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Eat This Spice: Turmeric and Stroke Prevention

The University of Maryland Medical Center for Integrative Medicine advises that early studies indicate that turmeric may be helpful in preventing stroke. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) comes from the rhizomes (root-like stems) of the plant, which are boiled, dried, and ground into the bright orange powder that gives mustard, curry, and other foods their color and adds a non-spicy, earthy flavor. It has potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fibrotic (tissue building) effects.

Turmeric extract has been shown to inhibit the damaging (oxidizing) effects of LDL, or "bad cholesterol." LDL deposits on artery walls can contribute to artery-blocking plaque and damage the vessel walls. A 2012 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology concluded that curcumin, the yellow pigment and active compound in turmeric, aids the body in preventing "maladaptive" repair, or scarring, after a stroke, and helps preserve cardiac function.

Turmeric can also prevent platelet build-up and thin blood. For this reason, you should consult your doctor or caregiver when adding turmeric to your diet in significant amounts, especially if you are taking prescription blood thinners (such as Coumadin).

By: Stroke-Network.com Staff Writer

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Five easy ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet:

1.  Add 1 teaspoon to smoothies, like banana-orange juice, or banana-mang   

2.  Add 2 teaspoons to a pot of chicken soup, couscous, mashed sweet potatoes, or beef stew

3.  Enjoy Indian food dishes made with curry spice (turmeric is a main ingredient in curries)

4.  Take a supplement: look for capsules or tablets in doses of 400-600 mg, and take 3 times daily

5.  Sip turmeric tea. Here's a recipe from Dr. Andrew Weil:

  •  boil 4 cups of water,
  • add 1 teaspoon turmeric and simmer for 10 minutes
  • strain through a sieve and add honey and lemon to taste
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