Health Benefits of Turmeric

The health benefits of turmeric have been known for thousands of years. Indeed, this pungent spice has long been used throughout Europe, Asia and Africa to treat maladies ranging from wounds to cancer. Turmeric may just be familiar to you as that bright-yellow spice that bestows an earthy, peppery flavor to your rice dishes or some of your favorite condiments, but the true benefits of turmeric lie in the good things it can do for your long-term health. Read on to learn about the health benefits of turmeric and why this aromatic spice can pep up more than a few dishes — can actually make you feel better and help you live longer, too! 

Longer life. Turmeric contains powerful antioxidant compounds, referred to as curcuminoids, that are known to “scavenge” free radicals (molecules that damage cells and can result in cell death). Antioxidants help promote good cellular health, which can reduce the spread of diseases and keep you healthier longer, thereby contributing to improved mental and physical well-being and longevity.

Treating uveitis (eye inflammation). One preliminary study suggested that the antioxidants contained in turmeric extract may improve the symptoms of uveitis, or inflammation around the area of the iris of the eye. 

Better digestion. Turmeric has long been used as a remedy for dyspepsia, or indigestion (the uncomfortable pain, gas or bloating that comes from digestive problems). Turmeric is thought to stimulate bile secretion from the gallbladder, which aids in the digestion of food, thereby reducing the symptoms of dyspepsia.  

Reduces inflammation and osteoarthritis. The curcumin in turmeric has proven anti-inflammatory properties, which can alleviate the pain and swelling associated with inflammation. One study demonstrated that patients who used turmeric, along with other popular herbs applied in Ayurvedic medicine, a type of traditional herbal treatment used in Indian medicine, showed a reduction in joint pain and swelling, two common symptoms linked to osteoarthritis.

Fights ulcerative colitis. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties may help soothe the inflammation associated with diseases that affect the bowels, such as ulcerative colitis. One preliminary study indicated that patients who took curcumin (a main constituent of turmeric), showed improved remission in cases of ulcerative colitis.

Reduced cancer risk. As previously mentioned in this article, the phytonutrient curcumin, found in turmeric, promotes longevity by scavenging free radicals. Curcumin may also reduce cancer risk by preventing cells from mutating as a result of damage by free radicals. Cell mutation can lead to the spread of malignant tumors, or cancer. Antioxidants, such as those found in turmeric, have been proven to play a role in cancer risk reduction.

The health benefits of turmeric make this spice a must-have as both a flavorful addition to dishes and a powerful extract to help you live a healthier life. Consume no more than 3 turmeric (curcumin) powdered capsules per day, or use as a tincture of no more than 30 drops 4 times a day.  Turmeric makes it easy to add zest to your condiments and food while adding good health to your future!

 References for “Health Benefits of Turmeric:”

Photo credit: manabray

Originally posted 2014-01-08 12:56:52.

Health Benefits of my Biggest Fear (a childhood Christmas story, plus a tasty holiday protein shake recipe)

cinnamon-powderedI fear two things: snakes and cinnamon. I can’t explain the root of my snake fear; for as long as I can remember I have been terrified of snakes. It must be the creepy, slithery, scaly nastiness. I know exactly where my fear of cinnamon comes from: a fateful “Cinnamon Challenge” on Christmas Eve in a quiet suburban Indiana home.

When I was 10 years-old my brother Aaron, who was 18 at the time, returned home for his first Christmas since leaving for college. I was excited to see my older brother, but anxious at the same time. I grew up constantly trying to prove myself – and with an eight year age difference that is no easy task. I was subject to a fair amount of bullying, but it only made me stronger.

Aaron took me into the kitchen and lowered his voice to a whisper, “You know, it’s impossible to eat a spoonful of cinnamon in under 10 seconds.” “Impossible?” I said, puffing up my chest and trying my hardest to lower my voice, “I bet I could do it.” After a five dollar bet and a hand shake I found myself staring down at a spoonful of cinnamon that was substantially bigger than what I had imagined.

Roughly 0.083 seconds into my Cinnamon Challenge I knew something was gravely wrong. I wanted to give up, but that would be giving into my big brother and there was no way I could do that. First, the cinnamon coated my entire mouth and throat, making it impossible to produce saliva. Second, instead of backing down like a pansy, I tried to forcefully swallow the roughly two tablespoons of cinnamon. It instantly clogged my throat, and the next thing I knew I couldn’t breathe.

My brother’s laughter soon turned to horror as I turned blue in front of him. My short life flashed before my eyes and I started getting light headed. Aaron’s yell beckoned my mother who whipped around the corner into the kitchen faster than Usain Bolt. She repeatedly slapped my back until I coughed up a giant cinnamon cloud and vomited (sorry for the graphic detail) in the middle of the kitchen.

Aaron got coal for Christmas; I tasted cinnamon for days and mom’s blood pressure finally went back to normal the following week. Following the incident, and for about the next 10 years, my entire body would seize every time I smelled cinnamon. I am now able to eat reasonable amounts cinnamon without having flashbacks. Good thing, because cinnamon has these amazing health benefits!

  • Cinnamon can be effective in helping you fight bacterial of fungal infections
  • Cinnamon has been shown to decrease blood sugar
  • Researchers at the University of Tel Aviv found that a chemical in cinnamon can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease
  • A study from Penn State showed that eating cinnamon can reduce your body’s negative response to eating high-fat meals (make sure to have it after turkey legs!)
  • Cinnamon, when taken regularly, can help reduce your LDL “bad cholesterol”
  • Cinnamon can slow the growth of cancer cells

Tasty Holiday Protein Shake

I normally don’t post recipes because I’m a trial-by-error cook. I never use recipes, thus I never remember the amounts of what I put in them. I stumbled across this amazing concoction that is sure to please. You will need:

  • Organic honey crisp apple
  • Organic almond and/or coconut milk (plain or vanilla)
  • Vanilla whey protein powder
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Minced or ground ginger
  • Ice

Directions: core and dice an entire apple, making sure to leave the skin on. Put the apple pieces in a blender, along with a handful of ice. Add 8-12 ounces of almond and/or coconut milk and a scoop of protein powder. Add spices to taste (I’m sure you will use more cinnamon than I did), and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Sources:

Photo by TheDeliciousLife

Originally posted 2013-11-13 12:28:47.

The Health Research on Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle has enjoyed a long history (dating as far back as 2,000 years) of use by health practitioners to treat liver ailments, gall bladder disorders, peritonitis, allergies and other conditions. Milk thistle has even recently been suggested as a possible treatment for cancer. But is there real medicinal value to this old herbal remedy? Research confirms that milk thistle indeed has some health benefits due to the antioxidant compounds found in its ripe seeds. These compounds: silychristin, isosilybin, silybin, and silydianin, make up the flavanoid referred to as silymarin. According to current research, thanks to its silymarin content, milk thistle provide a number of bonified health benefits.

 Milk thistle protects your liver: Silymarin, due to its antioxidant properties, has been shown to inhibit oxidation in the liver. Oxidation can lead to damaged liver cells, which in turn can seriously impact your liver’s health function. Studies have also shown that silymarin has anti-inflammatory properties that help keep liver cells and tissue healthy. Research also suggests that silymarin can block toxins and/or remove toxins from liver cells, thereby helping to detoxify the liver.

 Milk Thistle may offer allergy relief: Some research suggests that combining extract of milk thistle with an antihistamine may offer greater symptom relief compared to taking antihistamine alone.

Milk Thistle may help protect against some types of cancer: Some preliminary lab studies suggest that milk thistle may help protect against skin cell damage resulting from exposure to ultraviolent radiation (from sunlight) and environmental carcinogens, both of which may contribute to skin cancer. Some clinical trials also suggest that the silymarin in milk thistle may directly inhibit the growth of other cancerous cells, such as breast cancer cells, cervical cancer cells, colorectal cells and prostate cancer cells.

Milk thistle may improve the effectiveness of certain types of chemotherapy drugs: Some lab trials have demonstrated that administering silybin, a chemical compound in silymarin, during chemotherapy treatment may improve the treatment’s effectiveness in reducing the growth of breast cancer cells and ovarian cancer cells.

Research is still underway as to the full extent of milk thistle’s efficacy, but the results point to positive health benefits for the human body. Milk thistle may help fight certain cancers, improve the effectiveness of some types of chemotherapy drugs and help relieve allergy symptoms. Plus, milk thistle’s antioxidant properties spell better health for your cells-and healthy cells mean a healthier you!

References: Cancer.govCancer.orgMedlinePlus 

Originally posted 2013-10-15 10:31:00.