Queen Turmeric Has Gone To Ground (Pepper)

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Queen Turmeric Has Gone To Ground (Pepper)

fresh turmeric with a bowl of powdered turmeric
Calendar icon 15th December 2017

Characterised by a sharp taste, peppery aroma, golden hue, and known by the moniker “Queen of Spices” – turmeric has so many health and healing properties that there are – to date – over 10,000 peer reviewed articles on the benefits of it and one of its main compounds – curcumin.

Turmeric is the dried/ground root of the Curcuma Longa plant. It contains an extensive and impressive range of antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant, antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties and is packed to the hilt full of nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, protein, potassium, dietary fibre, sodium, calcium, copper, niacin, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

Introducing Curcumin.

As I mentioned above, there have been copious amounts of peer reviewed studies on Turmeric. The thing to remember though is that the vast majority of studies used a turmeric extract that was composed of predominantly curcumin.

Curcumin is the main active ingredient found within turmeric responsible for the spice’s powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects.

In the real world the curcumin content of turmeric is only around 3% by weight. You couldn’t eat enough turmeric for that to be of any use to you whatsoever. Add to this the fact that curcumin doesn’t really absorb very well into the bloodstream and you’ve got the equivalent of a million dollars with nothing to spend it on.

That is – Until Mr Black Pepper gets his grind on

Black Pepper = wonderful stuff.

Not only does pepper bring out the flavours of your food – when you combine black pepper with turmeric your body’s ability to absorb curcumin increases by 2000%. Well, it’s the piperine inside the pepper that does the work – but hey, so long as the job gets done - right?

Okay – that’s good. Why?

Chronic, low level inflammation is known to play a pivotal role in virtually every chronic Western disease. Think cancer, heart disease – even Alzheimer’s and other degenerative conditions. Studies involving people with rheumatoid arthritis found curcumin to be even more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.

Because of the way it is chemically structured, Curcumin can neutralise free radicals. This makes it an extremely potent antioxidant. Even better still – curcumin has the ability to boost the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

Curcumin blocks the free radicals that cause oxidative damage in the body while simultaneously stimulating the body’s own defence mechanisms – pretty good combo right there.

Here are some of the other amazing ways that Turmeric/Curcumin benefits the body:

  •        Boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF which is responsible for fighting degenerative brain processes as well as increasing the growth of new neurons.
  •        Can serve as a catalyst for molecular change leading to prevention and perhaps treatment of cancer.
  •        Can cross the blood-brain barrier – excellent news for Alzheimer’s especially seeing as curcumin has beneficial effects on oxidative damage and inflammation – both crucial in the onset of Alzheimer’s. Curcumin also has been demonstrated to clear build-ups on Amyloid Plaques – protein tangles that are a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease.
  •        Has been shown to be as effective in treating the symptoms of depression as was Prozac.
  •        Using turmeric as a food seasoning reduces serum cholesterol levels.
  •        Stimulates the body’s immune system due to the presence of a substance called lipopolysaccharide.
  •        Antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties of Turmeric help to strengthen the immune system.

Strangely enough, there are some exciting preliminary studies that demonstrate quite convincingly that dietary curcumin can actually reduce the reactivation of fears in PTSD.

Good Turmeric Vs Cheap 'n' Nasty

Now that we know Turmeric is a must have for the pantry – is there value in being picky, or will any old brand of turmeric do the job?

Not all Turmeric is created equal

One nefarious practice rife in the imported turmeric industry is the colouring of added fillers. The two most common colour additives are Metanil yellow and Lead Chromate – these negatively effect the nervous system and can even cause cancer. Cheaper/Inferior brands have also been known to use fillers such as rice flour, starch etc. At the very least these fillers have next to no nutritional value, and at worst may cause some definitive long-term harm.

Australia has some of the strictest food manufacturing regulations in the developed world which means you can rest assured knowing Australian grown organic turmeric is of the highest quality. Turmeric can do – will do - amazing things for you. Make it a part of your diet and read up on all the wonderful ways turmeric can be used. Make a point of learning all about the multitude of wonderful health benefits it brings so that next time you feel the onset of a cold or flu – simply stir a teaspoon of turmeric w/black pepper into a glass of warm milk and rediscover for yourself the medicinal magic that Indian mothers have known about since forever.



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