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Curcumin May Improve Heart Health by Raising Flow-Mediated Dilation

Curcumin is the pigment that gives the spice turmeric its yellow color. A recent study suggests that supplementation with curcumin may improve flow-mediated dilation (FMD) as much as aerobic exercise in postmenopausal women.

FMD measures the ability of an artery to contract as blood flows through it and the higher your FMD, the better. Previous research suggests that every 1% reduction in FMD is associated with a 12% increased risk in developing cardiovascular problems.

The study included 32 postmenopausal women who were separated into three different groups. For eight weeks on a daily basis, the women either:

1. Underwent no intervention and acted as controls;

2. Completed an aerobic exercise regime;

3. Took 25 mg of curcumin daily.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted an increase of FMD by 1.5% in both the exercise and curcumin groups but no changes were noted in the control group. This suggests that curcumin could potentially be an alternative for people who need to increase their FMD, but are unable to exercise.

The study was conducted at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. It was published online ahead of print on October 17, 2012, in Nutrition Research.

Curcumin has been used in folk remedies for years to ease menstrual cramping, help heal wounds, and to improve the appearance of skin. Recent studies have suggested that it may also protect against prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and arthritis. All of these benefits are attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.

Yellow curry is a great source of curcumin, but if your stomach can’t handle curry or you don’t care for Indian food, considering taking a high quality supplement.

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