Turmeric -The Wonder Spice

 

turmericTurmeric is probably the most effective spice that exists. It is a bright yellow colored spice that is acquired from the Curcuma Longa plant which originates from the Ginger family, which is another powerful spice. There are at least 10 main health benefits of turmeric:

1. Curcumin Contains Powerful medicinal properties. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and as a medicinal spice. Turmeric contains compounds with medicinal properties. These compounds are called cucuminoids of which the most effective one is curcumin.

Curcumin is the main active ingredients in turmeric. It is a very powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.   However, the content of turmeric is not very high, only about 3%. So sprinkling turmeric in your food or drink won’t be effective.

To experience the full effects of turmeric, then you need to take an extract that contains at least 95% curcuminoids. Since curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, make sure that the turmeric supplement or extract has black pepper in it, also called piperine, which is a natural substand that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%. It’s also important to take curcumin with a fatty meal since it is fat soluble.

2. Curcumin is an Anti-Inflammatory.  A lot of people think that inflammation in the body is a bad thing, but it’s actually beneficial because it helps the body fight foreign invaders and also helps to repair damage to our tissues. Without inflammation, pathogens could easily take over our bodies and kill us.

The problem with inflammation is when it is long term and is turns against one’s own body. Inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic disease, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative conditions. Therefore, anything that can fight chronic inflammation is beneficial in treating and preventing diseases. Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory. It targets multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway at the molecular level.

3. Curcumin Significantly Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of the Body.  The main reason antioxidants are so important to the human body is because it protects it from free radicals. Free radicals can built up in cells and cause damage to other molecules, such as DNA, lipids, proteins, etc. This damage can lead to cancer and other diseases.

Curcumin protects the body by 2 ways. First, it is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals from damaging cells. Second, it can also boost the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

4. Curcumin Improves Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases. There is a hormone called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. This BDNF hormone helps the brain to multiply and increase the number of neurons, along with forming new connections. Many brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of BDNF, including depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

Curcumin can increase brains levels of BDNF, and by doing this it can delay and in some cases reverse many brain and age-related decreases in brain function.

5. Curcumin Lowers Your Risk of Heart Disease. The main benefits of curcumin when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the linking of the blood vessels. When the endothelial is not functioning properly, then it has a hard time regulating blood pressure, blooding clotting, and other factors related to blood.

Curcumin can improve endothelial function and is as effective as exercise and the drug, Atorvastatin, but without side effects. It also reduces inflammation and oxidation which are both very important in heart disease.

6. Turmeric Can Help Prevent Cancer. Cancer is basically an uncontrolled growth of cells which keeps other “healthy” cells from functioning properly.

Curcumin can reduce the angiogenesis which is the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, it can reduce metastasis (spread of cancer), and can contribute to the death of cancerous cells. Curcumin may even help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place. As a preventative measure, my family and I take 900mg of Turmeric, with 95% curcuminoids and black pepper every day.   The picture associated with this post is the bottle that we use.

7. Curcumin May Prevent and Treat Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia. Unfortunately, there is not good treatment for it yet. Preventing it from happening is very important.

Curcumin has shown to cross the blood-brain barrier which not many drugs can do that. Inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin has beneficial effects on both of these.

One key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of protein called Amyloid plaques. Curcumin can help clear these plagues. It is not known at this time whether curcumin can slow down or reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s.

8. Curcumin Supplements Help People Who Have Arthritis. Arthritis involves inflammation of the joints. Since curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory, it would help with the arthritis inflammation.

9. Curcumin Helps Fight Depression. Depression is linked to reduced levels of BDNF and a shrinking hippocampus, an area of the brain related to learning and memory. Studies have shown that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin (lower levels are linked to depression) and dopamine (helps control the brain’s rewards and pleasure centers).

10. Curcumin May Help Delay Aging and Fight Age-Related Chronic Diseases. Oxidation and inflammation play a role in aging. Since we know that curcumin plays a great role in combating oxidation and inflammation, it will slow down the aging process. I’m not saying that curcumin will “keep you young forever.” But it will combat some of the harmful effects of unhealthy habits, poor environment, etc that may speed up the aging process

 

*Side note: Keep in mind that certain supplements, including those made from turmeric, can interact with other medications. For example, turmeric may slow blood clotting, so people taking drugs with the same effect, like anticoagulants, should be cautious about taking turmeric supplements. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

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