Why Turmeric Is an Excellent Addition to Your Diet
If you’ve already gotten your healthy eating plan in place, and you’re following a regular exercise plan, maybe you’re wondering what else you can do to be just a bit more healthy. Crazy teas, antioxidants, vitamins, trends and fads — they’re all out there in droves. But what about spices and flavors from other countries? Surely, with cultures reaching back hundreds of years, there have to be a few ingredients from other parts of the globe that can benefit us in a dietary sense? Enter Turmeric.
The active ingredient that makes turmeric a worthy addition to your diet and health plan is called curcumin. As a spice, turmeric has been a part of diets and cooking in India for more than twenty-five hundred years. As it looks, so does it operate: turmeric’s naturally bright orange-yellow color has made it useful as a dye for a wide variety of things, including typical American mustard. Often used to flavor many Indian curry dishes, turmeric is a major culinary spice that has also been used as medicine for many centuries. Acknowledged as a relative of ginger, turmeric has been noted in both cultures and scientific studies to prevent a broad range of diseases, principally due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “here’s a quick roundup of recent research on both turmeric and curcumin.
- Curcumin seems to delay liver damage that can eventually lead to cirrhosis, according to preliminary experimental research at the Medical University Graz in Austria.
- Kansas State University research found that adding certain spices, including turmeric, can reduce the levels of heterocyclic amines — carcinogenic compounds that are formed when meats are barbecued, boiled or fried — by up to 40 percent.
- Rodent studies at the University of Texas indicate that curcumin inhibits the growth of a skin cancer, melanoma and also slows the spread of breast cancer into the lungs.
- Researchers from the University of South Dakota have found that pretreatment with curcumin makes cancer cells more vulnerable to chemo and radiotherapy.
- Epidemiologists have hypothesized that the turmeric that is part of daily curries eaten in India 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.”
Derived from the ground root of a plant native to India known as the Curcuma longa, turmeric looks a lot like a ginger root. The plant is dried and ground down to a powder, at which point its true bright yellow color is finally revealed, as it’s no longer able to hide beneath its protective brown skin. And that saffron color? This is exactly the plant from which (Indian) saffron got its nickname.
Looking for more reasons to add some turmeric to your diet? Look no further.
- Natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, use it to disinfect cuts or burns.
- Cook it up next time you lightly steam your cauliflower — studies have been conducted that show this has the potential to prevent prostate cancer, and it just might stop the growth of existing cancer cells.
- Turmeric functions as a natural liver detoxifier.
- Some studies indicate that turmeric might prevent (or slow) the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. And it does this by removing amyloyd plaque buildup from the brain.
- Turmeric acts as a potent natural anti-inflammatory agent.
- Turmeric might also aid in fat metabolism, thereby assisting dieters with weight management.
And there’s a ton of other reasons out there — just do a simple search for “Health Benefits of Turmeric” and see for yourself.
Some Contraindications We Tracked Down on the Web: “Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.”