Turmeric is an ingredient in cooking that goes far beyond being a tasty spice. The benefits of eating turmeric regularly are well documented. As one of the natural antibiotics, it can help in healing wounds and postponing the infection; keeping Alzheimer’s disease aside, and is even as effective as an hour of exercise bringing benefits to our cardiovascular health.
Why turmeric is so effective for cardiovascular health
Turmeric is a traditional spice of Indian food as it is a main ingredient in many types of curry dishes and recent research has shown that we can add another benefit to the long list of turmeric: it is as good for cardiovascular health as the same physical exercise.
Curcumin is the “magic” ingredient
Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric that has recently gained a great deal of exposure in scientific research journals for its remarkable effects on human health problems, ranging from cancer to diabetes and heart health problems. Turmeric is one of the 14 main foods that protects against the development of cancer.
While Ayurvedic medicine in India has greatly promoted the many health benefits of turmeric, modern science is finally catching up to what Ayurveda has been saying for millennia.
Important point: Studies have revealed that turmeric has a low absorption in the body unless it is combined with certain foods. At the end of this article there are more details, so be sure to read that section.
Turmeric has great cardiovascular benefits
A study published in Nutrition Research has reached surprising conclusions: eating or taking turmeric supplements is just as effective as aerobic exercise (one hour of running or brisk walking) in the battle for heart health.
These effects were particularly notable in women of menopausal age, for whom heart health may become a real concern.
The 8-week study involved 32 postmenopausal women who were assigned to 3 groups:
- An untreated control
Subjects in the curcumin group received 150 mg of turmeric extract per day for 8 weeks, providing 25 mg of curcumin. Their diet and exercise habits remained unchanged during the study period.
Subjects in the exercise group experienced training of more than 3 days per week (2-3 supervised sessions and other additional home) of aerobic exercise.
During the 8-week exercise program involving bicycle and walking, 30-60 minutes of long sessions were performed, with an intensity of 60% of their individual maximum heart rate in the initial phase of the test, at 70-75% of the maximum heart rate in the second half.
The results of the study
Endothelial cells that coated the inner surface of blood vessels of study participants were observed, and researchers observed that the function of these cells showed remarkable improvement after two months in both curcumin and exercise groups, compared with the control group.
Dysfunction of endothelial cells is an important factor contributing to the development of atherosclerosis (deposits of fat in blood vessels, similar to clogged pipes), so anything that can prevent endothelial cells from becoming dysfunctional can also help to prevent this type of heart disease.
The researchers concluded: “The present study showed that regular ingestion of curcumin or regular aerobic exercise training significantly improved endothelial function.
The magnitude of improved endothelial function to the same extent suggests that curcumin may prevent age-related deterioration in endothelial function in postmenopausal women. ”
Turmeric consumption for cardiovascular health
Study participants showed improvements in cardiovascular function after only eight weeks of taking 150 milligrams of turmeric extract daily, making a total of 25 milligrams of curcumin per dose.
It is necessary to pay attention that study participants receive a turmeric extract containing high doses of curcumin.
The content of curcumin in regular turmeric powder is not as high, approximately 2%, so you will need to take a teaspoon of turmeric to enjoy the same health benefits, or you can buy turmeric extract capsules.
Turmeric capsules can be found online or at health food stores or at the pharmacy, or you can take gold milk or turmeric milk. You can also make turmeric tea or add on tasty food dishes to reap these rewards for yourself.