Orange is the New Prozac
A quintessential spice in curry, a sister to ginger a prized component of culinary traditions in India and Asia…and a cancer combatant?
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow colour. It has been a staple in Indian culture for thousands of years, used both in their cuisine, and as a medicinal herb. Many studies have shown that turmeric has major benefits for your body and brain.
The most important medical compound in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
Curcumin is Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation helps the body fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage. While short-term inflammation can be beneficial, chronic, long-term inflammation can lead to heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions.
As it turns out, curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory, enough so, that it’s been said to match the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs. Curcumin inhibits many molecules known to play major roles in inflammation.
Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of the Body
Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases.
Free radicals tend to react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA. Free radical damage at a cellular level can lead to cancer.
Antioxidants rid our bodies of free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that has the ability to neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure.
Protects And Improves Your Brain Function
Aromatic turmerone or ar-turmerone is another compound (lesser studied) in turmeric that has been found to repair stem cells in the brain. A recent study revealed that the compound could potentially be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases in the future.
Can Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading killer in the United States and affects an estimated 14 million adults. It’s the second leading cause of death in Canada, claiming more than 48,000 lives in 2012.
Curcumin may help reverse many steps in the heart disease process. Curcumin improves the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is a main driver of heart complications, inhibiting regulated blood pressure and blood clotting.
In one study, 121 patients who were undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery were randomized to either placebo or 4 grams of curcumin per day, a few days before and after the surgery.
The curcumin group had a 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack in the hospital.
Over 2000 studies have found that curcumin combats cancer of the breast, prostate, liver, colon, lung, pancreas and more. The studies have also shown that curcumin stops cancer cells from dividing, and triggers cell death. It has the ability to kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cancer cells unharmed.
Though research is still just, well, research, scientists have been trying to pinpoint exactly what it is about curcumin that fights depression. They found that curcumin is a natural inhibitor of monoamine oxidase, an enzyme that at high levels, is linked to depression, and it also blocks the release of substances known as cytokines, which can cause imbalance in your body’s stress reactions.
Given that curcumin is anti-inflammatory, it makes sense that it would help fight inflammation of the joints. In a study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug. Arthritis is a common issue in Western Countries.
Whether you have the root, spice powder, or a supplement, turmeric is definitely a spice you need in your kitchen. It’s sickness-fighting properties are too great to ignore. Anti-cancer, anti-Alzheimer’s, anti-depression, anti-heart disease…Need we say more?