What is Turmeric and how can it help me?

Herbs and spices can wake up just about any food. As research continues, it has been found that these herbs and spices can provide numerous health benefits. One spice specifically I am going to discuss is Tturmeric. Turmeric contains a bioactive antioxidant called curcumin. Curcumin has powerful anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 

What really is inflammation? 

Inflammation is your body’s response to injury or anything harmful that enters the body. It is that swollen ankle after rolling it at basketball practice, or the swollen tonsils during strep throat. Now even the littlest things such as toxins in smelling cigarette smoke are harmful to the body, which causes inflammation. A little inflammation is normal,; however, long term inflammation can bring about no good. Chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases, including autoimmune disorders, heart disease, and stroke. Therefore, it is essential to keep inflammation in check for a healthy body. 

Back to curcumin, it plays it’s anti inflammatory role by actually blocking the molecule that travels to turn on the genes (NF-kB), which initiate inflammation which is NF-kB. NF-kB has been shown to play a major role in many chronic diseases. 

And what are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are protectors against oxidative stress. Now I am sure you are asking what is oxidative stress? Oxidative stress creates something known as free radicals. These free radicals in turn cause damage to healthy functioning cells anywhere or at any system  in the body. Overtime this damage can bring arise to a number of issues such as cancer, heart disease, and many other human diseases. 

Curcumin’s role with antioxidants is much different than that with inflammation. Curcumin is an antioxidant itself, due to its chemical structure it neutralizes free radicals. On top of this, it actually increases the activity of your body’s own antioxidant enzymes. The benefits of curcumin hits at two levels. Blocking free radicals directly as well as stimulating the body’s own antioxidant defense. 

Knowing that some herbs and spices are sold as supplements goes to show they do in fact provide benefits, however, anything supplemental form should be used with caution. Naturally adding turmeric to your food and recipes is a great way to incorporate it into your diet. 

  • Add a pinch to your scrambled eggs
  • Sprinkle on chicken, fish or vegetables
  • Add it to your rice
  • Blend it into smoothies
  • Try it in tea recipes sometimes refer this to “golden milk”

Unfortunately,  not everything is efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream. And curcumin happens to be one of them. Black pepper contains a natural substance, piperine, to help enhance the absorption by 2,000%. Therefore, you will see many tumeric supplements containing piperine. It wouldn’t hurt to take Cicurcumin witht a meal containing fat due to its fat soluble properties as well. 

In conclusion, turmeric is a great addition for a healthy diet,; however, do not mistake it as a cure either.

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