Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence - it is something I have learned a tremendous amount about, and it has helped me with my current fight.
Although it has been around for a very long time, Western cultures are just scratching the orange surface of its amazing health benefits. It is traditionally used as a spice in curry, and even though I use it in cooking all the time, I also take it in a supplement form.
Here are some evidence-based health benefits of the mighty spice:
Contains Powerful Medicinal Properties
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color, and has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Recently, science has started to support what the Indians have known for a very long time. The compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and acts as an extremely strong antioxidant.
I usually add black pepper or peppercorns when cooking with turmeric, and my supplement contains curcuminoids and piperine - this enhances the absorption of cur cumin.
Although short-term inflammation is beneficial to us, it can become a major problem when it is chronic. In fact, it is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions. Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases. It turns out that curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory, and is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs.
Curcumin actually targets the inflammatory pathway at the molecular level. Curcumin blocks something called NF-kB, a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. NF-kB is believed to play a major role in many chronic diseases.
Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind many diseases and the aging process. It involves free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals tend to react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins, and DNA.
The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial, is that they protect our bodies from free radicals - curcumin happens to be a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure, while also boosting the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
Lowers Heart Disease Risk
Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world. Although there are many contributing factors, curcumin has been shown to reverse many steps in the heart disease process. The spice has been shown to improve the lining of the blood vessels in the heart, and in fact, one study shows that is as effective as exercise.
Cancer Prevention & Treatment
There are many different forms of cancer, but they do have several commonalities, some of which appear to be affected by curcumin supplementation. Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment, and as I mentioned before, it has been helping me with my fight.
It can postively deter growth, development, and spread at the molecular level. Also, studies have shown that it can reduce growth of new blood vessels in tumors, in addition to contributing to apoptosis, which is the death of cancerous cells.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia. Unfortunately, no good treatment is available for Alzheimer’s yet, therefore, prevention is important. There may be good news on the horizon, because curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. It is known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, and as we know, curcumin has beneficial effects on both.