Culinary spices are not limited to just making your whole foods even more delicious. Let's face it; we are increasingly aware that plant based substances, often referred to as chemoprotective agents have in important role to play in the control of inflammation. And what do we know about inflammation? Yes, it is the root of all evil! These chemoprotective substances are not only inexpensive, they are easily, and readily available with no, or limited toxicity. Chemoprotective agents are classified into subgroups: antiproliferatives, antioxidants, or carcinogen blocking agents. There is a spice, which in this case, can be considered a triple threat by qualifying for all three subgroups, giving it multiple mechanisms of action. That would be Curcumin, or is it Turmeric? You may have heard Turmeric and Curcumin referred to separately however, that is not the case. Curcumin is what gives Turmeric its rich yellow-orange coloring. Turmeric has been a part of Eastern cultures for many years. Not only used traditionally in cooking for its distinct peppery flavor but, also used for its medicinal properties in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. It is now emerging in popularity among Western culture for its reputation as one of nature's powerful healers. Research is showing promising, positive effects on numerous ailments. Though it is wonderful to add Turmeric to your diet, you would have to consume large quantities to achieve the medicinal benefits. Also, when ingested the Curcumin is not sufficiently soluble in the environment of the digestive tract, thus reducing the amount absorbed. Curcuminoids are derivatives of Curcumin to make it more suitable for supplement use. Almost daily, new information from studies regarding the benefits of Curcumin is being released. A variety of benefits have been shown in the treatment of inflammation, cancers and cardiovascular disease. Painful inflammation resulting from arthritis, both osteo and rheumatoid have been treated with Curcumin with notable improvement. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme in a variety of cell types as well as having a noticeably significant improvement in stiffness, joint pain and walk time of Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit and possibly prevent certain cancers. Studies have shown that not only does Curcumin inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells; it can increase the death of tumor cells and increase sensitivity to specific chemotherapy (IFN-Gamma), that without the Curcumin was relatively insensitive to certain cancer types. With regards to cardiovascular health, Curcumin has been found to assist in lowering high homocysteine levels, decrease early atherosclerosis lesions, decrease LDL and inhibition of C-reactive protein. Curcumin is being used for numerous ailments and diseases, showing promising results. This is very encouraging that a natural, plant derived chemical can have such a positive effect on our wellness. It should be noted that Curcumin has been shown to work synergistically with Green Tea, Black Pepper and Ginger.
What better way to get all these benefits than from a natural substance with no side effects. I personally use fresh turmeric in my juices, smoothies, and all different kinds of recipes including salad dressings. I also take a high qualityTurmeric extract supplement. Always look for products standardized for 95% curcuminoids. Neither curcumin nor turmeric taken orally is well absorbed unless taken with black pepper or piperine, a constituent of black pepper responsible for its pungency. When shopping for supplements, make sure that the one you choose contains black pepper extract or piperine. (If you're cooking with turmeric, be sure to add some black pepper to the food.). Be patient when taking turmeric supplements: the full benefits may not be apparent for eight weeks. Be sure to first discuss with your nutritionist before introducing any new supplement into your regime as there may be a contraindication relating to your specific needs. If you have any questions feel free to message me.
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