Turmeric is one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science. Curcumin, this herb's healing compound, is as beneficial as many pharmaceutical medications in over 6,000 studies...CRAY. One of the most powerful advantages curcumin has over traditional medicine is its lack of side effects.
It's also a "pleiotropic molecule" - a single compound that can act on various proteins and genes. That means, for example, when you take turmeric for the flu, it'll simultaneously 1) act against the virus, 2) reduce fever and inflammation, and 3) relieve the respiratory system. Curcumin's structure perfectly bonds to various proteins, genes, and other targets in the body to bring about a therapeutic effect. It's also shown that cancer rates are much lower in countries where large amounts of not only turmeric, but spices in general, are consumed. Obviously, other factors probably contribute as well. It's always dangerous to try to isolate one thing as the "cure-all". There's so much more to the way food reacts in our bodies than that. Just keep this in mind. People in India, for instance, eat a relatively low intake of meat as well as a mostly plant-based diet. They're one of the largest producers and consumers of fresh fruits and vegetables, and also eat a lot of legumes.
Guys, I'm OBSESSED with this herb. I want to share all the things with you! But for now, I'll condense it to a five point list of health benefits that turmeric provides:
- BRAIN HEALTH: Research results of a study done by Phytotherapy Research showed that curcumin was as effective as Prosac in managing depression. It helps the brain by also reducing the risk of developing brain diseases, aiding in the healing of brain tissue in trauma cases, and reducing age-related dementia. Curcumin taken individually or in combination with anti-depressants helps in alleviating anxiety and depression because it boosts DHA levels, which are required for brain development and health as well as anxiety relief.
- ANTI-INFLAMMATORY: Inflammation puts people at risk for ALMOST EVERY DISEASE PROCESS KNOWN TO MAN. It's no, joke, guys. I shiver at the thought of inflammation, because I deal with chronic shoulder pain because of an injury. Yuck. But!! Results of a study published by the journal Oncogene found that aspirin and ibuprophen were least effective in inflammatory cases, whereas curcumin was among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world. Curcumin acts on the major protein that controls inflammation, "nuclear factor kappa B", and inhibits its activity which ALSO inhibits other proteins, genes, and enzymes involved with inflammation.
- PAIN KILLER: Curcumin's anti-inflammatory property also makes it a pain reducer. Studies have shown it to reduce pain associated with many conditions including chronic pain, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriasis. I actually take a curcumin supplement for my shoulder pain, and it helps! You can get it here.
- DIABETES: A study published by Biochemistry & Biophysical Research Communications (out of Auburn University) discovered that curcumin is literally 400 times more potent than Metformin in activating AMPK. AMPK is an enzyme that plays a roll in cellular energy balance. What this means for diabetics is that when this enzyme is activated by turmeric, it improves insulin sensitivity, which can help reverse type 2 diabetes.
- CHOLESTEROL REGULATOR: Statin drugs like Lipitor bring cholesterol down but never address the actual cause of cholesterol build up, which is oxidative stress caused by excessive blood sugar. These drugs are also known to harm the kidneys, liver, and cause a plethora of deadly side effects. A study done by Drugs in R&D found that curcumin more effectively reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the treatment of high cholesterol than diabetes medication.
My THM friends already know this recipe. Honestly, this is one of the best ways I've found to incorporate turmeric into my day besides a supplement. I LOVE this beverage! This is a Trim Healthy Mama recipe. These women have revolutionized my thinking about what I put into my body and how it affects me. They have been indispensable in my journey towards health. This recipe is from their Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, which you can pick up here. Enjoy! xoxo ~ Sarah
Makes 1 Quart
1 1/2 cups water, plus more for the jar
1/2 to 1 tsp. turmeric as needed
- 1 tsp MCT oil or 1/2 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 tsp. Integral Collagen
- 2 generous pinches mineral salt
- 1-2 splashes vanilla extract
- 2-3 tsp. Super Sweet or stevia
- 3-4 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
- 2,000 mg. vitamin C powder (optional - I didn't use this because I don't currently own any)
- ice cubes
Peel the rind off the lemons using a sharp paring knife, leaving as much white pith as possible (the bioflavonoids in the pith are a healing compound). Slice each lemon into 4 chunks, remove the seeds, and put the pieces into a blender along with the water. Blend well and strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Pour the strained juice back into the blender. Add all the other ingredients except the ice cubes and blend well. Fill a quart jar with ice to the top and pour the blended lemon mixture over top. Add remaining water if needed to completely fill. Tighten with a lid, shake well, and adjust flavors as desired.