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You’ve probably had it before, especially if you like Indian food, although you’re probably not that familiar with this spice that has been around for centuries. Turmeric has some serious, scientifically proven benefits. It is an excellent example of how some of the most powerful healing substances are actually in your kitchen, not your medicine cabinet. After reading why Turmeric is such a special ingredient, pretty soon you could see yourself sprinkling it on every one of your dishes.
WHAT MAKES TURMERIC BRIGHT YELLOW?
Turmeric owes its characteristic bright yellow colour to Curcumin; it’s key medicinal property. The numerous therapeutic applications associated with Turmeric all stem from Curcumin, a powerful antioxidant. The high cost and adverse effects associated with drugs containing Curcumin has encouraged the use of alternative options, hence the heightened interest in Turmeric in its natural form.
WHY IS TURMERIC CONSIDERED NATURE’S WONDER DRUG?
Poor health is related to something known as oxidative damage. It is for this reason why antioxidants are such a crucial part of optimal health. They are natural substances that can stop or limit the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals’ damage is directly linked to chronic health problems such as cardiovascular and inflammatory disease, cataract, and even cancer. Turmeric is bursting full of antioxidants and helps fight off those disease-causing free radicals.
The body generates hundreds of substances called free radicals when converting food to energy. Free radicals are a group of atoms that has an unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive. They latch onto stable molecules and steal the electrons. Once that happens, the molecule becomes unstable, too, which damages healthy cells and can result in disease. Free radicals may be formed through natural physiological processes as well as the environment. They may be the result of diet, stress, smoking, alcohol, exercise, inflammation, drugs or exposure to sunlight and air pollution.
The Curcumin within Turmeric is both full of antioxidants and helps boost our body's own pre-existing antioxidants to fight off those disease causing free radicals.
CAN TURMERIC HELP FIGHT CANCER?
There has been a great deal of research on turmeric's anti-cancer properties, but results are still very preliminary. However, it does appear that Curcumin can kill a wide variety of tumour cell types. It is also possible that cells may not develop resistance to Curcumin induced cell death.
Its astonishing ability to kill tumour cells and not normal cells makes Curcumin such an attractive candidate for drug development. Although numerous animal studies and clinical trials have been done, many more studies are needed to gain the full benefit from Curcumin.
CAN TURMERIC HELP CURE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?
Curcumin is a promising treatment for Alzheimer's disease (AD). The clinically studied chemical properties of Curcumin and its various effects on Alzheimer's disease has encouraged further research and the development of better drugs based on Curcumin.
Studies where Turmeric was consumed have found that Curcumin can improve memory in patients with Alzheimer's Disease.
Others suggest a lack of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which is considered an important protein that influences brain function contributes to Alzheimer's disease. Results of one study have provided compelling evidence in chronically stressed animals where Curcumin increased levels of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor.
However, large-scale human studies are required to identify the true prophylactic and therapeutic effect of Curcumin. Several unanswered questions remain. What is the one main chemical property of Curcumin that can be exploited in treating AD? What is the role of Curcumin in other neurological disorders such as Parkinson's, Huntington's and other dementias? Is it effective only as a food additive?
CAN TURMERIC HELP HEAL YOUR HEART?
Curcumin plays such a major role in the protection of endothelial cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels. One study has suggested that consuming Curcumin is as effective as exercise the reduction of heart disease risk. In fact, 65% of people were considered to have lowered their risk of post-bypass heart attack after taking 4g of Curcumin extract over the course of just 8 weeks.
As an Antioxidant, it naturally reduces diabetic cardiovascular complications. As a blood thinner, it helps prevent heart attacks and strokes.
CAN TURMERIC KILL ARTHRITIS AND JOINT PAIN?
Inflammation is the body's response to injury. Our intelligent bodies are good at keeping a lid on things but they can't do it forever. Inflammation is a terrible thing, it is a marker of disease and our bodies, if healthy, should never be in a heightened straight of inflammation.
Inflammation if it's temporary is no bad thing because it helps your body fight off the bad and keep the good. White blood cells help fight infection by attacking foreign invaders to the body. The issue arises when it becomes chronic. Chronic, low-level inflammation is largely to blame for most diseases and conditions in the body, including heart disease and arthritis.
Given Curcumin actively reduces inflammation on a cellular level as it’s a bioactive substance found in food, there are far fewer side effects that the conventional drug equivalent. Turmeric is now considered a safe and effective alternative for many conventional drugs with its therapeutic properties and multiple effects.
Curcumin has also been shown to help speed recovery after surgery and effectively treat rheumatoid arthritis better than the leading drug of choice. It may also be effective in treating osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
HOW MUCH TURMERIC CAN YOU HAVE IN A DAY?
The following are doses recommended for adults:
Cut Turmeric Root: 1.5 – 3g per day
Dried, Powdered Turmeric Root: 1 – 3g per day
Standardized Turmeric Powder (Curcumin): 400 – 600mg, 3 times per day
Fluid Turmeric Extract (1:1): 30 – 90 drops a day
Turmeric Tincture (1:2): 15 – 30 drops, 4 times per day
4 WAYS TO GET MORE TURMERIC INTO YOUR DIET
COOK WITH IT Add a spoon full of Turmeric powder to your next soup for a warming and authentic Indian taste with a beautiful yellow glow. Here's my Butternut Squash, Ginger and Turmeric Soup recipe
JUICE IT Buy a whole Turmeric root and using a thumb sized portion, juice it along with some veggies for a nutritious green juice
CUP OF TEA Slice a little Turmeric root, adding it to boiling water with some ginger and lemon for a soothing tea to drink at any time of the day
MILK Traditionally, Turmeric Milk comes from Ayurvedic practices and medicine in Indian cultures and is nothing new to Eastern cultures. Mixing Coconut Milk, Water and a spoonful of Turmeric powder over a low heat, you’ll find another delicious dairy-free alternative milk to try
IS THERE ANY CAUTIONARY ADVICE FOR TAKING TURMERIC?
Turmeric supplements haven't been studied in children, so there is no recommended dose. Please also note, Curcumin is significantly more powerful when mixed with black pepper.
Turmeric and Curcumin supplements are considered very safe when taken at the recommended doses. However, large amounts for long periods of time can cause stomach upset and in extreme cases, ulcers.
If you have Diabetes, please discuss taking Turmeric supplements first. Turmeric may also lower blood sugar levels and when combined with medications for diabetes, turmeric can cause Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Although it is safe to eat foods with turmeric, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take turmeric supplements. As Turmeric sometimes acts like a blood thinner, you should stop taking it at least 2 weeks before surgery.
Interestingly, the absorption of Curcumin is enhanced by 2000% when combined with black pepper. This is owed to the content of Piperine with its remarkable ability to modify supplement and drug metabolism. Piperine is responsible for the pungency of black pepper.
One of the major concerns of the use of Turmeric and Curcumin is its poor absorption, high metabolism rate. Ultimately, there is also very little information available to determine its safety in higher doses.
Another issue is the actual content of Curcumin in Turmeric is actually quite small. To obtain any health benefits, you would need to consume Turmeric root in fairly large amounts. This reason alone is why Turmeric extract supplements have been developed. Curcumin is not equivalent to Turmeric, it's just one of its ingredients. The few studies that have directly compared Turmeric with Curcumin actually suggest Turmeric may work even better.
I am absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity the share my nutritional knowledge and expertise far beyond the confines of my Harley Street clinic in the form my first book - Re-Nourish: The Definitive Guide to Optimum Nutrition. Ahead of its release in December 2017, here is my book preview.
Re-Nourish: The Definitive Guide to Optimum Nutrition is available to pre-order on Amazon and released December 28, 2017.
Registered with the Association for Nutrition (AFN), Rhiannon has obtained first class Bachelor (BSc) and Master’s (MSc) degrees in Nutrition & Health as well as a Diploma in Nutritional Interventions for Eating Disorders. Her qualified approach to nutrition and total dedication to her clients’ needs has seen Rhiannon work with some of the world’s most influential people.
For more information and to speak with Rhiannon, please email info@Rhitrition.com and follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.