TURMERIC FOUND TO REDUCE BAD CHOLESTEROL
The health benefits of turmeric (Curcuma longa) continue to stack up. A recent study[i] found that turmeric (2,100mg a day for eight weeks) lowered body mass index (BMI) as well as ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol and other harmful blood fats in people with type 2 diabetes. Why? The researchers suggest it helps maintain activity of the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes.
EATING BLUEBERRIES CAN DECREASE BLOOD PRESSURE
Eating 200g of blueberries every day for a month can lead to an improvement in blood vessel function and a decrease in systolic blood pressure suggests recent research[ii]. In the study carried out by a team from King’s College London, a group of 40 healthy volunteers were given either a drink containing 200g of blueberries or a matched control drink. Effects on blood vessel function were seen two hours after the group had the blueberry drink and carried on for a month after.
Over the course of the month, blood pressure was reduced by 5mmHg, which is similar to what is seen in studies using blood pressure lowering medication. The control drink did not have any significant effect.
“Although it is best to eat the whole blueberry to get the full benefit, our study finds that the majority of the effects can be explained by anthocyanins,” said lead researcher Dr Ana Rodriguez-Mateos.”If the changes we saw in blood vessel function after eating blueberries every day could be sustained for a person’s whole life, it could reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease by up to 20%,” she added.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START TAKING CARE OF YOUR HEART
Brisk walking, running, cycling, dancing or other aerobic activities can protect against heart failure in later life. So says a new US study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association[iii] which showed that aerobic exercise four or five times a week starting in mid-life (45-64 years) can reverse the effects of a previous sedentary lifestyle on the heart. So it’s never too late to start moving!
FASCINATING PLANT FACTS
Did you know that nettles contain more calcium than milk or that aloe vera reduces indoor air pollution? Find out more fascinating facts about the hidden benefits of common garden plants in the soon to be published Root to Stem by medical herbalist, Alex Laird (Penguin Life, £9.99).
[ii] ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190220112211.htm