Turmeric is a quintessential spice added to a curry. In fact, it is one of the healthiest ways to add flavor and color to a meal. Turmeric has been used as a culinary and medicinal herb for centuries. It can be considered an effective food based nutritional supplement. Numerous scientific studies have shown the benefits it offer your body and brain.
Turmeric gives the curry its yellow color. These compounds are known as curcuminoids, and the most important compound of them all is curcumin. It’s the main active ingredient in turmeric. Curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, the curcumin contained in turmeric is not that high. In fact, it is about 3% by weight. Most studies have shown that curcumin supplements containing a higher dosage of curcumin. Unfortunately curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. This is why it is essential that you consume black pepper with turmeric. Black pepper contains piperine which helps enhance the absorption of curcumin by at least 2000%. Curcumin is fat soluble and is an excellent choice for a fatty meal.
It also plays a huge role in repairing damaged cells in the body. Without anti-inflammatory compounds like curcumin, pathogens such as bacteria could easily take over an individual’s body. In fact, curcumin is more anti-inflammatory than most of the anti-inflammatory drugs out there. Curcumin is helpful in blocking NF-kB, a molecule that usually travels into the nuclei and turns on the genes related to inflammation. In fact, NF-kB plays a major role in many of the chronic diseases affecting humans.
Curcumin helps fight inflammation at the molecular level. This is why curcumin is considered a better anti-inflammatory drug without the side effects associated with anti-inflammatory drugs.
Antioxidants are important to protect our bodies from the effects of free radicals. Curcumin’s chemical structure helps neutralize the actions of free radicals. Curcumin also boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
The neurons in the brain are capable of forming new connections. One of the main stimulants of this process is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. Many common brain diseases are linked to decreased levels of this hormone. Alzheimer’s disease and depression are two of the major diseases linked to the decrease in BDNF. Curcumin has the ability to increase the levels of BDNF in the brain.
Curcumin does lowers teh risk by improving the functions of the endothelium, the lining of the blood vessels. In fact, endothelium dysfunction is considered a major cause of heart disease. This involves the inability of the endothelium to regulate blood clotting, blood pressure, and various other factors. One study reveals that endothelium is effective as exercise in preventing heart diseases.
Curcumin also reduces inflammation and oxidation which is also important in reducing the risk of a heart attack. A study was conducted with 121 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery. They were given four grams of curcumin a day for a few days before and after the surgery. They had a 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack. This is how important turmeric and curcumin is to the human body and brain.
Consider adding Turmeric rich foods to your diet.