Tumeric is the spice from the ginger family that gives curries their bright yellow color. One of the compounds found in tumeric, curcumin, is a powerful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. Chronic inflammation is known to be a contributor to many common Western diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Curcumin can inhibit molecules thought to be a major contributor to this inflammation. Some studies have found it to be as effective as anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs minus the nasty side effects.
Curcumin has a double pronged attack on free radicals. Not only does it’s chemical structure can neutralize free radicals but it boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
Curcumin can increase Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which may help delay or even reverse many brain diseases (like Alzheimer’s ) and age-related decreases in brain function.
Several studies suggest that curcumin may help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, including pain and inflammation.
It has also been found to be helpful in the fight against cancer, especially cancers of the digestive system.
Unfortunately, curcumin makes up only a small percentage of tumeric so to get the full health benefits a supplement is necessary. Look for supplements that pair curcumin with peperine, the substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%. One of my favorite ways to add curcumin to my life is with Golden Milk, a yummy, healthy drink. How do you like to eat your tumeric?
Photo from flickr.