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How it keeps you young: Curry helps maintain your mental muscle. In fact, some parts of India, where it's eaten daily, have one-fourth the U.S. rate for Alzheimer's. Curry is packed with turmeric, a spice that's rich in the antioxidant curcumin. Researchers at UCLA believe that curcumin wards off Alzheimer's by preventing the growth of amyloid plaques, sticky proteins that are toxic to brain cells. In addition, it shields us from harmful free radicals (formed when we metabolize oxygen), which attack our cells, damaging tissue and organs. Those strikes increase in frequency in the body as we get older, says Joseph. Curry prevents those assaults from happening in the brain, where they can impair thinking and memory.
Use it in: Sweet and Spicy Curried Rice
Bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon curry powder and 1/4 cup golden raisins. Stir in 1 cup instant brown rice and cook according to directions. Top with 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts. Serves 4. 142 calories; 4g fat (0g sat.).
More curry ideas:
* For a stir-fry, sprinkle white meat chicken with curry powder and saute in a bit of oil with fresh broccoli.
* Add a half-teaspoon to a box of couscous as it cooks.
* Fold a pinch into a tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise for a spicy sandwich spread.