The evidence for including turmeric in your diet just keeps growing, as scientists now claim that the substance can reduce your chance of developing diabetes.
Curcumin, found in turmeric, could help prevent obesity and diabetes
Curcumin, the substance which gives turmeric its hallmark yellow colouring, is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and has already been hailed for its numerous health benefits.
However, the medicinal properties of curcumin cannot be fully utilised due to its limited bioavailability in the body. Eating a curry with the spice will not do the trick- to be as effective as medicine you would have to consume several spoonfuls of turmeric in one dose.
To overcome this problem, researchers in India combined turmeric with extracts from onion skin and black pepper, which can ensure greater availability of curcumin when consumed.
This combination goes by the acronym CPQ- curcumin, piperine (derived from black pepper) and quercetin (found in onion).
Under laboratory conditions, scientists found that CPQ was able to manage changes in blood glucose, body weight, cholesterol, triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Writing in the journal ISRN Pharmacology, they believe that the ingredient offers a biochemical mechanism that inhibits glucose uptake. Co-author of the study Ginpreet Kaur, from the School of Pharmacy and Technology Management in Mumbai, said:
"Our findings indicate CPQ significantly decreases glucose transport, causing a decrease in its uptake.
It is probably due to presence of flavonoids in the combination which get attached to glucose transporters."
This is one of the first studies to explore the anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant and lipid-lowering properties of Curcumin. However, more work needs to be done to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the combination.
A recent study in Thailand showed that curcumin could help ward off heart attacks in people who have had recent bypass surgery.
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