Scientists believe that turmeric, an aromatic spice, may help prevent weight gain.
To arrive at their conclusions, scientists from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University fed high-fat diets to two groups of mice for 12 weeks. One of the groups also received supplementation of 500 mg of curcumin, a polyphenol found in turmeric, per 1 kg of food.
The researchers found that the mice whose diet was enriched with curcumin did not gain as much weight as the control animals.
Dr. Mohsen Meydani, director of the Vascular Biology Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA, and the study’s senior author, says weight gain is possible through the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) that in turns allows for the expansion of fat tissue.
He says, "Based on our data, curcumin appears to suppress angiogenic activity in the fat tissue of mice fed high-fat diets."
Turmeric is a perennial herb related to ginger, and native to tropical South Asia. It has been known for centuries in natural medicine for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition.