In recent years many discoveries have been made in regards to the foods we eat, and while many items in our diets could be left out, many more are turning out to be the answers we’ve been looking for. In the search for foods that will keep us young and healthy, spices like turmeric are being introduced and accepted in mainstream cuisines. Turmeric, most popular in Indian foods, is a fragrant spice that can benefit many chronic conditions as well as help keep us young.
Turmeric has been used on its own and as a substitute for the much more expensive saffron for thousands of years. It is fragrant with a bit of pungency and goes well with many root vegetables as well as meats, stews and salads. It is related to the ginger family and its main nutrient, called curcumin, is what’s taking the food research world by storm.
Curcumin shows much promise in its abilities to fight such conditions as cancer, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s, and unlike other super foods and spices out on the market, its longevity in Indian and Asian cuisines show an effective spice that doesn’t come with an agenda. Plus, its effectiveness is evident through the people who consume it. Middle Eastern, Indian and South Asian populations have fewer instances of many of the chronic conditions suffered in western cultures.
While most spices provide some types of benefits to those who eat them, turmeric’s reputation as a super spice is well deserved just from the sheer number of health issues it helps alleviate in one way or another. It can be used as a topical antibiotic on cuts and scrapes. It can act as a liver detoxifier and aids in food digestion. It also helps speed up metabolism. It removes plaque buildup in the brain, reducing the impact of Alzheimer’s as well as other forms of dementia. It has been discovered that turmeric can help reduce the risk of childhood leukemia as well.
In the field of cancer research, current studies are hopeful as to turmeric’s effect on melanoma cells. It appears that both ingestion of turmeric as well as topical spreads or solutions can kill these cancer cells. It is also believed to help reduce uterine tumors. More research must be done, however, as current results are not conclusive.
While turmeric, as a spice, can be sprinkled on food and eaten, it is not the only way to enjoy its benefits. It is available as a tea in health food stores and can also be found in capsule form. The tea is popular in Okinawa, where the people experience a longevity not seen anywhere else in the world.
Current testing in lab rats suggests that turmeric can reduce toxic iron levels. It can also battle the effects of diabetes by helping regulate blood sugar levels. Its work as an antioxidant helps protect against stress as well as neurological disorders, cystic fibrosis and heart disease. Its properties as an anti-inflammatory are yet another example of the reason it has been classified as a super food. It appears that research of this super spice and the health benefits it provides has yet to be exhausted.
The anti-aging (Also see our Anne Hathaway Aging report) benefits of turmeric, however, are what make it an important staple in Indian and South Asian cuisines. Besides its apparent benefits in the fights against cancer and Alzheimer’s, it is powerful when used as a rub to treat arthritis. In many cases it surpasses even ibuprofen in fighting pain. It may also be an ally when battling HIV as its properties keep the virus from replicating itself and spreading through the body.
With all of the benefits turmeric provides in addition to its flavor as a spice, it can be hard to keep from adding massive amounts to our food in hopes of relieving some of our chronic conditions. It is important to remember that most clinical testing is performed under controlled conditions and using curcumin only. When deciding to try turmeric, those who like to cook can learn some Indian or Asian recipes and work it into their diet. Consulting a doctor is also a good idea to make sure there are no pre-existing conditions that might conflict with turmeric.
Since turmeric is also available in capsule form, this method may be the better way to experience its benefits. The capsules contain turmeric in raw form which gives a higher dose than what’s present in food. No matter how it’s consumed, turmeric’s anti-aging benefits can’t be denied.