Turmeric. It sounds exotic, right? In fact, this ancient spice has been used in India for thousands of years to both flavor and color dishes and treat a host of different ailments, from wounds to cancer.
Turmeric is considered one of the world's superfoods for a good reason – its natural anti-inflammatory properties can help decrease pain, heal wounds and relieve many different health conditions from the inside out.
In fact, recent studies have shown that curcumin, an active compound found in turmeric, has antidepressant effects comparable to Prozac or other medication with fewer side effects. Plus, unlike most drugs prescribed for this purpose, curcumin comes with little to no negative side effects whatsoever.
In this article, we will look at all of the amazing anti-inflammatory health benefits of turmeric.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the Curcuma longa plant. The roots of this herb are dried and ground into a deep orange powder that has been used in Indian cooking for hundreds of years.
The scientific name for turmeric, Curcuma longa, comes from the Latin word "curcumae," which means saffron. In fact, both saffron and turmeric have strikingly similar flavors and aromas.
This powerful herb is part of the ginger family, making it related to cardamom, galangal, zedoary, and other exotic spices that might be less familiar to most people.
Turmeric has historically been included in Asian dishes throughout its range in South Asia, notably in India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.
The History of Turmeric
Turmeric has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat a variety of different ailments, from sprains and arthritis to skin conditions and dysentery.
Turmeric was also thought to be capable of stimulating bile production and improving absorption and assimilation of nutrients.
In addition to its medicinal uses, in Asia, turmeric was utilized as a dye for clothing and other materials—particularly cotton such as shawls, scarves, and saris. In fact, the color yellow (which is produced by turmeric) was associated with royalty because it required so much saffron to produce.
Turmeric was eventually popularized in the West by Ayurvedic practitioners, who brought the spice with them to Europe and America starting in the early nineteenth century. Today, turmeric can be found at most grocery stores that sell spices—and it has even made its way into restaurants around the world!
What are Curcuminoids?
Curcuminoids are chemical compounds found in turmeric that give this herb its distinctive bright yellow color. There are three main curcuminoids: curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin.
While all three of these curcuminoids are found in turmeric, they are not all equally bioavailable. Curcumin is actually the most bioavailable, making up roughly 3-4 percent of turmeric's dry weight.
The curcuminoids found in turmeric give this spice powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. While there are other spices that can act as natural anti-inflammatories, none of them compare to the power of curcuminoids—especially when it comes to relieving pain.
Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is one of nature's most potent antioxidants. Curcuminoids work by neutralizing free radicals and stopping lipid peroxidation. They also regulate inflammatory pathways within the body.
In addition to this, curcumin has been shown to induce programmed cell death in some types of cancer cells—while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Some early research shows that this herb might be able to protect against liver damage, too.
Turmeric can relieve pain and inflammation because it contains a chemical called curcumin that targets several different molecular pathways responsible for causing these conditions. Curcumin blocks one specific molecule (JNK) that is responsible for creating long-term chronic inflammation.
Curcumin is what is known as a biphasic compound, meaning that it "pairs" with certain enzymes that help activate it. This is critical to understand because pairing with the correct enzymes will ensure that curcumin delivers its health benefits without causing damage to healthy cells and tissues—as can be seen in many conventional anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil and Motrin.
Curcumin also helps to boost levels of glutathione, a crucial antioxidant needed by nearly every cell in your body for protection against free radicals and oxidative stress.
Turmeric And Cancer Prevention
Since scientists have discovered that curcumin is able to halt or slow cancer growth by preventing blood vessel formation, inhibiting the transformation of healthy cells into tumorous ones, and fighting oxidative stress, they're now eagerly exploring various ways to harness its potential as a cancer-fighting agent.
In one study, curcumin was found to reduce the growth of prostate cancer tumors by more than 70 percent! While this is still a relatively early discovery, further research will likely continue to explore the anti-cancer properties of turmeric.
Turmeric And Heart Disease
Curcumin is able to reduce plaque buildup in the arteries, which contributes to heart disease. It can also break up existing plaques and prevent new ones from forming—all while reducing LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and triglycerides.
Turmeric has also been shown to help fight against cardiovascular diseases such as congestive heart failure and vasodilation.
Turmeric And Diabetes Prevention/Treatment
Turmeric reduces the number of inflammatory molecules released by immune cells that contribute to insulin resistance and its progression into full-blown type 2 diabetes. It has been shown to improve glycemic control and reduce oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes.
It's important to note that the effects of turmeric on blood sugar control and insulin resistance depend on how much you currently eat—the more high-sugar foods and refined carbs you consume, the less curcumin will be able to do its job.
How To Get More Turmeric
The best way to ensure that your body gets enough curcumin daily would be eating turmeric regularly—ideally fresh root (the plant looks like ginger). However, you must remember that curcumin is fat-soluble, which means it has to be eaten with healthy fats in order to get absorbed.
While turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory compound of its own, consuming it with black pepper can significantly increase its absorption rates, thanks to piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper.
That's why our turmeric gold booster has black pepper in it. You can see the sediment in the bottom of our bottles (which many people think is mold!) and you need to shake it before drinking it. It's the best way to make sure you get all the health benefits of turmeric.
Besides all this, you can cook your food in coconut oil or add a few teaspoons of freshly grated turmeric to smoothies, soups, salads, and stir fry—just make sure you use healthy fats such as olive oil when cooking or heating. Otherwise, it will lose a lot of its health benefits.
Turmeric tea is also a great way to enjoy the benefits while adding other superfoods into your diet. Add some ground ginger and cinnamon while boiling water for an antioxidant-packed cup of tea.
Just remember that a daily quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric is the recommended dose - in addition to whatever other (salt-free) herbs and spices, you enjoy. In fact, spices don't just make food taste better; they make food better for you.
We encourage you to keep a well-stocked spice cabinet and make a habit to add spices to any dish you might be eating, but if you won't otherwise consume turmeric in your daily diet, at CPRESS, we offer a powerful anti-inflammatory Turmeric booster that can help you reap all the health benefits of this powerful superfood.
If there were ever such things as a magic pill, single-ingredient, ground turmeric root would probably come closest.
So order now and start enjoying a healthier, more energetic way of life today!
GREAT TASTE & EFFECT
“Firstly, I love the taste of the Tumeric Gold Booster! They really wake me up with a zing. But mainly I drink them as I feel so much better...making my joings feel smoother and even making my eyes brighter. I picked the order up at a local shop which was a really efficient solution.”
This article was contributed by Sarra Turki