Turmeric is undoubtedly one of the most health beneficial spices on the planet. Although it has a millennia-long history of use in Asian natural medicine and culinary tradition, this spice has only recently started to gain popularity, especially in the Western world.
At present there are more than 5,000 studies confirming that this root is more beneficial in treatment of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and depression than conventional therapies.
The last study on this herb found that turmeric can effectively reduce the risk of heart attack in the same way as three 60-minute workouts a week when taken regularly at a daily dose of one teaspoon.
The study covered a period of 8 weeks and included 32 postmenopausal women, who were assigned to 3 groups – an exercise group, a turmeric group and a control group. The study subjects didn’t make any other dietary or lifestyle changes. Furthermore, an ultrasound device was used by the researchers to assess the endothelium (the inner lining of their blood vessels) of each participant. To be more specific, flow-mediated arterial dilation was measured to evaluate arterial elasticity, which is essential for blood vessels health.
During the trial, the turmeric group was given the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of turmeric a day while the exercise group did supervised aerobic exercise training 2-3 times a week plus an unspecified amount of home-based training, such as cycling and walking. Each session lasted between 30-60 minutes and ranged in intensity between 60-75% of maximal heart rate.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that both the turmeric and the exercise group had greatly improved endothelial function. But the most interesting thing was that the results of both groups were almost identical, which indicates that daily turmeric intake provides the same effect as daily exercise in preventing, reducing and even reversing endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis.
This study followed a 2012 study conducted by the Chiang Mai University of Thailand. The Thai study revealed that turmeric reduced the frequency of heart attack after coronary artery bypass by 56% when turmeric was administered daily 3 days before surgery and 5 days post-surgery. The spice influenced the cardiovascular system by modulating C-reactive protein, plasma maondialdehyde, and N-terminal pro-B-type naturietic peptide levels.
In the words of the researchers: “The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcuminoids may account for their cardioprotective effects shown in this study…curcuminoids decrease proinflammatory cytokines during cardiopulmonary bypass surgery and decrease the occurrence of cardiomyocytic apoptosis after cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury in animal models.”
In other words, turmeric can reduce inflammation and protect endothelium cells against damage and death.
The best way to reap turmeric’s cardiovascular benefits is to include a teaspoon of turmeric powder into your daily dietary regimen. You can also opt for a glass of freshly squeezed turmeric juice daily. To increase the absorption of turmeric into your body, you should combine it with coconut or olive oil and black pepper.
Last, but not least, making your own turmeric capsules is also an option if you don’t like the taste of turmeric.
Note: When including turmeric into your diet, it’s important to remember not to mix it with other medications.
Also, turmeric can’t replace all the benefits of regular physical activity. A minimum of half an hour a day being active is strongly recommended for overall health.