What Is Turmeric? A Super-Powered Antioxidant!

August 8, 2011

Turmeric is a yellow spice commonly used in Indian cuisine (careful—it can stain!). It is also source of curcumin, a cancer fighting wonder-antioxidant.

Curcumin has been shown to benefit the brain in a number of ways, decreasing inflammation, fighting powerful free radicals, and encouraging healthy healing (for head trauma or stroke, for example). Turmeric benefits also include easing stomach troubles and fighting aging.

What is curcumin?

Curcumin is a very powerful antioxidant, but it also has natural antibacterial, antimalarial, antioxidant, antiviral activities, as well as supporting cell membrane, heart and brain health.

Neurologically, curcumin may help fight off causes of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. By fighting inflammation and free radicals that are responsible for neuron destruction, as well as supporting the body’s natural healing abilities (which can be blocked by some free radicals) curcumin may be the brain’s best friend.

What is curcumin compared to other antioxidants? Not all antioxidants are capable of fighting all free radicals, but curcumin is capable of combating most free radicals.

Finally, curcumin can also bind and neutralize iron, which can accumulate in the brain with age.

Are There Cancer Benefits?

Turmeric has long been praised for its cancer fighting properties, but new clinical trials have shown just how effective it may be:

It appears as though Turmeric benefits fighting cancer in two ways: it seems to kill cancer cells at all stages and stop cancer cell growth while simultaneously protecting the body’s cells, and it seems to increase the effectiveness of cancer drugs when cancer cells begin to reject them.

Does Turmeric Have Side-Effects?

Turmeric has been shown to be extremely safe at high doses. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should, or need to, take turmeric at high doses! But some natural ingredients (like nutmeg) can be bad in large amounts, so it’s important to understand the side-effects. Turmeric can be taken safely.

How To Get Turmeric Benefits?

As with all nutrients, you can get turmeric by including it in your diet or by taking a daily multivitamin. Turmeric (and curcumin) absorb best when taken with fat or oil. Olive oil is a healthy option, or just include your turmeric supplement or side dish/sauce with a fattier meal to better enjoy the benefits.

Turmeric is easily added to rice, making or a healthy (and tasty) side dish. Make sure to pair the rice with a food with some fat content, or to prepare the rice with butter. Here’s a recipe for Indian-style rice with cashews, raisins, and turmeric.

Taking turmeric in a daily multivitamin may have even more benefits. Turmeric works well, and may enhance the effects of, other plant extracts.

Have you or a loved one ever taken turmeric? Did it enhance neurological health, or aid in fighting cancer?

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{ 2 comments }

Emma Spera August 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm

“Studies with animals show that turmeric benefits liver health. Several animal studies suggest that turmeric protects the liver from the damaging effects of certain toxins, including alcohol. These findings certainly lend credence to the herb’s history of use in liver aliments.”

That sure is interesting! And the article has good tips for which dishes have turmeric (curry! yum!). Thanks for sharing!

-Emma

Dan August 18, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I have been doing a little research about Turmeric lately after hearing about it on a radio show a few weeks back. I found an interesting page on the web the other day regarding Turmeric, blew my mind the uses and some of the almost success stories, might want to check it out when you have a minutes.
Link: http://www.ugoogle.com/alternative_news/alternative_medical%20_health.html

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