Turmeric, a spice used in popular Indian dishes, has become known for its side-kick ingredient, curcumin, which together can provide many health benefits.

We recently sat down with Dr.Ronald Cotterel, a Family Medicine doctor at the Sutter Medical Group, to discuss how turmeric can help prevent the chance of getting a heart attack. He also discussed some other additional health benefits of using curcumin.

Turmeric Helps Prevent Heart Attacks

"Turmeric can't necessarily prevent heart disease. However, the spice could theoretically help prevent heart attacks," Cotterel, told Tech Times.

"The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin and it's used as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and has some action as an antiplatelet agent that can slow blood clotting, in a similar but more gentle way than aspirin," said Cotterel.

Aspirin has also been used to help prevent heart attacks. Dr. Cotterel expressed turmeric can be used similarly, although there are no clinical trials to back up this up other than in people who have just gotten coronary artery bypass grafts.

"Clinical research suggests that taking the turmeric constituent, curcuminoids, 4 grams daily beginning 3 days prior to surgery and continuing for 5 days post-surgery can decrease the relative risk of myocardial infarction following coronary artery bypass grafting by approximately 56 percent compared to placebo," according to the Natural Medicines Database.

Turmeric Helps With Itching And Joint Pain

Turmeric's anti-inflammatory effects can help reduce joint pain, osteoarthritis, and may help pain related to rheumatoid arthritis. "Curcumin is another great way to get a higher dose of it so if used therapeutically, it's best to do for arthritis. You wouldn't overdose on it," said Dr. Cotterel.

"Since it is an antioxidant, the spice can be sometimes used to help prevent some of the diseases associated with oxidation in the body such as cancer. It has also been found to be effective in itching from various sources," said Dr. Cotterel.

In addition, other research suggests taking turmeric extract at 1.4 grams/day orally in two different doses over 3 months have the ability to reduce levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol, and triglyceride in patients aged 15-45 years-old.

"Turmeric wouldn't replace a good diet, regular exercise and other methods to control cholesterol level. All of the other prevention methods for heart disease including stress management, diet and exercise shouldn't be overlooked and replaced by the use of turmeric," said Dr. Cotterel.

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