“Would you like to sit at a quieter table?” A hostess or a manager asked as she grabbed menus. The smell of cayenne and cumin and cinnamon emerged from the noisy kitchen behind her. Stockton may have looked at me. I said something to indicate sitting anywhere in the restaurant would be fine. I felt comfortable in this place. I appreciated her thoughtfulness, assuming she recognized us–perhaps by my white cane–as regular customers.
I anticipated the flavors of dinner–spicy green chutney, sweet tamarind chutney, warm garlic naan, and basmati rice served alongside my entree. Stockton would be ordering vinaloo because he can take the heat. I usually alternate between curry and chicken tikka masala.
I have another reason to enjoy the food here. Recent research by Dr. Radha Ayyagari, highlighted by FFB’s Eye on the Cure blog, underscores the connection of turmeric with retinal health. Need I say more? I heard over the years the benefits of eating particular foods rich in carotenoids for eye health, but not curcumin, an ingredient in turmeric. Curries and chicken tikka masala both have it, so does American yellow mustard, who knew.
“Years ago, while reviewing scientific literature, Dr. Ayyagari discovered that curcumin is a catalyst for producing heat shock proteins, or HSPs, which play an important role in ensuring proper cell function. As so-called cellular chaperones, HSPs help prevent the misfolding of other proteins that occurs in the photoreceptors of people with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP).”
While I have not been diagnosed with RP, I fully support foods that boost retinal health like a spotter at the bench press. Don’t lock your elbows, just breathe, one mouthful at a time. The next time I dine at the Indian restaurant with Stockton, I’ll enjoy the thoughtful service, and I’ll be on the lookout for yellowish dishes rich in turmeric to cross my palate. Bon appétit.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with a physician before embarking on dietary changes.