- Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can fight chronic inflammation associated with heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and degenerative conditions.
- Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals and boost the body’s ability to make antioxidant enzymes.
- Dieticians at the Mayo Clinic recommend turmeric to combat obesity, arthritis, and Type 2 diabetes.
- Turmeric enhances serotonin and dopamine to lower stress and anxiety.
East Meets West
Turmeric is an ancient Eastern spice that can help our fight against Western diseases and chronic conditions. Used in India for thousands of years as a medicinal and culinary herb, turmeric is what gives curry its bright yellow color. With the recent focus on reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, turmeric has been extensively studied for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Turmeric, which can be used as a culinary spice or in supplement form, is proven to lower oxidative stress, promote digestion, and decrease inflammation.
Turmeric is inexpensive, widely available, and has been used throughout the world to safely reduce symptoms of a variety of physical ailments.
Why does inflammation matter?
Inflammation is associated with every major disease, from heart disease to cancer. In the short term, acute inflammation is actually beneficial to the body as a natural defense against foreign bacteria and viruses. Inflammation is also associated with repairing damage to muscles and tissues. However, long-term, chronic inflammation is a different story.
Chronic inflammation is often subtle and produces fatigue, pain, and digestive issues. With chronic inflammation, the body can suffer DNA damage and attack its own tissues, so fighting this kind of inflammation is important.
Chronic, low-level inflammation is associated with heart disease, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s.
Turmeric, a natural anti-inflammatory and powerful adaptogen, has been recommended by dieticians at the Mayo Clinicto combat obesity, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and conditions caused by inflammation. Turmeric contains curcuminoids, anti-inflammatory compounds that are safe and effective with no side effects.
What about oxidation? Why are antioxidants so important?
Oxidative damage is one of the causes of aging and disease. It involves free radicals, a natural by-product of many of the body’s common biochemical reactions such as metabolism and immune responses. Free radicals can also come from environmental toxins. They steal electrons from parts of cells in proteins and DNA. When the electrons leave the cell and join the free radical, that process is called oxidation.
So why is oxidation so damaging? When free radicals oxidize important parts of the cell, that cell can no longer function the way it was intended. This damage can cause the cell to die and lead to nerve injury and disease.
Antioxidants are compounds that can react with free radicals to neutralize them. Here’s how it works: a free radical is missing an electron, but before it can steal one from another healthy cell, an antioxidant donates an electron to the free radical. Once the free radical gets this electron from the antioxidant, it is stabilized and no longer a threat to healthy cells. Increasing antioxidant availability can prevent or slow down the disease process by reducing the number of free radicals in the body.
Turmeric boosts our immune system by preventing oxidative cell damage caused by free radicals.
Is a simple spice really effective against both inflammation and free radicals?
Yes! Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Consider one condition highly associated with inflammation: arthritis. The curcumin in turmeric is such a powerful anti-inflammatory that it has been shown to improve arthritis symptoms. There are several types of arthritis, but most of them involve inflammation of the joints. In one study, curcumin was proven more powerful than a pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory treatment against rheumatoid arthritis. It also caused no adverse side effects. In another study, curcumin was shown to be highly effective in managing and treating osteoarthritis.
Curcumin can fight the inflammation associated with a variety of diseases and chronic conditions. More studies are suggesting that by adding turmeric to our diets, we may be proactively preventing issues caused by inflammation or reducing their symptoms.
And free radicals? The curcumin in turmeric is an antioxidant, so it can neutralize free radicals. Not only that, but curcumin also boosts the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. So not only do the compounds in turmeric act as antioxidants, but they also stimulate the body to create even more antioxidants. It does all of this safely and effectively, without any adverse side effects.
Does turmeric have any other superpowers I should know about?
It does! Besides strengthening our immune system, turmeric is a powerful nootropic, which means that it promotes brain health and reduces stress and anxiety.
Turmeric enhances the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which reduce depression and improve mood. It can be taken during the day to reduce the effects of stress at work, school, and in athletic performance. Turmeric is also beneficial for rest, so adding it to milk before bed is a great way to calm our minds and bodies to prepare for sleep. Research has shown that turmeric could be a safe anti-depressant as concern grows about the side effects of some pharmaceuticals.
Turmeric also boosts BDNF levels (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which means improved learning capacity and memory. Ongoing studies show curcumin has the potential to fight against Alzheimer’s by both reducing inflammation and clearing amyloid plaque build-up.
How can I get more turmeric in my life?
One thing to consider when adding turmeric to our diets is that curcumin is best absorbed if it is combined with black pepper. When looking at supplements, drinks, and recipes that contain turmeric, make sure that black pepper is included for maximum efficacy.
Consider experimenting with turmeric in your everyday diet by adding it to milk before bed, cooking Eastern recipes, or including supplements such as antioxidant drinks. There are no side effects, and we could all use the boost to our physical and mental health!