Have you heard the news? Turmeric is a noteworthy spice you’ll want to include regularly in your diet. Turmeric is the bright, golden-colored spice prominently used in Indian curry dishes. While brilliantly colored, it has a very mild flavor.
For centuries, turmeric has been used as an herbal remedy. More recent studies show its potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer properties. Turmeric’s primary active ingredient responsible for its amazing medicinal properties is curcumin (not to be confused with spicy capsaician).
Ten reasons why you should include this Spice For Life in your diet. They speak for themselves!
1. Inflammation fighter: Curcumin contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds.
2. Curbs chronic illnesses: In various chronic illnesses in which inflammation is known to play a major role, curcumin shows therapeutic potential. These diseases include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cerebral injury, cardiovascular disease, cancer, allergy, asthma, bronchitis, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, diabetes, obesity, depression, fatigue, and AIDS.
3. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers: Curcumin is effective for improving joint swelling and morning joint stiffness.
4. Fighting Alzheimer’s: Curcumin has been shown to exhibit activity against various neurologic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have hypothesized the turmeric eaten in India as part of daily curry meals may help explain the low rate of Alzheimer's disease in that country. Among people aged 70 to 79, the rate is less than one-quarter that of the United States.
5. Inhibits cancer cell growth: Preclinical cancer research using curcumin show it inhibits cancer cell production in a number of cancer types, including colorectal, pancreatic, gastric, prostate, hepatic, breast, oral cancers, and leukemia.
6. Lung cancer: In the lungs, curcumin can halt cancer cell invasion and metastasis by activating a tumor-suppressor.
7. Skin cancer: In lab rats, curcumin inhibits the growth of a skin cancer, melanoma and also slows the spread of breast cancer into the lungs.
8. Boosts chemotherapy benefits: Researchers have found pretreatment with curcumin makes cancer cells more vulnerable to chemo and radiotherapy.
9. Managing diabetes: In diabetes, curcumin can decrease blood glucose levels.
10. High cholesterol sufferers: As a potent antioxidant, curcumin has been shown to lower cholesterol, which builds up as plaque that damages blood vessels and can lead to heart attack or stroke.
How can you get more turmeric into your diet? Of course, you can simply enjoy more curried dishes, either in restaurants or at home. Both turmeric and curcumin are also available in supplement form. Whichever method, adding turmeric to your diet is one of the best moves toward optimal health you can make.
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RD
Nutritionist for Healthy Goods