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Originally published November 11 2013

Antioxidant turmeric and laurel leaf extracts reduce hardening of arteries, says science

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A simple way to help naturally lower inflammation and protect your body against atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries, is to supplement with turmeric and laurel leaf extract. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that these two popular culinary herbs possess a unique ability to naturally decrease blood sugar, lower cholesterol and prevent the buildup of arterial plaque, which can lead to heart disease.

To arrive at this conclusion, researchers from Yeungnam University's School of Biotechnology in South Korea tested the effects of turmeric and laurel in zebrafish which were intentionally fed a high cholesterol diet (HCD). Some of the fish received the extracts, while the rest did not, and various markers of health among these two groups were evaluated, including comparisons of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, uptake of oxidized LDL into cellular macrophages and free radical scavenging ability.

Compared to zebrafish that did not consume the extracts, those that received either turmeric or laurel experienced a 14 percent or 12 percent decrease, respectively, in their overall weight and height ratios. The turmeric and laurel groups also experienced a respective 48 percent and 28 percent reduction in cholesterol levels, as well as a respective 68 percent and 56 percent decrease in plasma triglycerides.

Via these multiple pathways, both turmeric and laurel were found to help significantly decrease the overall incidence of atherosclerosis among zebrafish fed high-cholesterol diets, a powerful finding that appears to have strong implications for human health as well. Including both turmeric and laurel in your normal diet, in other words, could help you avoid developing hardened arteries and later heart disease.

"[T]he hydrophilic [water-based] extracts of turmeric and laurel potently suppressed the incidence of atherosclerosis via a strong antioxidant potential, prevention of apolipoprotein A-I glycation and LDL phagocytosis, and inhibition of CETP [cholesteryl ester transfer protein]," concluded the authors. "Consumption of turmeric and laurel extracts exhibited hypolipidemic and antioxidant activities in a hypercholesterolemic zebrafish model."

Incorporate laurel leaves, turmeric into your diet for improved health

Laurel leaves, which are often referred to simply as bay leaves, are commonly used in cooking to add flavor to soups, stews, meats, seafood and vegetable dishes. Laurel leaf extract is also frequently used as a fragrance and skin conditioning agent, not to mention its extensive history in Middle Eastern folk medicine as a treatment for diarrhea and other gastrointestinal conditions and disorders.

And turmeric, which has received considerable attention as of late due to its incredible medicinal potency, is widely available in both powder and extract form. A member of the ginger family, turmeric is commonly used in Indian cooking, and many natural health advocates regularly supplement with it to boost immunity, improve liver function, promote healthy joints, strengthen digestion and protect against cancer.

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