Turmeric is absolute gold. Turmeric is a very powerful herb; so powerful that even the amounts used in foods is enough to reach an effective dose. It has very low toxicity at crazy high doses; so with the levels we are capable of eating in foods so it is really hard to get too much of this good thing.
Let me give you a basic run down of some of the health benefits you can receive from food doses of turmeric (Curcuma longa).
Turmeric reduces our stress response by reducing the severity of our stress triggers. Our body cannot afford to wait to see what our stress is before we react; just in case the inflammatory chemicals, or the pain, or the liver response or the immune response is activated because of poison or venom or getting attacked by a shark or something.
The survival systems in the body will measure how many immune or inflammatory chemicals are released in response to the trigger and launch an emotional stress response proportional to the perceived severity of the attack. If you have an exaggerated inflammatory, immune or liver response to triggers then you will have an exaggerated emotional stress response to stress too.
So Turmeric builds up in your body and works to dampen down innate defence mechanisms. It dampens down our immune response, it reduces the amount of inflammatory chemicals released; it calms down the liver changes.
By doing this it reduces the amount of stress your body thinks you are exposed to. Thereby reducing the amount of emotional stress you feel as you have less triggers for anxiety and panic. So it really is very clever because it is one of the only things that can reduce our stress response but isn’t a sedative or chemical straight jacket. If anything it improves vitality and energy. It just makes us tougher so we don’t over react to stress.12
NRF2 activation is first line of defence
Turmeric activates the “resilient” gene NRF2. The NRF2 gene is powerful switch in the body. When you flick this switch it activates gene transcription to induce and create the most potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions in the body. This improves our resilience and stops the degradation of our body structures when exposed to inflammation, oxidative stress, toxic exposure, poisons, allergies and intolerances. This is an extremely important therapeutic target for now and more so into the future as it can specifically help to protect us from xeno-estrogens, plastics, pesticides, pollution, and electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and computer screens etc.34
Insulin activity and obesity
Turmeric improves insulin sensitivity and is a great ingredient to add to meals for insulin resistant syndromes such as type 2 diabetes, Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), metabolic syndrome and the associated obesity, acne, hirsutism and cardiovascular disease.5
Cofactors to make dietary fats healthier
As an antioxidant turmeric protects oily structures such as cell walls, receptors and the mitochondria (energy warehouse of our cells) from damage and helps them to regenerate and repair. Turmeric even increases the amount of DHA in oily structures such as the brain! But it doesn’t even really contain any significant levels of oil; let alone enough DHA to work better than fish oil! Turmeric helps to efficiently convert dietary omega 3 oil linolenic acid into the active DHA, resulting in elevated levels of DHA available! Fish oil is famous because it naturally contains DHA and vegetable sources of omega 3 are often less efficient because they have to convert linoleic acid to DHA; well turmeric enhances this conversion and makes dietary oils work better. This is even more important for people who do not consume enough grass fed animal fats that supply EPA and DHA.67
Turmeric is a very easy herb to work with as it seems to balance most processes in the body. If you analyse the effects of turmeric on the immune system, you will see again how powerful it is at removing burden from our body.
Turmeric is an effective antimicrobial with potent antibacterial and antiviral actions. It also dampens down the severity of allergies and intolerances (except salicylates; read on and I will discuss salicylates a bit later) and is potent tool to help those suffering with Autoimmune disorders.8
What was that about salicylates?
Salicylates are aspirin-like compounds found in a lot of herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. A lot of the really healthy stuff. If it builds up in your body, you can start reacting to salicylates. For more information on salicylates to see if you are suffering now and what you can do about it; go to //atpscience.com/salicylate-foods-sensitivity-intolerances-and-food-list/ for more information
There is so much more!
But this goes to show just how useful this spice is as it can work on such a broad level to protect us from the stress of the world while working on such a deep cellular level; right down deep into our DNA, enzyme and gene activation.
Basically Turmeric makes you tougher. Good as gold!
So what do I do tomorrow?
Most people have turmeric in our cupboards at home; either as single yellow powder or as an ingredient in curry powders. It is readily available at grocery stores. The active ingredient is yellow so if it is pure and yellow than it is probably the right stuff. Of course fresh is always best. Fresh turmeric contains some extra volatile oils (like fragrant essential oils of turmeric). These volatile oils are very important for absorption and activation of turmeric active ingredients. A lot of these fresh fragrant compounds are gone by the time you use the powder. Certain turmeric extracts also preserve the volatile oil cofactors with the active curcuminoids to make sure it works as good as the fresh stuff. ATP Science makes a product called Cort-Rx that contains a potent turmeric extract with volatile oils still preserved that can be used to supplement your diet.
3 ways to add turmeric into your life;
- Doses as small as 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) of turmeric is enough to get into the system. Start adding turmeric powder to your foods. In soups, stews, sauces; or use as a spice blend or rub on meats etc.
- This is a sneaky little morning shot recipe I made up; add 1 teaspoon of turmeric to 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and some black pepper. Add hot or cold water and drink every day. This is a great way to load up on turmeric and lycopene (antioxidant particularly good for controlling hormones and protecting breast and prostate). I like tomato soup so I make mine with boiled water.
- Add turmeric to omega 3 vegetable oils and use as salad dressing. Infuse linseed (aka flax), chia seed oil, mustard seed oil etc. with fresh turmeric to make a rich golden oil that contains the omega 3 building blocks with the essential cofactors. Add this to other ingredients to make a nice oil or vinaigrette.
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- Ghorbani Z1, Hekmatdoost A2, Mirmiran P3. Anti-hyperglycemic and insulin sensitizer effects of turmeric and its principle constituent curcumin. Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Oct 1;12(4):e18081. doi: 10.5812/ijem.18081. eCollection 2014.
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