Finally, validation for late-night Mexican takeout binges! It turns out that cumin and cilantro, two common ingredients in Mexican and Indian food, can boost memory function.
Researchers noted that rats that drank water spiked with cumin learned faster and retained more than their non-cumin-dosed comrades.
Another phase of the experiment involved dosing the rats with a drug called scopolamine that mimics the effects of Alzheimer's. The cumin-ridden rodents were more resistant to the drug's effects and needed less time to relearn how to perform the experiment.
Another experiment earlier this year demonstrated that rats with five to fifteen percent of their diet replaced with cilantro learned to run a maze more quickly, and were more resistant to scopolamine's effects as well.
Now, obviously, not even the most dedicated Mexican food gourmand can deal with a diet consisting of fifteen percent cilantro, and large amounts of cumin are dangerous at both ends of gustation, but the point is that scientists are working to identify the active compounds in cilantro and cumin — discoveries that could lead to advances in the way we treat cognitive degenerative disease like dementia and Alzheimer's.
And hey, maybe go south of the border next time you're thinking about where to go to eat — you can always say it's helping your memory. Just go easy on the mezcal and seriously, don't eat the worm — I think that's how Outbreak started.