Turmeric: The Golden Spice
Contributed by Nicole Law, Founder and Owner of The Rooted Hook
Turmeric has been claimed as the most effective nutritional supplement in existence, and I agree! There are countless medical studies that show that the activated compound in Turmeric, curcumin, benefits the body in a big way.
A little background: Turmeric is a popular spice, sometimes coined as the ‘golden spice,’ that is derived from the root of the turmeric plant. Part of the ginger family, turmeric hails from India and Southeast Asia and has been long revered for its therapeutic benefits. It is a key ingredient of eastern health practices, Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, and modern science has recently shown that this yellow spice truly does have healing powers!
Turmeric contains an impressive amount of phytochemicals- plant compounds that help fight inflammation and oxidative stress (the daily wear and tear our bodies endure). The spice also contains high amounts of Vitamin C, manganese, iron, and potassium! But when it comes to health benefits, turmeric gains most of its attention from it's hallmark compound, curcumin. Research shows that curcumin may play an active role in fighting inflammatory disease by helping reduce the body’s inflammatory response to everything from food and drink to stress and pollution. This is important because chronic inflammation promotes many disease states, including:
- Obesity - Diabetes - Cardiovascular disease (improving the ability of the lining of the blood vessels to repair themselves, which is thought to reduce blood pressure, lower the risk of blood clots and strokes and decreases the risk of heart disease. Studies have also shown curcumin to lower cholesterol. - Neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia - Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis - Arthritis - Depression - Certain types of cancers (by slowing or halting the growth of cancer cells) - Allergies - Asthma - Auto-immune disorders
Curcumin has been shown to combat chronic inflammation at the molecular level and it is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti- inflammatory drugs, without the crazy side effects! Curcumin is also loaded with antioxidants which protects the body from free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive and unstable molecules that are produced in the body naturally as a byproduct of metabolism (oxidation), or by exposure to toxins in the environment, such as pollutants in the air we breathe and the toxins in the products we use. Free radicals have a lifespan of only a fraction of a second, but during that time can damage DNA, sometimes resulting in the mutations that can lead to cancer. Antioxidants in foods can neutralize the unstable molecules, reducing the risk of oxidative damage, believed to be one of the main mechanisms behind disease and aging. Curcumin is not only a potent antioxidant, but it also boosts the body's own antioxidant enzymes.
A medical review study published in 2019, found that curcumin may prevent the proliferation of breast cancer cells, thereby slowing tumor growth. The same review found that curcumin is being explored as a treatment for lung, colorectal, pancreatic and some other types of cancer. Curcumin has also been shown to improve brain function by increasing levels of neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the brain. This is important because BDNF acts as a type of growth hormone that protects the brain from age-related decline or damage. Low BDNF levels are linked to depression, as well as Alzheimers.
The largest organ in the body, the skin, benefits from curcumin's wound healing properties. The star compound in turmeric is often used as a treatment for skin conditions such as vitiligo, psoriasis, and various eczemas. Topical tonics and ointments containing curcumin even reduce the healing time for skin wounds, and improve the distribution of collagen — the protein that gives skin its elasticity — and promotes the growth of new blood vessels.
Ok, now that we are all on the turmeric band wagon, it is important for us to understand how to properly consume curcumin in order to reap all of its wonderful benefits. Curcumin is, unfortunately, poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. Turmeric, the host of curcumin compound, is fat-soluble which means it dissolves or breaks down in fat. This is what we want! If turmeric is not broken properly then it will travel through your system and be released, which won’t allow your body to reap any of its benefits! You need to have consumed some foods that contain healthy fats for turmeric and curcumin absorption. Once turmeric is absorbed properly into fats it can then make it’s journey through your digestive tract and into your blood.
Here are some helpful hints to ensure curcumin absorption: 1. Ensure that your Turmeric is properly formulated. In The Mercado we carry an all organic Turmeric. The plant is steamed in order to crack it's cell wall, allowing its nutritional contents to be accessible to the body. The powdered form is then packaged in a dark glass container. This method of formulation ensures the efficacy and integrity of the product (and its nutritional benefits). 2. Drink raw turmeric with almond milk: Turmeric mixed with the natural fats in almonds will aid in absorption 3. Spice up your avocado: Avocados have healthy fats that will help your body absorb the turmeric, and it’s a great flavor! 4. Put it in your smoothie with coconut oil: Coconut oil is a great kitchen staple and it is also full of healthy fats that aid in turmeric absorption. Try it with our award winning Coconut Oil by Conscious Coconut! 5. Use it as a cooking spice with vegetables, beans, and lentils! 6. Mix your Turmeric with black pepper to boost absorption by 2000%. The Golden Sun Milk and Golden Moon Milk offered in The Mercado, contain highly active organic Turmeric and pepper. It tastes delicious, too!
Get creative, have fun concocting with this gift from Mother Earth.
To shop Turmeric and other medicinal plants and herbs, please visit The Rooted Hook Mercado at www.therootedhook.com/mercado.
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