Turmeric – is this a natural wonder drug ?
It is said that turmeric is arguably the most powerful spice on the planet for fighting and potentially reversing disease. For many of us it hardly factors in our lives and we certainly have no clue how to incorporate it into our diets. Well I am here to tell you that there is no need to be scared of this gangly, orange worm of a root. I have spent the last few weeks getting to know this spice and have really felt the benefits and grown to enjoy its taste too.
Turmeric comes from the Curcuma Longa plant which grows in India and Southeast Asian countries. The dried root of the plant is ground into the distinctive yellow powder that you may be familiar with in cooking curries and the like. Although it has several chemical compounds known as curcuminoids in it, the most active of these is curcumin. In over 10,000 studies it finds that turmeric benefits equal to many conventional medicines infact a number of studies have reported that they are more advantageous than certain prescription drugs.
Now for the science, but if that is not your thing then please scroll down a bit !
This is a general top 12 list of benefits of turmeric that can out trump medication:-
Anticoagulants/Antiplatelets – may be effective in slowing blood clotting.
Antidepressant – it has been said that it is more effective than prozac in cases of those with mild depression.
Anti-inflammatory – it is a proven powerful anti-inflammatory.
Skin conditions – speeds up wound healing, calming pores to decrease acne and scarring and controls psoriasis.
Arthritis management – very effective due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties.
Cancer treatment – there is research out there showing curcumin may be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more growing. It is most effective in breast, bowel, stomach and skin cancer cells.
Diabetes management – curcumin helps lower blood sugar and reverse many issues related to insulin resistance and hyperglycaemia.
Obesity – may help surpress the inflammatory processes of obesity and promote weight loss naturally.
Gastrointestinal treatment – helps heal the gut and support growth of good bacteria (probiotics) and reduce inflammation.
Cholesterol regulator – reduces oxidative stress which damages the inside of the blood vessels which in turn if encouraged leads to cholesterol build up and increased levels of LDL cholesterol.
Painkiller – naturally activates the opioid system which is our bodies natural response to pain relief.
Steroid – it is shown to be statistically comparable to steroids but with a drastically reduced amount of side effects.
Taking turmeric with black pepper better improves its absorbability throughout the body and it increases the bioavailability of the turmeric by 154% so this is well worth doing every time you eat it. Doses of 2-6g of curcumin are typically used for therapeutic studies but its a tall order to eat that much every day. To give you an example, in order to eat 3g of curcumin in turmeric powder form, you would need to eat about 3 oz of that golden powder which is a lot to eat each day even if you do love indian food !! So I have given it a two sided approach and increased eating fresh turmeric and tried supplementation too by taking a capsule each day (I love Pukka’s Wholistic Turmeric).
Now, although alot of the research sited has taken place in mice, I for one am not going to say no to a spice that is a powerful anti-oxidant, may stave off inflammation and possibly can alter our body composition for the better with zero calories, well I think thats worth taking note of.
For some ideas of how to incorporate this golden root into you diet see my next post with recipes I have found that have been successful with my family over the past few weeks.
Please note that curcumin is a potential anticoagulant so those needing to take care should consult their physician before taking it medicinally. Obviously it goes without saying that one should always consult a Physician before altering medications or before taking large doses of herbs and spices but it may be worth further research into Curcumin and its health benefits if you have any of the health issues mentioned above.