You know I’m always advocating for healthier eating and getting more nutrition from healthier foods. That’s why adding spices and herbs can enhance the nutritional value of a meal, without adding extra calories. There are all types to choose from, but I’m focusing on adding turmeric for a healthier meal because it can also help you get the most out of your workout. You have endothelial cells that line your veins and arteries. These have an impact on your blood pressure, heart health and immune function. Exercise enhances nitric oxide, which relaxes the vessels and increases blood flow to provide a healthier heart. In fact, it works much like nitroglycerin. Curcumin boosts the benefits of exercise.
Curcumin helps reduce inflammation.
Inflammation is the wicked villain in many serious conditions. It causes heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer Alzheimer’s and degenerative conditions like arthritis. Several studies show that when it took pharmaceutical drugs on for inflammation, it did just as good of a job. The key here is that while it did the job just as well, it had no side effects like the pharmaceuticals. That’s a big plus! It fights inflammation by interrupting several key steps. While inflammation is important in the short term for fighting bacteria and pathogens, chronic inflammation causes illnesses. Many scientists think it may be a contributing factor for almost all major illnesses in the western world.
Curcumin in the form of turmeric helps depression.
Recent studies show that people using curcumin as a supplement to prozac, can have a better chance of lifting depression than those that take only prozac or only curcumin. In the study, one group took curcumin, a second group took prozac and the third took a combination of the two. The group that took both fared far better than the other two groups. The improvements from curcumin matched the improvements showed with prozac. Scientists thought it might be from the brain-derived neurotrophic factor that curcumin boosts or the fact that it actually improves the levels of serotonin and dopamine.
Sprinkle it on liberally to look and feel younger.
That may be going a bit too far, but it is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Both free radicals, which the antioxidant trait stop and inflammation shorten your lifespan and cause chronic disease. In fact, aging may occur because of oxidation and free radicals. The free radicals kill or damage cells. The more cells that die, the older you look…and feel. The curcumin in turmeric not only fights free radicals, it stimulates the body to make them, too.
- Curcumin is only about 3 percent of the weight of turmeric, so you need higher amounts to get many of the benefits shown in studies. Most of those use curcumin extract, often made from turmeric root. However, every little bit helps. Use it in conjunction with black pepper for better absorption.
- Sprinkle turmeric over steamed vegetables for a rich mellow flavor. Watch out though, once it’s wet, it does stain, so put on an apron when doing it.
- Add it to a dressing for an exotic flavor. Mix turmeric with olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, black and cayenne pepper for a delicious exotic salad dressing you’ll love.
- Sprinkle it in rice dishes for a mellow flavor and brilliant yellow color.