Turmeric: The Super Spice
Looking to include more superfoods in your diet? Allow us to introduce you to turmeric.
While less commonly used in the United States, turmeric is a mainstay within Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Its yellow color and mild flavor make it a great substitute for saffron, and it gives curry powder its distinctive color.
But turmeric isn’t just useful in the kitchen. Its medicinal properties have been known for centuries, if not millennia. A staple in traditional herbal medicine, turmeric has been used to treat everything from arthritis to digestive complaints.
So…what health properties does this superfood possess?
Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Turmeric
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is what gives turmeric its brilliant yellow color…but it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
How does curcumin fight inflammation?
First, let’s talk for a moment about the difference between short term (or acute) inflammation and long term (or chronic) inflammation.
Acute inflammation is your body’s normal reaction to injury or illness. It’s an important part of the healing process because it promotes blood flow to affected areas of the body.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is a different story. When inflammation lasts for too long, it can damage cells within the body. This damage can cause more inflammation, which can cause more cellular damage (and on and on). It becomes a vicious cycle.
Illnesses caused by chronic inflammation include arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, pancreatitis, obesity, and some forms of cancer…to name just a few.
Current research suggests curcumin works to reduce inflammation because it acts on the immune cells that initiate this inflammatory response. It does this in two ways:
- It regulates the signaling pathways that trigger inflammation.
- It restricts the production of inflammatory mediators (the messengers that trigger the inflammatory response).
Antioxidant Properties of Turmeric
Humans (and other animals) need oxygen to live. But during respiration, your metabolism produces reactive oxygen molecules that can damage DNA and cause cells to breakdown. These reactive molecules are known as “free radicals”.
The curcumin in turmeric works by blocking the oxidation of metals in your body, thereby neutralizing the effects of free radicals.
How effective is turmeric as an antioxidant? Research indicates that turmeric is:
- 5-8 times more effective than vitamin E.
- 10 times more effective than vitamin C.
- More powerful than well-known antioxidants like grapeseed and capsaicin.
Specific Health Benefits of Turmeric
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics of turmeric provide a wide range of proven health benefits. These include:
- Improved mental acuity
- Reduced arthritis pain
- Digestive tract conditions
- Type 2 diabetes
Clinical trials have shown improved mental performance in adults who took curcumin daily for 18 months. This was attributed to reduced brain cell inflammation and less damage from free radicals.
Other studies suggest turmeric may also delay the onset and progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Turmeric has been used for centuries by traditional eastern medicine to treat arthritis pain. Recent studies confirm its ability to reduce joint inflammation and pain without the side effects associated with prescription medications.
Research has shown that turmeric reduces the pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It may also be useful in the treatment of other illnesses affecting the digestive tract such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric make it a powerful anti-cancer agent. Research has shown that it actively interferes with the growth of cancer cells, prevents pre-cancerous cells from becoming malignant, and prevents tumors from spreading.
Turmeric helps to regulate blood sugar in addition to fighting inflammation. Studies have shown that pre-diabetic adults who take turmeric daily reduce their odds of developing diabetes.
At Renew Youth, your health is our priority. We offer wellness solutions ranging from hormone therapy to supplements so you can find your New You. To get started, call us today at 800-859-7511 or use our convenient contact form to schedule your free consultation.