A spice extract that gives color to curry may also have another, healthier benefit – lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
A limited study of 240 adults examined the effect of curcumin, which is found in turmeric, on people who had prediabetes. None of the participants were taking medications for diabetes.
Turmeric is already well-known as a healing spice in Ayurvedic medicine, and considered an effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Inflammation is one part of the chain reaction in the body when blood sugar gets too high, insulin production is stimulated, and a cycle continues that can lead to diabetes.
One group took six supplement capsules of curcumin a day for nine months, and none of those participants developed diabetes. Those people also lost weight and inches around their waists.
Another group took a placebo for nine months. Of those participants, 16.4% developed diabetes during the study time.
Researchers think the supplement worked by improving the function of the pancreas, which produces the insulin necessary to regulate blood sugar.
Earlier research already supported that curcumin was a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Some research showed it can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and prevent the build-up of plaques, which can lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric is commonly used in India – and that country also has one of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s in the world.