By now you have probably heard of it. You’ve made a golden milk latte, added turmeric to your Daily Shake, or maybe even spotted it in your newest face mask. What is turmeric and why is it in every health product made these days? Turmeric benefits are comprehensive, and most are due to its active compound, curcumin.
A relative of ginger, turmeric is a golden yellow root, commonly ground into a spice we most often associate with Indian curry recipes. Here is why you should consider adding it to your diet or supplement regimen:
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants can fight molecules known as free radicals, which negatively affect cell health, and may reduce or help prevent some of the damage they cause. The more antioxidants in our diets, the better.
While some inflammation can be healthy (this is your body acknowledging that something is wrong and sending healing that way), chronic inflammation can lead to chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, neurological disease, autoimmune disease, diabetes II, arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin can lower the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. It has been shown to be as effective an anti-inflammatory agent as ibuprofen. It’s anti-inflammatory properties help ease symptoms caused by many diseases, like headaches and joint aches, and even help with allergies, pain, fatigue, mood and cognitive function.
Rates of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) are growing rapidly. Orally prescribed curcumin was shown to reduce bacteria for targeted therapy of inflammatory bowel disease, making it a wonderful addition to a 21-day Clean Program.
Curcumin has been shown to interrupt the normal progression of cancer cells. It seems to also inhibit tumor growth.
Turmeric has been shown to lower and regulate blood sugar by improving glucose tolerance. Curcumin can help stimulate hormones to offset blood sugar imbalances. This also makes it a potential game changer for diabetics with insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar.
Research suggests turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties make turmeric effective in treating skin conditions. It can help speed wound healing, calm the pores, and help control psoriasis flares.
Curcumin has been shown to have positive effects on brain function and memory by increasing levels of the brain hormone that boosts neuron growth and fights decay. It also helps break up amyloid plaques that form over the course of Alzheimer’s and can prevent them from re-forming.
PRO TIP: When consuming turmeric, pair it with black pepper. Black pepper contains a compound called piperine, which helps boost turmeric’s absorption from the digestive system into the bloodstream. Fat can also increase your body’s absorption of curcumin - so a healthy curry is a match made in turmeric heaven.
It’s important to remember that taking turmeric can be a very helpful addition to a healthy lifestyle. Keeping inflammation down where we want it involves eating a nutrient-dense diet, minimizing the consumption of sugar and processed foods, and moving regularly throughout the day.
Recipe and photos by Hannah Aylward
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