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TURMERIC – 10 FACTS ABOUT THIS UNDERRATED SUPER FOOD

It appears as though turmeric has almost gained popularity overnight; once a spice that most people often overlooked, has now become more and more prominent in the power juice at your local smoothie bar. 

But did you know that turmeric has actually long been considered a significant part of maintaining one’s health and wellbeing, and has a long history of use in traditional medicine? In fact, turmeric is recognised as one of the most favoured health foods in Japan, and has long been known as “super food”. 

If you have not yet been tuned in to the many magical properties of this salubrious spice, have a look at these 10 facts about turmeric – one of the number one reasons to which the Japanese attribute their longevity. 

1). Turmeric contains about 2% – 8% of Curcumin. Curcumin is not only the reason for its vibrant yellow colour and distinct flavour, but can arguably be credited as the reason for the majority of turmeric’s potential health benefits. 

2). Curcumin is a natural and powerful antioxidant that has antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral effects. Because chronic inflammation contributes to many chronic diseases, curcumin may help treat conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, and most commonly… 

3)…Arthritis! Probably the most widely known health benefit from turmeric, is its anti-inflammatory properties which have been shown to greatly reduce the pain and stiffness caused by joint inflammation. This is true even in your pets, like dogs and cats! Joint pain & inflammation is as common in animals as it is in humans, with dogs being the most susceptible to ailments such as arthritis. Studies have suggested that in the right dose, curcumin may be as effective as an anti-inflammatory treatment in medications such as Advil (ibuprofen) and aspirin. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15489888/

4). In India, turmeric is also used to treat skin conditions and digestive issues. In fact, it’s a staple of Ayurvedic medicine. Which leads us to points 5 + 6. 

5). Turmeric promotes healthy digestion by reducing inflammation within the intestines as well as aiding colon function by encouraging the production of good bacteria, minimising bad bacteria and improving the intestine’s ability to absorb beneficial nutrients.  

6). The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties found in turmeric have shown to work wonders on skin irritations caused by factors such as diet, stress and environment – for both humans and animals! The nutrients in turmeric can reduce skin inflammation, fight infection by boosting the immune system, and reduce stress hormones. Turmeric paste can also be used topically to aid the healing process of cuts and burns. 

7). Black pepper to the rescue! Because curcumin is poorly absorbed into your bloodstream, the only way to experience and reap its full effects is to improve the rate at which your body absorbs it. This may be done by adding black pepper anytime you use turmeric or taking a turmeric supplement that incorporates black pepper.  According to Registered Dietitian, Certified Athletic Trainer, and cookbook author, Dana White, “There is a natural compound in black pepper called piperine that actually helps to make turmeric more bioavailable.   

“Bioavailability” refers to the amount of a substance that’s absorbed or able to be used by the body. For instance, a past animal study found that piperine enhanced the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%! (https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/scientific-health-benefits-turmeric-curcumin/

While we know of course that further research is needed to determine if the results would be the same in humans, there is another option available. Curcumin is also fat soluble, meaning it breaks down and dissolves in fat or oil. This means that you can also benefit from taking curcumin supplements with a meal that’s high in fat. 

8). Curcumin May Help Delay or Reverse Alzheimer’s Disease!  

By increasing levels of a protein found in the brain and spinal cord, known as “brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)”. According to studies, this protein plays a key role in keeping nerve cells healthy, as well as regulating communication between nerve cells, which is critical for learning and memory. Because common brain disorders like Alzheimer’s are associated with lower levels of BDNF, one could argue that turmeric (curcumin in particular) may help delay or reverse brain degeneration. In the same manner, curcumin may also play a role in the treatment of depression. Like Alzheimer’s, depression is associated with lower levels of BDNF. Thanks to turmeric’s ability to boost these levels, the spice shows promise as an effective antidepressant. That being said, this is still generally speculative in humans, and more research is needed to confirm it as a safe and effective treatment.  

9). As mentioned previously, Okinawa, Japan is known as the hometown of longevity in the world. The consumption of turmeric is considered to be one of the main reasons for the longevity of Okinawa people.  And while currently there’s not sufficient evidence to support that turmeric or curcumin directly influence longevity; thanks to their ability to fight inflammation, protect your body against free radicals, as well as potentially delay brain degeneration and other age-related diseases, it has been argued that turmeric and curcumin may very well help delay ageing and fight age-related chronic diseases. For these reasons, turmeric has been highly considered effective as an anti-ageing supplement.  

10). Finally, studies have shown that curcumin can also help in lowering blood fat; lowering blood pressure; regulating body fat; and improving low blood sugar metabolism. This means that the addition of turmeric into your diet may effectively assist in lowering your risk of obesity, reducing the effects of diabetes on the body, as well as improving function in the lining of your blood vessels – the membrane that plays a key role in regulating blood pressure, and a major contender against heart disease.  

And here’s one more bonus fact:  Turmeric can be used to give your chompers that pearly white shine! Why not make your own turmeric toothpaste using a mix of olive oil or coconut oil and crushed fresh turmeric root. Use this natural home remedy to clean your teeth three times a week and you’ll soon notice the difference! Remember though: Turmeric is not a replacement for cosmetic teeth whitening treatments, nor should it be a replacement for dentist visits or typical oral health care. And although not a health risk, turmeric stains things very easily, so be careful when you try this top tip! 

In conclusion, the consumption of turmeric has a wide variety of very beneficial effects on one’s health, extending all the way from skin, joints and brain, to internal organs, such as liver, kidneys, heart, and stomach.  Turmeric — and especially its most active compound, curcumin — have many scientifically proven health benefits, such as the potential to improve heart health and prevent against Alzheimer’s and cancer. It’s also a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and is arguably an effective agent to assist against arthritis.  

It’s also important to remember that turmeric (and curcumin on its own) doesn’t absorb well into the bloodstream, and therefore, in order to reach the amounts of turmeric and curcumin shown to offer benefits in research studies, one has to turn to supplements. It is recommended to consume 3 grams to 5 grams of turmeric powder (1 spoon) a day, however you can buy turmeric in various forms. We suggest the RETHINK CBD Relieve for Pain & inflammation, the oil which contains turmeric and uncaria tomentosa root (commonly known as Cat’s Claw); or the Releaf MSM with Curcumin Capsules for assistance in the relief of pain, and maintenance of healthy joints and connective tissue. (Both can be purchased at Health Central Online).  

As always, before making any sudden changes in your diet, you should always consult your primary care practitioner.

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