Turmeric – spice and superfood

 

Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite superfood and spice – TURMERIC.

Turmeric root comes from Curcuma Longa plant and has brown skin with orange flash with similar to ginger flavor. It has been widely used in traditional Indian cooking as a warm and bitter spice that gives yellow color to carry and mustard as well as in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries as an herbal treatment for internal and external illnesses.

Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-cancer and cholesterol lowering properties had sparked a lot of interest in research. There are millions of laboratory and clinical studies of turmeric and its benefits on human’s health that allowed more and more of its implication as medicinal herb in Western Medicine for prevention and treatment of variety of chronic diseases.
What makes Turmeric so super-powerful?

Bioactive ingredient, Curcumin, along with other compounds of turmeric, gives this “Queen of Spices” power and versatility of its application:

  1. Turmeric improves gastro-intestinal health. It increases mucin secretion and thus acts as gastroprotectant against stomach irritants. Curcumin has some antispasmodic, anti-flatulent activities and enhances intestinal enzymes such as lipase, sucrase and maltase activity.
  2. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is equally compared to pharmaceutical’s painkillers and gains its name as “Natural Ibuprofen”. Curcumin has been shown to reduce the TNF (tissue necrosis factor) induced expression, down-regulate cyclooxigenase-2 and nitric oxide synthetase that are represent different inflammation pathways.
  3. The antioxidant effect of turmeric was reported as early as 1975. It acts as a scavenger of free radicals and can protect hemoglobin from oxidation. Antioxidant action of Curcumin reached by maintaining the activities of antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase in our cells.
  4. It reduces cholesterol level, particularly, low density and very low density lipoproteins (LDL and VLDL) due to enhancing pancreatic and intestinal lipase activity. In addition, stimulation of bile production by turmeric expedites elimination of cholesterol from the body and increase fat metabolism.
  5. Anti-carcinogenic effect. Curcumin acts as a potent cancer-fighting compound due to various mechanisms. It induces apoptosis (cell death), inhibits proliferation (cell growth) and prevents mutation.
  6. Stop progressive cognitive deterioration by decreasing Beta-amyloid plaques and delaying degradation of neurons.
  7. Antibacterial activity. It suppresses growth of several bacteria like Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and Lactobacillus and prevents growth of Helicobacter Pylori.
  8. Antiviral (for example: Epstein-Barr virus) and anti-fungal effect.

Besides all that, there are some essential vitamins and nutrients naturally found in turmeric include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Other phytonutrients

All these excellent properties of turmeric that were known for thousands of years make Turmeric to be called “nutraceutical”.
“Nutraceutical” is a term coined in 1979 by Stephen DeFelice. It is defined “as a food or parts of food that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease.”

Warning!
Because turmeric in high dose has medicinal property, it can have interactions with other drugs. Consult your health care provider before you start taking turmeric-containing supplements.

Possible interactions:

  • Blood-thinning Medications — Turmeric can make the effects of these drugs stronger, raising the risk of bleeding.
  • Drugs that reduce stomach acid — Turmeric may interfere with the action of these drugs, increasing the production of stomach acid.
  • Diabetes Medications — Turmeric may make the effects of these drugs stronger, increasing the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

What conditions or diseases can Turmeric help with?

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma, allergies
  • Autoimmune disorders (MS, ALS, FM, Hashimoto, etc)
  • Cancers, various types
  • Coronary-vascular diseases
  • Colds, flues, viral infections
  • Diabetes type 2
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Liver diseases
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Skin problem
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight gain

The list is endless. Basically, any degenerative diseases (chronic conditions and disorders that caused by toxins, diet and lifestyle) can be prevented or reversed by implementing few changes in your life along with use of powerful medicinal food and supplements that contain one.

A powerful supplement, containing turmeric, that I discovered recently and I would like to share with you is Protandim.
Protandim is a nutraceutical supplement that reduces oxidative stress that caused by 40% in 30 days and by 70% in 120 days. It activates the body’s own enzymes to fight free radicals that are leading cause of illnesses in America. Decreasing oxidative stress we lower chance to develop any chronic, degenerative diseases, cancers and slow aging process. What is in Protandim?

Besides Turmeric that we already discussed here, there are four other powerful ancient Chinese and Indian herbs that synergistically work together and enhance each other’s benefits: Green tea, Ashwagandha, Milk Thistle and Bacopa.

Protandim has been on a market for quiet sometime and gain a lot of attention from research and media. If you would like to start your natural prevention now, order Protandim here.

If you want to learn how to add turmeric to your food, keep reading.
There are so many dishes that you can enjoy by adding turmeric powder and get all its benefits:

  • Sprinkle on roasted vegetables
  • Add to you salad dressing
  • Mix in a mashed potatoes
  • Sauté with vegetables
  • Flavor your stir-fry
  • Add to your soup
  • Mix with other spices for fall-favorite pies
  • Blend in smoothies

Try and play around with it but don’t forget to add black paper for turmeric’s better digestibility and absorption.
Today I would like to share one of my favorite recipes that perfect for the upcoming cold season.

YUM AND LENTIL SOUP

Be healthy and happy!

Oxidative Stress and How to Prevent It

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In my October newsletter, I talked about acid environment that causes our body to create a breeding ground for cancer and many other chronic diseases. This months newsletter concentrates on the topic of Oxidative stress and its link to chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or “detoxify” harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.

Chronic inflammation is a pathological condition characterized by continued active inflammation response and tissue destruction. From recent articles, it appears that there is a general concept that chronic inflammation can be a major cause of several types of cancers, as well as increasing the aging process. Moreover, many studies suggest that chronic inflammation could have a serious role in a wide variety of age-related diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. The inflammatory process induces Oxidative stress and reduces cellular antioxidant capacity.

Recently, new findings of free radicals and Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) in biology is producing a medical revolution that promises a new age of health and disease management. It is ironic that oxygen, an element indispensable for life, under certain situations has deleterious effects on the human body. Most of the potentially harmful effects of oxygen are due to the formation and activity of a number of chemical compounds, known as ROS, which have a tendency to donate oxygen to other substances.

 

Free radicals and other ROS are derived either from normal essential metabolic processes in the human body such as Mitochondrial or cell malfunction,  inflammation, and exercise.  Varying external sources can be exposure to X-rays, ozone, cigarette smoking, environmental pollutants, drugs, and certain food types.

Reactive Oxygen Species play an important role in Carcinogenesis. ROS induces DNA damage, as the reaction of free radicals with DNA includes strand break base modification and DNA protein cross-links. Numerous investigators have proposed participation of free radicals in Carcinogenesis, mutation, and transformation; it is clear that their presence in a biosystem could lead to mutation, transformation, and ultimately cancer.

An antioxidant is a molecule stable enough to donate an electron to a rampaging free radical and neutralize it, thus reducing its capacity to damage. These antioxidants delay or inhibit cellular damage mainly through their free radical scavenging property.The antioxidants acting in a defense system work at different levels:

 

  • The first line of defense is the preventive antioxidants, which suppress the formation of free radicals.
  • The second line of defense is radical scavenging antioxidants that scavenge the activeradicals to suppress chain reactions.
  • The third line of defense is repair antioxidants that are present in the Cytosol and in the Mitochondria of mammalian cells. They recognize, degrade, and remove modified proteins and prevent the accumulation of oxidized proteins.

There is a beneficial balance between free radicals and antioxidants for proper physiological function. If free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate them, a condition known as Oxidative stress ensues. This Oxidative stress is associated with damage to a wide range of molecular species including lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Studies have indicated that Oxidative stress is now thought to make a significant contribution to all inflammatory diseases (arthritis, vasculitis, glomerulonephritis, lupus erythematous, adult respiratory diseases syndrome), ischemic diseases (heart diseases, stroke, intestinal ischema), hemochromatosis, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, emphysema, organ transplantation, gastric ulcers, hypertension and preeclampsia, neurological disorder (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy), alcoholism, smoking-related diseases, and many others.

 

How to Reduce Oxidative Stress in the body?

 

  •  Reduce emotional, physical and environmental stress. Chronic stress exhausts the adrenal glands and leads to adrenal dysfunction.  Try some stress-reducing techniques: relaxation breathing, meditation, tapping, yoga. Avoid harmful ingredients in food, household, and personal care product
  •  Reduce exposure to internal and external toxins and regularly detoxify the whole body. Toxins stimulate production of free radicals through detoxification pathways. Try daily and seasonal detoxification to reduce toxic overload.
  • Balance your blood sugar level. High sugar stimulates insulin surges that subsequently increase Cortisol production.
  • Keep your Gastro-intestinal microflora healthy (gut microbiom). Friendly bacteria in the gut fights pathological organisms, helps to digest food, manufactures many vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients.
  • Eat whole, organic, nutrient-rich and antioxidant containing food. Research has demonstrated that nutrition plays a crucial role in the prevention of chronic diseases. eating functional food is the best way to reach our nutritional goal and fight oxidation.

Examples of functional food:

  •  Whole foods represent the simplest example of functional food. Broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes are considered functional foods because of their high contents of physiologically active components (Sulforaphen, B-carotene, and Lycopene, respectively). Green vegetables and spices like mustard and turmeric, used extensively in Indian cuisine, are also beneficial.
  • Nutraceutical is a food or part of food that provides medical and/or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease. Nutraceuticals may range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements, and diets to genetically engineered “designer” food and herbal  products. A Nutraceutical is any nontoxic food extract supplement that has scientifically proven health benefits for both the treatment and prevention of disease. Examples of  Nutraceuticals: Rasveratrol, Co-enzyme Q10, and fish oil.

 

Consuming of whole food is ideal for maintaining proper antioxidant levels. Nine to twelve servings of rainbow-colored vegetables and fruits is optimal to meet a necessary nutritional goal. Veggie and fruit smoothies are easy and fast ways to achieve the recommended intake.  Whole fruits can be consumed for in between meal snacks.  For vegans, vegetarians and for those who do not eat meat on a regular basis or do not get enough servings of fruits and vegetables good quality food supplements (nutraceuticals) can play an important role in meeting their Micronutritional goals.

 

Even though eating nutrient-dense whole food is a number one priority, I personally add vitamin D, salmon oil, probiotic and Protandim to my daily regiment with additional vitamin C during flu season. It helps me to fight any inflammation and infection during cold months, prevent any chronic diseases and delay aging.

Do you consume enough fruits and vegetables to meet your nutritional goal?

If not, learn about my favorite Nutrraceutical here.

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