Anyone for Curry???

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Have you ever considered exactly what your perfect world would be like? I am not asking about the whole nation turning back to God, world peace, the end of poverty and the eradication of childhood disease as most of us would wish for those. I mean YOUR perfect world, a world in which things work in a way that maybe only you would wish for while others may disagree. For example, in my perfect world childbirth would be quick and painless. Satnav would not only get you to where you are going, but do so instantly – you would enter the address into the gizmo on your dashboard and seconds later would arrive at your given destination, anywhere in the world, with no further effort on your part. Kitchens would be self cleaning and clothes would never need ironing. Do you begin to see my world? But most importantly in my perfect work, my favourite takeaway would not be unhealthy. In fact it would be a nutritionally complete superfood, the panacea for dietary needs that generations of scientists have fruitlessly strived for , and also the greatest weight loss plan our civilisation has ever known. Oh, and it would be free of charge. And delivered to my door in 5 minutes by a guy with one of those new Satnav gadgets…

Incidentally, if you are on the search for a healthy takeaway then Japanese comes dangerously close to the above criteria. Japanese people who maintain a traditional diet (the one they ate for thousands of years before being contaminated by the McCulture spreading through the civilised world) enjoy the lowest obesity rates and longest healthy lifespans of any developed population. I am a devoted fan and regular consumer of Japanese takeaways but there are times when it becomes essential for our family to indulge in the national obsession, that great British dish, the curry.

So you will understand my delight when I recently discovered that our version of the world is in fact slightly closer to my vision of perfection than I had previously thought. I turns out that curry can be good for you There have been a number of articles written recently claiming that eating curry regularly can reduce a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and having a passion for all things tikka massala and a family tradition of memory issues later in life, I for one was intrigued.

I have always thought of curry as having many healthy aspects to it, alongside the less beneficial ingredients. After all, most health experts would agree that a meal of lean meat and/or vegetables in a sauce consisting of tomatoes, garlic, onions and spices with an appropriate serving of rice would have much to recommend it, but it is the added extras in curry that give cause for concern. This latest health claim is based on research into circumin, a compound found in turmeric which is one of the spices used to make many of our national favourites, and at first glance ti does appear to have star quality in the field of nutrition.

Circumin has previously been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-tumour properties and I have discovered other articles claiming that it can be used to treat all manner of conditions from cancer to skin conditions, arthritis, and STDs. And recently, the Alzheimer’s issue has been brought to our attention by some researchers in the USA. They claim that eating just a moderate amount of curry on a regular basis could slow down or possibly even reverse the changes in the brain associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and a large scale medical study is currently underway to attempt to explore this very plausible theory further. It is likely to be a while before the results of the trial are available, but I will certainly be anxious to find out the details in due course, and will feel considerably less guilty about my takeaway indulgences from now on.

Meanwhile, as with most things in life the best advice seems to involve balance. As previously mentioned there are many nutritional benefits to the average curry, but it is well known that particularly the fat, salt and overall calorie content of many of our favourite Indian takeaway dishes makes them something to be eating once in a while for the more health conscious among us. Unless of course you have access to fresh, traditional home cooked Indian food which is a different scenario altogether!

So my perfect world is still just a dream, and I am sure that I will never actually write about the superfood takeaway, but a girl can dream can’t she? I really do want one of those Satnavs though…

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