Why Turmeric Should Be Included In Your Diet!
Turmeric receives a lot of attention for its health benefits and deservedly so!
The wide spectrum of both culinary and medicinal uses of this vibrant yellow powder has been known since ancient times and even today is widely employed in both Ayurveda, Traditional Indian Medicine (TIM) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to support digestion, immunity, circulation, liver detoxification and heart health.
And science is now backing up what many cultures have known for centuries – this healing spice is truly a miracle medicinal root! And with this evidence in hand, we are now seeing much more widespread use of turmeric in the treatment of a number of conditions including:
- Blood clots (prevention)
- Digestive issues
- Atherosclerosis (plaquing of the arteries)
- Pain Syndromes
- Surgery Recovery
- High Cholesterol
- Bacterial and viral infections
- Menstrual issues
Curcumin, the active substance found in turmeric, is most known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. However, this potent herb hosts a number of additional health benefits including anti-cancer, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties.
Did you know that research confirms that turmeric reduces inflammation and pain as effectively as NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin, aspirin, etc.)? And without any of the side effects! Even more interesting is that by reducing the inflammation in your body you will reverse and/or prevent many of the health conditions listed!
More recent studies are showing that turmeric may also be an effective treatment for depression. According to a study published in 2014,
“curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders.”
A study published just this month in Science Daily found that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, in combination with silymarin, a flavonoid compound found in milk thistle, may be an effective treatment for colon cancer. According to Uthayashanker Ezekiel, Associate Professor at Saint Louis University and one of the authors of the research paper
“The combination of phytochemicals inhibited colon cancer cells from multiplying and spreading. In addition, when the colon cancer cells were pre-exposed to curcumin and then treated with silymarin, the cells underwent a high amount of cell death.”
The paper goes on to note
“Phytochemicals showing synergistic activity may be more advantageous than traditional chemotherapy. Even though chemotherapy eliminates tumor cells, it leads to several side effects. In addition, both chemo- and radio-therapy have been shown to cause epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) that subsequently resulted in metastasis of the tumor. Phytochemicals offer alternate therapeutic approaches to cancer treatments and avoid toxic states and side effects manifested by chemotherapeutic agents.”
As research continues to prove the many health benefits associated with the consumption of turmeric, let’s not forget about its place on the kitchen spice rack!
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and is derived from the rhizome (underground stem) of the Curcuma longa plant. It is native to Indonesia and southern India and is a key ingredient in many Indian, Persian and Thai dishes. So it is no wonder that turmeric is used in a variety of foods for both its color and flavor.
Cool Turmeric Tidbits:
- Happily, turmeric is once again replacing artificial food dye yellow #5 as the coloring agent in mustard.
- To get the most out of turmeric, combine it with black pepper. Black pepper contains piperine, a substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by an astonishing 1000%!