The beginning of Fall is just a few short weeks. Fall recalls, Indian Summers, pumpkins, apples, colorful tree leaves, and apple cider, my favorite time of the year. However, Fall is only a prelude to Winter meaning, time to get ready for the annual flu shoot, and seeking avenues to gear up the Immune System. I find myself busy making bone broth, eating more fatty fish, snacking on walnuts and loading up on my Phyto chemicals (colorful fruits and vegies). I have also taken a right turn unto the Turmeric!
Turmeric is known as a super herb which have been used for medicine for approximately 4,000 years. It was used in the traditional South Asian system of medicine called Ayurvedic for centuries for the treatment of variety of health issues inclusive of chronic pain and inflammation. Today, it is being aggressively explored for the treatment of pain relief, improving liver function, reducing the risk of cancer, improving digestion, cardiovascular benefits, improving the immune system, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin which is the bioactive ingredient that gives it medicinal properties primarily because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant effects.
Many of our common diseases are due to chronic inflammation. Curcumin has been proven to suppress many of the substances which are responsible for inflammation. To illustrate the powerful impact of anti-inflammatory agents such as curcumin, lets quickly review Inflammation.
Inflammation is that painful redness or swelling on a part of your body resulting from an infection, injury, or illness. Inflammation occurs as the body fights any foreign invader such as viruses, bacteria or an injury (cut finger), by immediately releasing excessive white blood cells (immune system in action) into the blood stream to fights off the foreign invaders, a means of your body’s immune system protecting you from diseases and infections. Thus, inflammation is good when it works as designed. However, due to many environmental factors, stress, and even certain foods we eat triggers our immune system to attack normal healthy tissue treating them as if they were foreign invaders. This is what occurs in autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease just to name a few.
Please note, Studies have proven, Curcumin reduces the symptoms of arthritis and in some cases, and reports it is more effective than anti-inflammatory medications.
Curcumin due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effect, have displayed several positive benefits on the cardio-vascular system. Studies have shown Curcumin reduces: triglycerides, and cholesterol, shortness of breath, fluid retention, and elevated blood pressure.
Curcumin and Resveratrol have shown in clinical studies to have an anticancer effect. In addition, it is noteworthy to mention the incidence of colorectal cancer in the Indian subcontinent for many years have been low. Also, animal studies conducted on the effects of curcumin with various cancers such as prostate, pancreas, lung, colon, cervix, breast, mouth, tongue and stomach repeatedly have shown positive findings, which has led some researcher to believe you can lower your overall cancer risk through regular consumption of turmeric.
Turmeric is a spice used in cooking which appears to have numerous health benefits. It’s called the golden spice, however, may also have side effects if consumed in excess, especially as it may cause blood thinning. Speak with your doctor before you use turmeric to treat any health condition that you may have.
Even I took a detour in my immune boosting efforts with a right turn unto the Turmeric!