Turmeric - The "Spice of Life"

August 01, 2017

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Maybe you recognize the deep, yellow hue and earthy scent of turmeric from your favorite Indian dish or curry. Or perhaps you know that this Middle Eastern spice is what gives mustard it’s yellow color, but did you know that it it’s also been used medicinally since the 13th century?

The benefits of turmeric go far beyond the kitchen. This legendary spice is now known to:

  • Help Boost Cognitive Function
  • Support Joint and Muscle Health
  • Fight Inflammation
  • Assist with Detoxifying the Body
  • Support Heart Health
  • Enhance Mood
  • Promote Soft, Smooth Skin
  • Assist with Weight Loss
The main, active component of turmeric is curcumin – an antioxidant which has the ability to neutralize free radicals. Curcumin has also been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory helping decrease inflammation throughout the body. Normally we think of joint and muscle pain when we mention inflammation, however it goes well beyond this. Inflammation can cause many health issues including – cardiovascular problems, memory loss, compromised digestive function, wrinkles, acne, loss of muscle tone, weight gain and – yes, joint pain.

Looking at those cardiovascular problems - research suggests that taking turmeric extract by mouth twice daily for 3 months can help reduce total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, and triglycerides in overweight people with high cholesterol. Studies also found that turmeric could reduce the adhesive abilities of blood platelets, thereby preventing them from forming clots. These clots are often formed when plaque builds up in the arteries, and can lead to heart attacks or stroke. Turmeric may also relax blood vessels and minimize heart damage after suffering a heart attack.

That leads us to one of the most recent discoveries about turmeric/curcumin – its ability to help boost cognitive function.  This antioxidant may be valuable in protecting the mind against natural cognitive decline and possible neurodegenerative diseases.  There is evidence that curcumin may be effective in reducing some levels of beta amyloid plaque in the brain, a compound associated with cognitive decline and the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease.  It also protects against oxidative stress, reduces inflammation and helps improve the functioning of neurotransmitter systems.

Andrew Scholey, PhD, of the Swinburne University of Technology, in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues enrolled 60 healthy adults, aged 60 to 85 years, who were randomly given either a 400 mg capsule containing curcumin or a placebo. (Study link)

Just an hour after treatment, those in the curcumin group demonstrated better performance on tasks related to attention and working memory compared to those on placebo, the researchers reported in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Results also showed that when the supplement was taken for 30 days, those in the curcumin group showed improvements in calmness, contentment, and less fatigue compared with placebo. This means curcumin possesses many properties which may prevent or ameliorate pathological processes underlying age-related cognitive decline, dementia, Alzheimers or mood disorders.

So for inflammation and more, it appears that turmeric could be the supplement you’ve been searching for. When searching for a turmeric supplement, however, be sure to choose one that includes the black pepper extract piperine. Without it, the curcumin that is ingested gets metabolized before it’s absorbed. Piperine significantly enhances the absorption and bioavailability of turmeric/curcumin and offers many additional health benefits.

For at least 800 years, turmeric has been used in the Middle and Far East for various medicinal purposes, and modern research shows that the uses go far beyond what these healthy predecessors knew. So why wouldn’t you try this natural ingredient for better health? It could just be the “spice of life.”


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Amanda Love

Written by Amanda Love

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