Turmeric – A Super Spice

Turmeric – A Super Spice

Turmeric - a super spice

Woot woot check out this righteous root

Turmeric root has made its way into the spot light in the last few years flexing its super hero powers of protection. There are many on going studies on the efficacy of turmeric as a potent anti-inflammatory agent and defender against cancer cells and free radicals in the body. Cur-cumin, the polyphenol component found in turmeric, is proving to be a favourable anti-oxidant in protecting our cells from the damage of oxidative stress. It has been shown to block 2 specific enzymes that are responsible for inflammation and can interfere with inflammatory mediators thus reducing their impact in the body. Cur-cumin can also assist with immune cell functioning.

Originating in South East Asia and grown extensively through China and India, this flowering perennial plant is part of the ginger family. The rhizomes of the plant have been used in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for its healing properties and is used extensively as a culinary spice, especially in Curry’s, giving curry spice its yellowish orange colour. It has an earthy, mildly spicy flavour. It has even been used as a dye for fabrics due to its staining properties.

Due to its water solubility, cur-cumin is excreted quickly by the body and isn’t taken up readily in the digestive tract. In order to utilize the cur-cumin compound of turmeric, including a fat such as coconut oil, butter or vegetable oil, can increase the bio-availability. the simplest solution, however, is the inclusion of black pepper. The compound, pepper-in, in black pepper increases cur-cumins uptake in the body by 2000%! Leave it to nature to find the answer!

Health benefits of Turmeric:

  • Acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent and could be beneficial for chronic inflammatory conditions.
  • Can protect against oxidative stress.
  • May protect against cancer risks and tumour growth.
  • Can enhance immune system response.
  • May alleviate symptoms of allergies.
  • Can ease respiratory conditions.
  • May alleviate joint and muscle pain, including post exercise repair and arthritis.
  • Helps support digestion and may ease symptoms of conditions such as colitis.
  • May help with liver and kidney disorders.
  • May protect against degenerative eye conditions.
  • May safeguard against metabolic syndromes, such as Type 2 diabetes and cardio-vascular disease.
  • May protect against cognitive decline and Alzheimers.
  • May aid in improving depression and anxiety by strengthening the brain-gut connection.

A word on supplements:

The use of cur-cumin supplements are on the rise as evidence shows the benefits of this anti-oxidant. But more isn’t necessarily better. Long term use of high dose cur-cumin supplements could have unfavourable side effects for some. These may include:

  • Stomach irritation including cramping and pain.
  • Allergic reactions, such as hives and rashes.
  • Increased development of kidney stones if predisposed to them.
  • Could have a reverse effect on the liver and increase inflammation.
  • Can increase bile production, contributing to gall stones for those who are prone.
  • Can interfere with the uptake of iron in the gut so may increase symptoms for those who are anemic.
  • May lower blood glucose levels and could affect Diabetics.
  • Acts as a blood thinner so best to avoid before scheduled surgeries and caution with blood thinning medications.
  • May affect estrogen levels and should be avoided if pregnant.
  • May interfere with chemotherapy drugs.

High doses of cur-cumin supplements can have drug interactions and should be taken under the supervision of a doctor or naturopath. Consult your doctor if you plan on using cur-cumin supplements therapeutically.

Simply adding turmeric as a whole food more regularly to your diet through cuisine or tea can boost its effects and be sufficient enough to derive the benefits of this super spice, just remember to add a few twists of pepper or combine it with a little healthy fat! If you choose supplementation, use caution when using high doses over long periods of time and be aware of drug contra-indications.

Consider adding turmeric to soups, stew, vinaigrettes, egg dishes or enjoy curry dishes and a golden milk latte to incorporate more turmeric into your diet.

Give this Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Fresh Turmeric and Ginger a try to warm you up on those cool nights!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Inner Vision Health and Wellness Karyn Lawson RMT INHC