Dating back thousands of years to Southeast Asia, and a relative of the ginger family, turmeric is a nutrient dense anti-inflammatory. Rich in potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and B6, a good source of dietary fiber, protein, calcium, and sodium, with a rich orange-yellow color, and bitter taste. Turmeric root has been used for centuries, particularly for its medicinal property, a compound known as curcumin. The benefits of curcumin have been well studied, and documented.
Dr. Ajay Goel, Ph.D has spent over 20 years studying the prevention and curative effects of botanicals, especially curcumin. Containing over 100 times the antioxidants of dark chocolate and blueberries, curcumin has super antioxidant power. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to prevent the duplication of cancer cells. This happens in various ways. Curcumin inhibits an inflammatory pathway called COX-2 and NF-Kappa B, and by doing so, prevents chronic inflammation. It also prevents the growth of arachidonic acid, which is a major contributor of inflammation in the body. Curcumin can slow or halt the production of certain enzymes that promote inflammation, and can help control the body’s production of cytokines, a protein messenger between cells that can cause dangerous inflammation when found in high numbers.
Not only is curcumin a powerful antioxidant to cancer prevention, but it also has been well documented in its ability to fight heart disease. Curcumin raises HDL (good cholesterol), helping move LDL (bad cholesterol) out of the arteries. It also helps helps lower the heart disease inflammatory markers, CRP and Homocysteine.
Curcumin has also shown great promise in preventing and treating a variety of digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, precancerous polyps in the bowel, ulcerative colitis, and liver damage. Curcumin is also beneficial in reducing arthritis inflammation, and joint pain.
The benefits of using turmeric as a culinary spice in your kitchen are limitless. Even though turmeric contains only 2-5% curcumin, this small amount can still be very beneficial to health. Alternatively adding a curcumin supplement to your daily regiment can be extremely beneficial, especially you suffer from chronic inflammation.
Find delicious recipes using turmeric in my book “Live Simply Plant Based”.