This spice is what gives curry its beautiful yellow color, and has been used for thousands of years in Indian and Asian cooking.
America has really just begun to recognize its medicinal properties.
These properties are compounds called curcuminoids, most commonly is curcumin, which contains vast amounts of health benefits. Whether it is in a tea, capsule, or as a spice in your everyday food, here are five reasons to start including turmeric into your diet.
1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, is known to be a strong anti-inflammatory and its effects match some of the popular over the counter drugs. Chronic, low levels of inflammation are known to be a contributor to many common Western Diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative conditions. Turmeric’s active ingredient fights inflammation at the molecular level, giving you all the benefits of pharmaceutical drugs without the side effects.
2. Aids in the Increase of the Body’s Own Antioxidant Capacity
Curcumin happens, also, to be a potent antioxidant, which is important to the body because it is what protects us from free radicals. What is even better, is that Curcumin stimulates the body’s own antioxidant enzyme’s activity. It becomes a “two-fer” against free radicals, blocking them directly and stimulating the body’s own antioxidant mechanisms.
3. Helps the control of Cancer Cells
There are many types of cancer, but there are some main commonalities between the numerous forms. Research studies have shown benefits of this turmeric herb in cancer treatment. Studies have shown, “it can affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level.” Curcumin leads to several changes inside the body that may help prevent, and perhaps one day, even treat cancer.
4. Plays a Role in Fighting Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is the most common neuro-degenerative disease with no good treatment available yet, so prevention is the most important aspect of fighting this disease. “Inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease and as we know, curcumin has beneficial effects on both. Curcumin is also known to cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease.” Whether the herb can slow down or reverse Alzheimer’s still needs to be studied more, but it has shown some improvements within the neurological disease.
5. Helps Reduce Joint Pain in Arthritis Sufferers
Arthritis is a common Western disorder that affects the joints of the body due to inflammation. Since Curcumin is such a potent anti-inflammatory, it makes sense that this spice would help those suffering from the many forms of arthritis. Some studies have shown that in some cases curcumin has been more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
Now that you know its benefits, how about a delicious recovery smoothie recipe from NOOMA to sip on after a hard weight lifting session or nice sweaty run?!
Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric & Ginger Smoothie from NOOMA
10 oz unsweetened almond milk
½ frozen banana
1 large handful of frozen peaches
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp chia seeds
1 tsp raw honey
A dash of fresh cracked pepper (a necessity to help your body absorb the curcumin!)*
Kris Gunnars, BSc
The Truth About Cancer