Turbo-charge your brain with this natural compound

I'll try any dish once, so I can tell you that I have had curry... once.

Once was enough. I had flames coming out my nose and smoke coming out my ears -- and while I hear you can get milder curries, I don't intend to find out.

But I absolutely DO intend to get the benefits of the main ingredient in curry. It's called turmeric, and it's the spice that gives the stuff its color... but thankfully not the heat.

It not only adds a little oomph to a plate of vegetables (and, let's face it, most veggies could use some oomph).

It could also add some oomph to your brain!

The latest research confirms curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, can help boost the aging mind, protect the memory, and ward off dementia.

Nearly 100 older folks were given either 1,500 mg of curcumin or a placebo every day for a year... but it didn't take a year to see a difference.

By the six-month mark, folks on the placebo were showing the declines of age (and then some) in cognitive tests.

Folks who got the real deal, on the other hand, had turbocharged brains. They ran circles around the placebo folks on tests of verbal skills and memory, according to the study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

The researchers are calling for more research. Of course they are. And I bet they would just love a big, fat grant so they can make a career out of this.

I don't need to see more research to know this stuff works. We've seen it before, and other studies even show why: Curcumin zips through your skull like a Predator drone, seeking out and destroying the beta amyloid plaques that gum up the works, slow your brain, and ultimately set the stage for dementia.

And that's not all it can do.

A 2011 study found curcumin can fight off pain, improve function, and lead to less painkiller use in folks with osteoarthritis. And in 2013, a study found it can fight depression as effectively as Prozac... but without the risks.

If you've got a taste for curry, go ahead and eat the stuff as much as you want. Like I said, once was enough for me.

But you don't have to like curry to get the benefits of curcumin. It's widely available as a supplement -- both on its own and as part of a blend -- and will run you about nickel a day.

If it can stop your mind from turning into mush -- or in this case, curry soup -- I'd say it's worth every penny.