We are fully aware of the fact that nothing is as effective as physical activity, but turmeric extract is also very good at providing some of the same cardiovascular health benefits. This especially refers to women who are undergoing certain age-related adverse changes in arterial health.
Unfortunately, the conventional medical practitioners are not interested in this subject and they tend to neglect the turmeric`s role in preventing heart disease. On the other hand, there are numerous studies and researches which support the amazing cardioprotective properties of the turmeric. As a matter of fact, there are three dozen abstracts on this topic available and they can be seen on the database: turmeric`s cardioprotective properties.
According to a last year`s study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, turmeric extract lowers the post-bypass heart attack by 56 percent. This article focuses on even more amazing study, published in 2012 in the journal Nutrition Research. As found in this study, the primary polyphenol in turmeric which is responsible for its golden hue, known as curcumin, is as effective in improving the vascular function in postmenopausal women as aerobic training regimen.
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This study lasted 8 weeks and it included 32 postmenopausal women. The women were divided into three groups: curcumin, exercise and non-treatment control. The researchers assessed the health of the inner lining of women`s blood vessels (known as the endothelium) by using ultrasound to measure flow-mediated arterial dilation, a well-known indicator of arterial elasticity and therefore endothelial function. Any disturbance of the inner lining of blood vessels is regarded as the main cause of the development of atherosclerosis. Consequently, anything that can prevent, reduce, or reverse the endothelial dysfunction may directly affect the mortality linked to cardiovascular disease.
Women in the curcumin group were given 150 gr turmeric extract daily, for 8 weeks supplying 25 mg of collodially dispersed nanoparticle curcumin. In the meantime, they didn`t make any changes in their diet or exercise habits.
The ones in the exercise group underwent aerobic exercise training more than three days a week. They had 2-3 supervised sessions and additional training at home. The course involved walking and cycling, and the participants were engaged in 30-60 minute long sessions. The sessions ranged in intensity 60% of their individually determined maximal heart rate in the initial phase of the trial, to 70-75% maximal heart rate in the latter half.
After the 8-week study, the researchers noted an increase in the flow-mediated dilation in both cucumin and exercise group. They concluded:
“The present study showed that regular ingestion of curcumin or regular aerobic exercise training significantly improved endothelial function. The magnitude of improvement in endothelial function to the same extent, suggesting that curcumin may prevent the age-associated decline in endothelial function in postmenopausal women.”
Even though this study promotes the health benefits of turmeric and it encourages the people who are already using turmeric and curcimin supplement in their daily diet, it is important to mention that exercise CANNOT be replaced with a supplement. In addition, the exercise cannot supplant the role of turmeric in people`s health and disease. If one combines both regular exercise and regular culinary doses of turmeric, they will work in synergy and provide more health benefits than any of them could provide alone. In brief, the key lies in the combination of these two, even though this study dealt with the separately.
There is yet another very interesting study published by the same group of researchers in 2012 in the American Journal of Hypertension. This study investigated the combined effect of both exercise and curcumin in postmenopausal women in improving heart muscle stress tolerance. The study found that that “regular endurance exercisecombined with daily curcumin ingestion may reduce LV [left ventricular] afterload to a greater extent than monotherapy with either intervention alone in postmenopausal women.” Chronic heightened left ventricular afterload can lead to pathological hypertrophy of the area, and it is linked to increased blood pressure and aortic valve disease. In brief, this study suggests that the combination of these two produces the most benefit.
The combination of turmeric and exercise is also perfect remedy for pain and inflammation caused by exercise. It is found to relieve symptoms linked to osteoarthritis as well.