I just found two new studies confirming the amazing health benefits of one of my favorite spices. According to these two new studies, this spice can literally save your heart - especially if you take statins to lower your cholesterol.

The two animal studies show that turmeric (a.k.a., curcumin) can prevent heart failure. In one study, curcumin both prevented and reversed heart enlargement both in test tube heart cells and in living mice. Heart enlargement is a step toward heart failure.

In the second study, researchers were able to confirm the first. They examined curcumin's effects in living animals with two different heart-failure models. One group had hypertensive heart disease and heart disease salt-sensitive rats. The other had surgically induced myocardial infarction in rats. In both groups, curcumin prevented heart failure. It did so by preventing increases in both heart wall thickness and diameter.

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When you consider the epidemic of heart failure we're seeing today, these studies are huge news. This epidemic is sure to grow with the escalating use of heart failure-promoting statins. Another fact about curcumin that I absolutely love - and you will too - is that it's dirt cheap. It's available at any grocery store. And all you have to do is add a tablespoon of curry powder to your meals every day and you'll get plenty. My wife and I use lots of curry.

Hong-Liang Li, Chen Liu, Geoffrey de Couto, Maral Ouzounian, Mei Sun, Ai-Bing Wang, Yue Huang, Cheng-Wei He, Yu Shi, Xin Chen, Mai P. Nghiem, Youan Liu, Manyin Chen, Fayez Dawood, Masahiro Fukuoka, Yuichiro Maekawa, Liyong Zhang, Andrew Leask, Asish K. Ghosh, Lorrie A. Kirshenbaum, Peter P. Liu. Curcumin prevents and reverses murine cardiac hypertrophy. Journal of Clinical Investigation. February 21, 2008. Published online ahead of print.

Morimoto T, Sunagawa Y, Kawamura T, Takaya T, Wada H, Nagasawa A, Komeda M, Fujita M, Shimatsu A, Kita T, Hasegawa K. "The dietary compound curcumin inhibits p300 histone acetyltransferase activity and prevents heart failure in rats." Journal of Clinical Investigation. February 21, 2008. Published online ahead of print.

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