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If you haven’t cleaned out your spice cupboard in a while, now is the time. If you reach all the way to the back, you might be able to find a hidden gem. This orange spice is rich in antioxidants, it has powerful anti-aging properties and its anti-inflammatory benefits are unmatched. To add to its list of benefits, a new study has found that this spice can even decrease your risk of heart attack. If you can’t find turmeric hiding in your cupboard, it’s time to stock up!

The Study

Study after study has shown the natural health benefits of turmeric on the body. It protects the brain, prevents inflammation and it can even help the body fight cancer. In case that wasn’t enough, a new study has shown that turmeric also provides amazing benefits for the heart. A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology has found that turmeric extract can decrease heart attack risk by an astounding 56%.

Turmeric Improves Heart Health As Much As Exercise

In 2012, a study published in the Nutrition Research journal found that consuming turmeric or turmeric supplements can improve one’s cardiovascular health as much as aerobic exercise. Are you wondering how that’s even possible? It all comes down to the primary polyphenol in turmeric, known as curcumin.

The 8-week long study involved 32 postmenopausal women who were assigned into three groups. The women were put into either a control group, an exercise group or a curcumin group. Researchers monitored the inner lining of the womens’ blood vessels by measuring flow-mediated arterial dilation. A disturbance of this function is considered a key cause of the development of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries. It can lead to a heart attack, stroke and even death.

After eight weeks, researchers found that flow-mediated dilation increased significantly in both the curcumin group and the exercise group. The researchers concluded, “The present study showed that regular ingestion of curcumin or regular aerobic exercise training significantly improved endothelial function…. suggesting that curcumin may prevent the age-associated decline in endothelial function in postmeopausal women.”

In case that was too much to follow, curcumin was found to have similar effects as exercise when it comes to preventing plaque build up inside the arteries, which is a main cause of heart attack.

Turmeric For The Heart

While turmeric shouldn’t replace physical exercise, studies show that it’s able produce some of the same cardiovascular health benefits. Here’s how to consume turmeric for the heart:

The study suggests taking 150 mg of turmeric extract (equal to 25 mg of curcumin) every day for eight weeks to enhance heart function. In turmeric powder, the curcumin content is usually 2%. Keep this is mind if you choose turmeric powder. You can consume one teaspoon or turmeric daily, or purchase turmeric extract capsules. Adding turmeric to your diet is easier than you might think. You can add a pinch here and there to your food or tea. You can also drink tumeric juice or tumeric lemon water to reap the heart-healthy benefits!

Sources:
The Hearty Soul
Turmeric For Health
Steth News
Nutrition Research
NCBI
Journal of HerbMed Pharmacology
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute