It has been known that some foods can be used as medicine. Asian cuisine is loaded with beneficial spices that can provide cure for many common ailments. Studies have suggested that these spices can cure chronic diseases, such as cancers. One of these spices is turmeric and it has been used for centuries to treat swelling and inflammation. Turmeric is incorporated into many Asian cuisines and praised for its peppery, pungent and somewhat strong flavour. However, western people have only started to study this marvellous spice. Turmeric contains curcuminoids and curcumin, which are powerful phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory properties. They inhibit prostaglandins that cause swelling and inflammation. For this reason, turmeric can be used to treat people with arthritis without side effects, such as stomach upset and abdominal bleeding. Curcumin produces no toxicity and it exerts powerful antioxidant effects.
Curcumin can neutralize free radicals that cause significant damages to cell membranes and healthy cells. Free radicals are also responsible for the development of arthritis, because they can cause painful joint inflammation and joints damage. Turmeric’s combination of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects can explain why people can use curcumin to treat their arthritis symptoms. After a period of time, regular consumption of turmeric can reduce joint swelling, lengthen walking time and eliminate morning stiffness. Curcumin could also prevent the cholesterol oxidation and plaques build up. People who consume turmeric regularly may reduce the progression of diabetic heart disease and atherosclerosis. Turmeric also contains vitamin B6 that can control the level of homocysteine.
Homocysteine can contribute in damaging process of blood vessel wall. People with high level of homocysteine are more likely to suffer heart diseases, due to atherosclerotic plaque build-up and blood vessel damage. High intake of vitamin B6 is often associated with lower risks of heart disease and evidences have shown that the spice could afford us protection against neurodegenerative diseases. In areas where people regularly incorporate turmeric in their diet seem to have fewer cases of neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. It appears that curcumin can block the development of multiple sclerosis. It is believed that curcumin can block the production of a protein, called IL-2 that contributes in the destruction of myelin. It is a sheath that protects the nervous system in our body.
Regular use of turmeric also contributes to the lower incidences of colon, lung, prostate and breast cancers. Numerous studies have suggested that curcumin may prevent tumor from developing. In people with breast cancer, curcumin can help prevent cancer cells to spread to nearest organ, such as lungs. It is also strongly suggested that curcumin can prevent or treat cancer in the lower intestine. Prostate cancer is a common cause of death caused by cancer and 500,000 new cases are reported in the US alone. However, it appears that occurrence is rare among men in countries with higher consumption of turmeric. Consuming turmeric is easy, we can eat curry more often, as long as we know that it contains real turmeric. Alternatively, we could drink turmeric juice every day that is mixed with some honey.