The Golden Child - The incredible benefits of turmeric
Turmeric is an ancient natural medicine that has been studied for centuries and is now being utilised in modern pharmaceuticals.
It’s been used in India for thousands of years as a natural medicine, it’s also what makes curry yellow. But most importantly, it’s one of our first-born and favourite wellness shots.
Turmeric has so many health benefits, and when taken in it’s raw natural form with just a pinch of pepper to release the really powerful ingredient curcumin, it’s no wonder these strange orange fingers are starting to garner huge popularity.
We’re currently seeing a lot of buzz around turmeric based health supplements, like the ones Richie McCaw and Gemma Flynn are promoting. However, supplements can only take us so far. Our bodies digest and absorb produce in its natural form far better. Often all supplements do is make your pee expensive. So when you can have it raw, we highly recommend you do.
Here are 7 things you need to know about turmeric that will have you zooming to the nearest fancy grocery:
1. Meet Curcumin, AKA the hero behind the mask
Recently, science has started to back up what the Indians have known for a long time... turmeric really does contain compounds with medicinal properties, namely curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
However, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It's best to consume black pepper, which contains the active ingredient piperine, alongside the curcumin. Piperine naturally boosts the bioavailability and therefore absorption of curcumin by 2000%. (just in case you were scratching your head as to why there is black pepper in our turmeric shot).
2. Curcumin is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Here’s a twist. Inflammation is actually incredibly important to our health. It helps the body fight foreign invaders and also helps repair damage. Without inflammation, pathogens like bacteria could easily take over our bodies and basically kill us.
Short-term inflammation then is beneficial. Long term (chronic) inflammation, on the other hand, becomes a major problem as it gets inappropriately deployed against the body's own tissues. Chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer's and various degenerative conditions.
All this means that anti-inflammatory agents, like the curcumin found in turmeric, are key in preventing and even treating these diseases.
3. Turmeric Dramatically Increases The Antioxidant Capacity of The Body
Free radicals are the evil, invisible warlords behind aging and many modern diseases. The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial is that they protect our bodies from free radicals.
Curcumin happens to be a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure. What's more, curcumin also boosts the activity of the body's own antioxidant enzymes.
Basically, curcumin delivers a one-two punch against free radicals. It blocks them directly, then stimulates the body's own antioxidant mechanisms.
4. Curcumin Boosts Brain Function and Lowers Risk of Brain Diseases
Our brain neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in certain areas of the brain, they can also multiply and increase in number. One of the main drivers of this process is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone. This includes depression and Alzheimer's disease.
Interestingly, curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF. By doing this, it may be effective at delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decline in brain function. There is also the possibility that it could help improve memory and make you smarter. Sold yet?
5. Curcumin Leads to Various Improvements That Should Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the world. Studies show that while heart disease is incredibly complicated and there are various things that contribute to it, curcumin may help to slow or reverse steps in the development of heart disease.
Perhaps the main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. It is well known that endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure and blood clotting, for instance.
Studies suggest that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function. One study shows that is as effective as exercise; another shows that it works as well as the drug Atorvastatin.
6. Turmeric Can Help Prevent Cancer
There are many different forms of cancer, but they do have several commonalities, some of which appear to be affected by curcumin supplementation.
Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. It can affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level. Studies have shown that it can reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumours), metastasis (spread of cancer), as well as contributing to the death of cancerous cells.
7. Curcumin May be Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia. Unfortunately, no good treatment is available for Alzheimer's yet. Therefore, preventing it from developing in the first place is really important. There may be good news on the horizon because curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier.
It is known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer's disease. As we know, curcumin has beneficial effects on both. Additionally, one key feature of Alzheimer's disease is a buildup of protein tangles called Amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin can help clear these plaques.
We hope you have found a new appreciation for our orange finger friends! Watch this space tp have your mind blown by the power of sister root, ginger!