The Healing Powers of Curcumin

CURCUMIN

If I told you there is a simple plant rhizome (root) that has been proven to be a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and helps to prevent cancer, would you believe it?

Curcuma longa, commonly known as Turmeric, has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic healing. The yellow pigment, curcumin, is its active constituent and the common base for the delicious golden Indian curry,

The most common ailments of our modern world are often caused by chronic inflammation and oxidation (examples: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer's, to name a few). Oxidative aging is exacerbated by environmental factors such as air & water pollution, toxic chemicals, hormone-altering pesticides & plastics, processed foods, smoking, obesity, and lack of daily movement. Clinical scientists at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Cardiac Centre of the Toronto General Hospital have reported that curcumin acts directly on the DNA of cardiac cells and dramatically reduces the chance of developing heart failure. This super antioxidant also protects the brain from dangerous strokes because it can reduce build-up of cholesterol, as well as reverse elevated homocysteine and CRP levels. The reknowned MD Anderson Cancer Center has enthusiastically indicated, through over 50 years of extensive research, that curcumin can prevent and treat cancer by supressing tumor initiation, promotion, and metastasis.

Here is a short list of the types of cancer for which dozens of studies have concluded that curcumin is a valid preventive or adjunctive treatment:

  • Breast
  • Cervical
  • Colorectal
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Genitourinary
  • Head & Neck
  • Leukemia
  • Lung
  • Lymphoma
  • Melanoma
  • Oral
  • Ovarian
  • Prostate
  • Sarcoma
  • Squamous Cell
  • (McBarron, 2012)

According to the Centers for Disease Control,
An estimated 52.5 million adults in the United States have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.

More often than not, these are treated with NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin or ibuprofen, naproxen, and other potentially toxic pharmaceuticals. As it turns out, curcumin is safer and more effective for relieving pain without unwanted side effects. It inhibits the COX-2 enzyme, which causes painful inflammation, while helping to regenerate cartilage and improves blood vessel health.

The number of Americans diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, a "lifestyle" disease in which the body no longer responds to insulin produced by the pancreas, has skyrocketed to nearly 80% in the past 20 years. The cumbersome complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, hypertension, blindness, nerve damage, circulatory problems, and kidney failure. Fortunately, curcumin's potent properties combat these by reducing glucose production in the liver, keeping glucose out of RBCs, lowering blood sugar & increasing insulin, promoting wound healing, protecting the kidney, and reducing inflammation.

Curcumin also offers significant cognitive protection with frequent consumption. It blocks brain tumor formation, guards neural cells from damaging strokes, reduces mental impairment following traumatic head injury, destroys amyloid plaques & tangles associated with Alzheimers (in fact, the rate of this disease in India is about one quarter of the U.S. incidence), and prevents neuro-degenerative diseases like Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.

Free radicals, in small amounts, are involved in the immune system elimination of viruses and bacteria, production of vital hormones, and enzyme activation. However, excessive free radical formation leads to oxidative damage of genetic material and cell membranes. Curcumin fights free radicals, prevents liver toxicity, inhibits platelet aggregation, and aids circulation, and stimulates bile secretion (not recommended for persons with biliary tract obstruction).

Try incorporating more turmeric in your diet for additional nutritional benefits- Calcium, Iron, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Vitamins C, B1, B2, & B3. There are countless recipes online, and you are welcome to share your favourites by posting below.

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Be creative and have fun.

Bon Appétit!