What’s uninflamed and yellow all over?
Most likely your fingers after making any type of contact with turmeric root.
You may have noticed turmeric popping up on the menu at your local health café, in an anti-inflammatory smoothie, or on your favorite health foodie’s Instagram.
Wondering if there’s real reasoning behind all the turmeric hype or does it just make really pretty drinks?
Although its popularity is ramping up now, turmeric, a relative of ginger, has been used for thousands of years in Southeast Asia. Turmeric was the go-to Chinese medicine solution to a whole spectrum of medical issues, from headaches to belly aches.
Turmeric gets its vibrant yellow-orange color from its active ingredient curcumin, which is the real star of the show, known for its magical antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Aside from making Instagram-worthy golden lattes, here are the top benefits of turmeric and why it’s time to stock up on this trendy, kitchen staple.
It’s an Inflammation Warrior
Chronic inflammation plays a pivotal role in various ailments like diabetes, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular diseases.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to improve systemic markers of oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
Talk nerdy to me: Curcumin blocks NF-kB, a molecule that can enter cell nuclei and turn on genes related to inflammation
The Real Antioxidant MVP
Oxidative stress, like inflammation, contributes to the onset of deadly chronic diseases and is primarily caused by an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals in the body, where free radicals are too dominant.
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant (read: anti-oxidative stress), that not only destroys free radicals but triggers your body’s natural response to release antioxidant enzymes.
Science club explanation: Free radicals are released as the byproduct of aerobic cellular metabolism (aka the process by which your body makes energy when oxygen is present)
- Free radicals are released with an incomplete set of electrons and the damage is done when they look for quick fixes to complete themselves by hooking up with important cellular parts and causing the cell to malfunction or die
A Brain-Booster and Protector
Many neurodegenerative diseases can be linked to inflammation and oxidative damage, as mentioned above, plus the accumulation of protein aggregates.
More nerd analogies: Think of protein aggregate accumulation as when you sloppily fold your t-shirts then must sit on your suitcase to get it to shut
- When proteins don’t fold up neatly and go in the right spot they’re unable to perform their essential function as building blocks to the body, and the cells they were supposed to build up start to degrade
Curcumin, in addition to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant superpowers, a