Although dating back to 3000 B.C. India, the ancient spice of Turmeric has just recently gained footing as a current health trend- and for good reason. This brightly colored root vegetable owes its distinct orange hue, and health benefits, to the active ingredient of curcumin, a powerful antioxidant.
The antioxidants found in curcumin boost your diet by fighting free radicals, molecules that tamper with DNA and kill cells in a potentially cancerous manner. Since 1987, the National Cancer Institute has tested over 1,000 potential agents for chemopreventive activity. Only a few dozen have made it to clinical trials, Curcumin being one of them. The Institute classifies these agents into three groups: antiproliferatives, antioxidants, or carcinogen-blockers. Due to its perceived ability to block groups of cancer transformation, proliferation, and invasion, Curcumin belongs to all three groups defined by the Institute.
Research speaking to the advantages of Curcumin widens in scale with comparisons between Western diets and Indian diets. Indian diets contain Tumeric with daily frequency, as it spices many of their curry dishes. Population-based data indicates that regions where people consume turmeric daily have lower incidences of cancer. For example, prostate cancer rates in U.S. whites are 20 times higher than those in India. Likewise, cancer rates for women were also lowest in India, and more than 180% higher in the U.S. (Rostogi et al., 2008). This shocking observation cannot be attributed exclusively to Turmeric, as Indian cuisines include an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and other spices. Accordingly, 40% of the Indian population live as vegetarians, and those who do eat meat, do not eat it often. While these population studies cannot prove a causation between turmeric and decreased cancer, the experts believe that adding this spice into your daily diet can only boost your overall health while giving a kick to smoothies, soups, oatmeal, and more.
In addition to fighting cancer cells, curcumin has been shown to reduce inflammation. These results have led researchers to put it to the test on rheumatoid arthritis patients. Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic systemic inflammatory disorder, causes progressive degradation of cartilage and bone in the joints. The long term prognosis of arthritis is complete disability. Most people take a variety of drugs to cope with the pain, but these drugs often correlate with severe side effects, causing pain in previously unaffected areas of their body. A clinical study of 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients randomized patients into three groups: curcumin, the standard of care drug, or both. The study aimed to test which substance could reduce disease activity. In conclusion, the positive impact of curcumin taken alone exceeded the other two groups significantly. The results demonstrated that curcumin proved not only safe and effective, but was surprisingly more successful in alleviating pain compared to the leading arthritis drug. Additionally, curcumin actually elicited positive side effects when taken, compared to the many adverse effects experienced in the drug group.
This all encompassing spice doesn’t stop at fighting cancer and reducing inflammation. Curcumin continually proves its power, as it also has been shown to prevent diabetes in prediabetic patients. In a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of prediabetes patients, half received supplements of curcumin and the other half received seemingly identical placebos. After nine months researchers evaluated who ended up with diabetes. The results showed 16% of subjects in the placebo group were diagnosed with diabetes, yet none in the curcumin group were. The curcumin group actually saw improvements in fasting blood sugars, glucose tolerance, and insulin sensitivity. Studies may show that this spice compound has an anti-diabetic effect by decreasing fats in the blood, but it takes more than just one curcumin pill to drastically improve your health. By integrating this spice into your daily diet while following a primarily whole foods plant-based lifestyle, one can reduce their risk of being diagnosed with chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and many more. We at aha Pure Foods encourage you to do your own research on the diverse variety of plants that are proven to help combat illness and disease, so that you can live your best life everyday.
One of the simplest ways to incorporate this spice into your diet is by grabbing a spoon and a jar of Fireproof, a turmeric-packed soup specifically designed to put the fire out in your inflammation.
With Pure Intentions,
Feel Inspired? Share your #ahahealthmoment and tag us on Facebook or Instagram for the chance to win one of our monthly soup giveaways!