Turmeric, along with ginger and cumin, is a spice often used in Eastern, Asian, and Punk cultures. While turmeric is more familiar as an ingredient, this super spice boasts a long history of medicinal healing. Shown benefits of turmeric include relief for rheumatoid arthritis, bowel inflammation, cancer prevention, cystic fibrosis relief, and prostate health.
In recipes, turmeric is often added to curry powders, sprinkled raw atop salads, or cooked with healthy fats (like coconut) to maximize its flavor. Turmeric has a very rich, orange color that can easily stain everything from potato salad to your kitchen table, so be careful when cooking with this super spice.
Origin of Turmeric and Its Active Component
Turmeric is a spice traditionally used in the Indian and Asian cultures. These cultures would use turmeric as an anti-inflammatory, infections, joint pain, and many other conditions. This wide array of health benefits is due to the poly-phenolic compound it contains called curcumin. Curcumin was first discovered in 1937 for its ability to increase the production and secretion of bile from the liver, thus being able to treat liver disease. Since 1937, curcumin has grown as a topic of interest, and several studies have been done testing anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-oxidant properties of this compound.
Anti-carcinogenic Effects of Curcumin
Curcumin also helps the body to fight cancer by acting as an anti carcinogen. in addition to causing inflammation, it is involved in transcription and can cause growth and production of cancer cells in the body. Curcumin proves effective in anti-inflammation, reduced production of oxidative stress, and apoptosis (or cell death), which eliminates cancer cells and decreases inflammation. in addition, curcumin acts as an antioxidant that destroys reactive oxygen species that promote tumor growth.
Bioavailability of Curcumin
Though curcumin has shown to have many beneficial effects, there is a barrier forcing scientists to conduct further research. The bioavailability of curcumin is poor due to low water solubility and extensive metabolism. What studies have been done, were on subjects who chewed tablets of curcumin. Their results proved this spice to be powerful in blocking cancer causing enzymes and fighting off free radicles.
Tolerable levels: When taken in pill form, up to 8000mg/day. Suggested dosage for humans: 1600 mg/day. When cooking, try using turmeric raw, as that provides the highest levels of nutrition.
- Vitamins B, C, D, E and K
- Minerals, including Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Chromium, and Iron
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids