Written by Josh Gitalis.
Ever wondered what gives curries their brilliant yellow color? It’s turmeric!
This spice has been consumed for thousands of years and has been used medicinally to treat all sorts of health issues. The main therapeutic properties are found in a specific component of turmeric called curcumin. It is the part that gives turmeric that striking yellow color.
I first discovered turmeric when I was reading about common carcinogens (chemicals that cause cancer). The book described the following. When you cook meet on a barbeque the fat oozes out and lands on the coals or element. The heat then vaporizes the fat and turns it into smoke. We’ve all seen the smoke billow out of a barbeque when the cook opens the top. This smoke is loaded with carcinogenic substances called benzopyrenes.
The book then went on to say that curcumin has the ability to neutralize benzopyrenes and render them non-harmful. This was astounding for me and made me think, “if curcumin can stop cancer, what else can it do.” I opened Pandora’s box and discovered a natural powerhouse.
- Antioxidant: Curcumin has the ability to quench free radicals. What are these “free radical” things everyone is talking about? They are chemicals that float around your body looking to cause damage to tissues. They can also cause mutation in DNA. Not good if you want to prevent cancer.
- Stops cancer in its tracks: The cancer-causing effects of cigarette smoke, barbequing, and smoke of any kind are suppressed by curcumin. Bring out the turmeric marinade!
- Brings down unwanted inflammation: Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects are as effective as phenylbutazone and cortisone. These drugs come with many serious side effects whereas curcumin does not. Although the oral use of curcumin is most common, turmeric can also be used topically to decrease infection and bring down inflammation.
- Protects the liver: Curcumin has been shown to have a similar effect at protecting the liver as licorice root and milk thistle. It is also incredibly effective at increasing bile release. If you are a reading this and have gallbladder issues, write this one down.
- Keeps the brain sharp: There have been many studies coming out lately on how curcumin greatly reduces that rate of mental decline. Do you want to remember to read Meghan’s blog everyday? Take curcumin!
- Kills the bad guys: When curcumin is matched up in a fight against some nasty organisms such as Clostridium, Streptococcus, Entamoeba histolytica, and several pathogenic fungi, it always comes out a winner.
I recommend that if you are using this spice for therapeutic purposes use curcumin and not turmeric. Curcumin is the concentrated active component and you would thus need 40,000 mg of turmeric to get 400 mg of curcumin. My guess is that you would not want to see anything yellow again after eating 40,000 mg of turmeric.
Remember, it doesn’t work if you don’t take it.
Question Of The Day: How do you best like to consume turmeric?
Check out Meghan's AwesomeTown Turmeric Tea recipe. It's one of the most read posts on this site!