If you were to ask a doctor or nutritionist the first natural ingredient that he would suggest for heart health, turmeric would surely be one of the top choices. Yes, you could actually use it as an anti-oxidant for both heart conditions and the prevention of cardiac diseases. In addition, there are many other health advantages of this key herb that are primarily derived from its flavonoid properties. Curcumin, which is the main active component of turmeric can help to regulate and stop certain genes that lead to enlargement and scarring of the heart;
Turmeric also helps to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-wrinkle properties help prevent the occurrence of gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel disease and Crohn's disease. It is also effective in fighting infection and inflammation in the heart, lungs and joints, and relieving pressure on the artery walls. It is therefore ideal for those with congestive heart failure, blood clots and high cholesterol levels.
In terms of improving the cardiovascular function and in protecting the heart from inflammation and injury, curcumin has been found very useful in numerous laboratory experiments. It significantly reduces the levels of "bad cholesterol" (LDL) in the blood. The protective effect of turmeric on the arteries is further supported by the fact that it has the ability to prevent the formation of blood clots.
Several clinical studies have also indicated that curcumin has beneficial effects on the respiratory issues of individuals suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The reduction of inflammation is likely the reason why this effect is seen. Several researchers believe that the activity of curcumin is probably one of the mechanisms involved in the successful treatment of COPD. Turmeric for heart health may possibly be beneficial for sufferers of asthma too.
The anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin is probably one of its key contributions to improving heart health. However, many studies have failed to show any significant impact of curcumin on reducing "bad cholesterol", as was originally reported. These results imply that curcumin has not yet fulfilled its claim to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It is therefore believed that more studies on the role of curcumin in fighting against inflammatory molecules are needed to support its claims to be an important ingredient for improving cardiovascular function.
Clinical trials will definitely provide much information on the beneficial effects of curcumin on various conditions like atherosclerosis, cancer, inflammation and so on. Many conditions which are controlled by antioxidants now can be treated successfully with curcumin. For example, curcumin has been found to reduce the levels of inflammatory molecules that cause heart attack and stroke. Thus, turmeric for heart health is not only good for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, but also for other medical conditions. It can even prevent cancer.