Turmeric: Benefits, Uses, Research

More people than ever are turning to the ancient orange spice, which has over 100 therapeutic uses

Turmeric has been the focus of much media attention and is one of the most researched plants in existence, for good reason.

It has been hailed as the latest super herb with reports about its use in the battle against Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, obesity, heart disease, depression, stress, atherosclerosis, arthritis and pain, and more.

The reason why this herb has so much attention is because of its powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and DNA-protecting properties.

It has a long history, 5,000 years, of been used medicinally and as a culinary ingredient in India.

Tumeric’s Active Ingredient

The medicinal compound curcumin, which is found in Turmeric, is the ingredient that is gaining most attention because of its powerful medicinal properties. Turmeric also contains high amounts of manganese, iron, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C and magnesium.  The anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin has been shown to be so effective that is has been compared in its usefulness to prescription medications, with the added bonus of coming without toxic side effects.

A Special Look at Tumeric/Curcumin and Cancer

Curcumin has more evidence-based literature supporting its anti-cancer capabilities compared to other nutrients. Many studies have been done, and while more conclusive evidence is still being sought, the research is promising.

Cancer Prevention: Cancer Research UK talks about cancer prevention on its site, “The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin or diferuloyl methane, which laboratory studies have shown does have anticancer effects on cancer cells. A phase I clinical trial looked at giving curcumin to 25 patients with precancerous changes in different organs. This study seemed to show that curcumin could stop the precancerous changes becoming cancer. Research has also shown that there are low rates of certain types of cancer in countries where people eat curcumin at levels of about 100mg to 200mg a day over long periods of time. But currently there is no conclusive research evidence to show that turmeric or curcumin can prevent or treat cancer.”

How to Take Turmeric

One of the issues with curcumin and turmeric is it’s poor bioavailability, meaning that the body needs helps with absorbing and assimilating it, which is an essential step in getting the most out of this herb.

Consumed alone or raw, curcumin has poor bioavailability. However, there are simple ways to improve absorption, such as:

  • Adding piperine (black pepper), which can increase absorption of curcumin by 2,000%. The liver actively tries to get rid of the curcumin. By adding even just a pinch of pepper, this helps to suppress this process, allowing curcumin levels in the bloodstream to rise. Traditionally, turmeric is eaten with pepper in curries.
  • Combining with a healthy oil, such as coconut oil, means that the curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system, bypassing the liver, allowing it to stay for longer in the body.
  • Heat it up to help activate it. When cooking, and Turmeric is heated up, it becomes more bioavailable.

You can include turmeric powder or turmeric root in your daily diet, or you can take a Turmeric supplement. Taking the whole herb in it’s natural form, is as a general rule what I prefer rather than taking extracts. The curcumin content of Turmeric is about 3%, which is significantly lower than the amounts used in most of the research and trials, which is why supplementing is an option some people opt for with specific conditions. If you want to take Turmeric for a specific medical condition then contact me – because there are different ways to take Turmeric that suit different conditions.

My preference however, for general wellbeing and health is to include this spice in your daily life. When cooking, you can make a paste by heating the turmeric with coconut oil and water, and adding black pepper, which you can store in the fridge and add to recipes, smoothies or yogurt. You can add Turmeric powder or root to soups, curries, vegetables, teas, etc. There are hundreds of interesting ways you can combine Turmeric into your cooking. As an example, including 1/2-1 teaspoon a day of powdered Turmeric in your diet is well suited to many people.

Whether you are having turmeric root, powder or supplements, I always recommend you go for organic, because of the potential for additives and treatments that kitchen spices sometimes go through. Keep it pure and organic.

Precautions

Contact me if you are interested to add Turmeric to your regimen. There are times when Turmeric shouldn’t be used, such as if you have gallstones or bile duct dysfunction or if you are on certain medications or treatments. Pregnant women shouldn’t use it without their doctors’ approval. Piperine, from fresh ground black pepper, will increase the absorbency of other substances in your stomach – so if you are on regular medications, you may experience a higher absorbency rate than intended for those drugs – please check with your doctor in relation to this.

Future Health

Many of my clients come to me with worries about things like cancer prevention and questions about how to protect their memory into the future, or how to deal with pain. Turmeric may offer a simple defense and is well worth looking into.

One of the things I really like about Turmeric is that it is very easy and low cost for people to incorporate it into their daily lives through diet. Just this one simple lifestyle change can potentially have profound affects.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more please get in touch.

2018-03-08T10:52:24+00:00By |Ailments, Cancer, Foods, Nutrition|