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Yellow Spice May Protect Liver, Brain, Skin

Here’s a way to spice up your diet while keeping trim and boosting health: add curry. Or more specifically, turmeric (most curries’ main ingredient) which contains a compound called curcumin, shown to curb weight gain in animal studies. Tufts researchers looked at weight gain among rats fed a high-fat diet– with or without curcumin. Compared to the control group, the curcumin-fed rats gained 17% less weight than those on the simple high-fat diet after four months.
The takeaway is not that curcumin provides a license to splurge — the fat-plus-curcumin rats still ended up 8% heavier, while the fat-without-curcumin rats ended up 25% heavier. But the findings do suggest that the spice dramatically inhibits weight gain, possibly by inhibiting the vascular network needed to grow fat deposits. Though human studies are needed to confirm these results, there are plenty of other reasons to increase curry intake, possibly including reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, alcoholic liver disease, cystic fibrosis and melanoma.

Published July 1, 2009

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