Flame on...flame off!

Keeping with the trend from last week around inflammation in the body, I thought it would be helpful to share a natural supplement you can add to your diet to help curb the inflammatory response. And reduce your risk of heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes.


One randomized clinical trial showed curcumin to significantly reduce C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker, in people in the study with metabolic syndrome.


Metabolic syndrome is a term for the risk factors that in concert increase the development of a more serious condition such as heart disease or adult-onset diabetes, if left unabated. Three or more of these risk factors are an indicator to make a lifestyle change:


  1. Large waistline - over 35" for a woman, and 40" for a male

  2. High blood pressure

  3. High triglycerides

  4. High blood sugar

  5. Low HDL levels

And curcumin has been found to be beneficial for those with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, in easing the inflammation associated with both types.


Curcumin comes from turmeric, a rhizome that grows under the ground like ginger. It has a rich, bright orange color, and is used in many foods in Southeast Asia, particularly traditional curries. You can find dried powdered turmeric in the spice aisle of just about any grocery store. Sometimes they carry the fresh rhizome too (it looks like ginger root, but smaller).


Turmeric contains "curcumin”, an amazing anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compound. Curcumin has been studied for its health benefits with many of the studies testing at up to 100 times more than that of a traditional diet that includes turmeric. If you want the benefits of the active ingredient curcumin, take a supplement. Preferably with a fatty meal, for absorption.


Health benefits:


Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory compound. Some studies even show it can work as well as certain anti-inflammatory medications (but without the side effects).


Curcumin is an antioxidant compound. It can neutralize free radicals before they wreak havoc on our biomolecules and it also boosts our natural antioxidant enzymes.


Chronic inflammation plays a major role in so many conditions, including heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, dementia, mood disorders, and arthritis pain.


Curcumin has also been found to be beneficial by boosting our levels of "brain-derived neurotrophic factor" which is great for brain health.


It also improves "endothelial function" (inner lining of our blood vessels) benefitting our heart and cardiovascular health.


It can also reduce the growth of cancer cells by reducing angiogenesis, metastasis, and even contribute to the death of cancer cells.


How to get the most out of your turmeric:


Curcumin is not easily absorbed by your gut. You can increase absorption by eating it with a fat-containing meal, and adding pepper. Interestingly, a compound in black pepper (piperine) enhances absorption of curcumin, by a whopping 2,000%!


If you want the health benefits of curcumin, you need to get a larger dose of than just eating some turmeric; this is where supplements come in.


Before you take a curcumin supplement, take caution if you:

● Are pregnant

● Are taking anti-platelet medications or blood thinners

● Have gallstones or a bile duct obstruction

● Have stomach ulcers or excess stomach acid

Always read the label before taking a new supplement. And always buy from a reputable source.


Conclusion

Turmeric is a delicious spice, and it’s “active ingredient” curcumin is a health powerhouse!


Recipe : Golden Milk


Serves 2

1 cup canned coconut milk

1 cup hot water 1 ½ tsp turmeric, ground

¼ tsp cinnamon, ground ½ tsp honey

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Whisk to combine.

Warm over medium heat, whisking frequently. Heat until hot, but not boiling.

Serve & enjoy!


Tip: You can substitute 2 cups of almond milk instead of the 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water.


Keep up the good work of improving your health this Healthy Aging Month by taking small incremental steps that add up to optimal health in the long run.

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