Spices have been our food and medicine for thousands of years, but a new study sheds light on their medicinal properties.
Curry is a magical blend of spices that has been a staple in Indian homes for centuries and its use has spread throughout Asia and the world. While there are endless combinations, most curries blend turmeric, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, or clove with garlic, onion and red chilies.
In 2013, a group of Japanese researchers demonstrated that a single serving of curry improves the function of the lining of the arteries after a meal (post-prandial). That’s when blood sugar levels rise and the delicate “endothelial lining” of the arteries, just one cell layer thick, suffers oxidative damage and looses its elasticity. As a result, the vessels contract, setting the stage for high blood pressure, plaque build up and heart disease.
The study’s authors state “Curry consumption ameliorates postprandial endothelial dysfunction and may be beneficial for preventing cardiovascular events. Lifestyle-related diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus have become serious health problems in the modern world. Curry may be helpful in the fight against those lifestyle-related diseases."
Fortunately, these “invigorating” spices in curry have antioxidant properties that help heal that oxidative damage, improve blood flow through the arteries and keep them relaxed and open, rather than contracted and hard.
Unfortunately, the SAD (Standard American Diet) promotes the exact opposite: contraction and hardening of the arteries.
Given that heart disease is still the #1 killer in the US, it’s time we spice up our diets with curry. And I’ve got a recipe for you to do just that!
This recipe was demonstrated to me by a chef at the famed Lancaster, Massachusetts Ayurvedic center almost 30 years ago and I’ve been making it ever since. The delicate red lentils cook quickly and are easier to digest than brown or green lentils. (Feel free to soak them for a few hours in advance of cooking if you have the time; soaking and cooking break down the lectins present in the lentils, making them more digestible).
By eating curries on a regular basis, you’ll be doing your part to help reduce heart disease and diabetes in the process!
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