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Turmeric extract could protect heart post-surgery

Post-surgery heart protection

Facing bypass surgery is enough to make even the bravest person more than a little anxious.

So if you’re feeling fearful about an upcoming surgery (or know someone who might be), here’s a tip from a hot-off-the-presses study: Adding a little spice to your life could protect your heart after that bypass.

This spice might not be a staple in everyone’s kitchen, but thanks to my love of curry, it’s in mine. The cheery yellow powder doesn’t just add color and flavor to some of my favorite dishes–it could also give a big boost to the health of a post-surgery heart.

Turmeric is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Now researchers in Thailand say that extracts from the spice can also help keep you from having a heart attack after bypass surgery.

During bypass surgery the heart is without blood flow for a long time. This can damage your heart muscle and raise your risk of having a heart attack. But the substance that gives turmeric its yellow color may be able to help.

Curcumin gives turmeric its cheerful look, but it can also help lower the risk of a heart attack after surgery because of its anti-inflammatory action.

Starting three days before surgery and stopping five days after surgery, patients in the study took 1-gram curcumin capsules four times per day (along with their traditional drug treatments). Researchers found that 13 percent of patients who’d been taking curcumin had a heart attack while in the hospital after the surgery. But among patients who weren’t taking the curcumin capsules, 30 percent had heart attacks.

That’s right–the people taking the curcumin had a 65 percent lower risk of heart attack.

According to one reviewer of the study (who didn’t work on it) curcumin isn’t a substitute for medication. He instead pointed to aspirin, statins, and beta-blockers as the best way to help heart patients. (Sounds to me like they’re a little afraid of the threat curcumin could pose to Big Pharma’s bottom line if research continues to show such promise.)

As always, the best person to talk with about how curcumin could benefit you is, you guessed it–your doctor.

If you’re not looking at bypass surgery in your future, there are other reasons to add turmeric to your spice rack. Studies have shown that it can help with your weight loss efforts and even help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Curry, anyone?

P.S. Are hair mineral analysis tests worth the price? Keep reading.

“Turmeric extract may protect heart after surgery: study,” Reuters (