leave your troubles in the dust!
Eat This! Tip
Looking for a super easy way to add the spice to your daily diet? Whip up a batch of this turmeric-tahini dressing from The Simple Veganista and drizzle it on your daily salad.