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What Are the Benefits of Curry Powder?

Curry, a mixed spice powder that is a staple of Indian cooking, may also have an array of health benefits. It contains turmeric, the spice that gives curry its familiar color and flavor. Although, more clinical research is needed, this food spice shows anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Adding curry powder to your dishes might help keep you healthy, along with a daily balanced diet.

The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that curry powder possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which might help ease a variety of conditions, particularly arthritis. Dr. Andrew Weil recommends turmeric for inflammatory conditions and says it contains more than 24 compounds that fight inflammation in the body.

The Indian population has a rate of Alzheimer’s disease that four times lower than the United States, according to Jeffrey Cole, a researcher at UCLA. Weil notes that Duke University reviewed 50 studies that showed turmeric might benefit Alzheimer’s disease. It appears to interfere with the formation of beta-amyloid, a harmful plaque that affects brain function in Alzheimer’s patients.

The NIH and the University of Maryland Medical Center both point to research that indicates turmeric helps aid in digestion and reduce disturbances such as heartburn, bloating and gas. The German Commission E, which reviews herbal treatments and decides which ones doctors may prescribe, approves turmeric for treating digestive problems. The University of Maryland Medical Center also notes that patients with ulcerative colitis taking turmeric along with conventional treatments had a lower rate of relapse than patients taking a placebo.

Turmeric has exhibited anticancer properties, according to Weil and the University of Maryland Medical Center. Both note turmeric helped kill or slow the growth of several types of cancers, including breast, colon, prostate, liver and skin. Its benefits appear to stem from multiple mechanisms, including its ability to block the growth of new blood vessels that feed the tumors and prevent cancer cells from forming in the first place. While results look promising, as of September 2010, the medical community must gather more research to fully determine its effects on people.

The University of Maryland Medical Center and the NIH say evidence has shown turmeric might lower levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol. This can prevent the buildup of plaque in the artery walls, known as atherosclerosis. Reducing high cholesterol levels is also important to help prevent high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.