A curry a day may keep the heart attacks away

By Morgan Sherburne • Published: January 9th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

You may have heard that eating spicy peppers may be good for the heart, but a small study has found that eating curry may do the same trick.

People often experience a sudden rise in blood sugar after a meal. This sugar rush can contribute to atherosclerosis, or build-up of plaque in the arteries. A disruption in the endothelium, or inner lining of blood vessels and the heart, can also lead to a plaque build up. Researchers wanted to see if eating curry and rice would improve endothelial function in healthy men and curb the spike in blood sugar.

Researchers separated 14 men into two groups, one who ate curry and rice while the other ate the same meal without the curry spices. Before and after the meal, the researchers measured the participants’ blood flow. Among the men who ate the spicy curry, the diameter of their arteries increased significantly after the meal.

The men who ate curry saw their blood flow increase by between 2 and 6 percent. The men who ate something other than curry? Their blood flow decreased by about 2.5 to 5 percent.

The researchers, who published their findings in the Nutrition Journal, say their study sample is small and further research is needed but they think the benefit comes from antioxidants in the curry powder. Curry powder is a blend of spices including clove, coriander, cumin, garlic, onion, ginger, red pepper and turmeric. Many of these spices have long been used in traditional medicine for various maladies.

The National Institutes of Health points to the benefits of clove and turmeric, for example, while also noting these findings are based on studies in animals.

Curry: It’s what’s for dinner — for heart health.