Move over curry! Turmeric shots seem to be the latest craze and maybe for good reason.
Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavour and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger. It comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and while it’s best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also gives mustard its bright yellow colour. This vibrant coloured plant from the ginger family has been at the forefront of the media and research papers due to its powerful medicinal properties.
Curcumin is the yellow pigment and primary active component in Turmeric, in which the benefits are so diverse, they affect virtually every organ system in the body and exhibits over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, which include potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-cancer properties.
Curcumin has a long history of traditional use as a potent anti-inflammatory. Its anti-inflammatory effect has been shown to benefit chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis as well as cardiovascular disease, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis), irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis and asthma.
Because curcumin reduces inflammation, especially if taken long-term, it also decreases pain, particularly post-operative and arthritic pain. In fact, long-term curcumin supplementation, which may work as well as many anti-inflammatory medications without the side effects, decreases symptoms of osteoarthritis by more than half. Curcumin also shows great promise as a treatment for skin disorders such as psoriasis, and in the treatment of wounds and may protect against cataracts as well as reverse some of the damage associated with the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes.
Curcumin also helps with general day-to-day pain and while some people turn to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics, some studies have shown that the relief provided by 400 to 500 mg of curcumin daily is comparable to taking 2000 mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol). This will also prove to be beneficial for your organs due to the fact that regular and long-term use of these types of medications is associated with severe side effects such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems, and kidney and/or liver damage.
Free radical damage and oxidation are the main mechanisms behind ageing and the progression of many diseases. Antioxidants are important to protect our bodies against free radical damage and thus improve our immune system. Curcumin is a general immune system booster due to its high antioxidant capacity and is five to eight times stronger than vitamins C and E. Regular supplementation of curcumin has shown to decrease various markers of oxidation, such as C-reactive protein or lipid peroxidation.
Our bodies naturally produce antioxidant enzymes to help protect us from foreign substances. These powerful enzymes are our main defense against the oxidation process. Interestingly, curcumin significantly boosts the activity of these inherent bodily enzymes, leading to a better immune defense.
Curcumin has the ability to modulate genetic activity and expression by destroying cancer cells as well as promoting healthy cell function. It does this by preventing the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cells to grow, therefore, inhibiting the proliferation of tumour cells. Other ways in which this powerful spice reduces risk of cancer is as follows:
- It inhibits the transformation of cells from normal to tumour
- It inhibits the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumour formation.
- Assists your body to destroy mutated cancer cells so they do not pread throughout the body.
Studies have shown that people whose diets are high in curcumin are less at risk for colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. Additionally, if you’re already suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, curcumin might even make the treatment more effective as well as protect healthy cells from damage during radiation therapy.
Safety and Dosing
The general recommended dose for general health purposes is around 500 mg of curcumin daily. Research suggests that doses of up to 8-12 grams per day of highly bioavailable curcumin are safe. The main side effect of high doses of curcumin is some gastrointestinal discomfort.
It is important to note that studies have shown that ordinary curcumin has very poor bioavailability (meaning poor absorption), due to characteristics such as its poor water solubility making it difficult getting past the stomach and into the small intestines where it can be absorbed into the blood.
Regular curcumin formulations may not work best for you and thus you will not reap the true therapeutic benefits of curcumin. Therefore, you should speak to the healthcare professionals at AHS to find out more about a high quality, clinically trialled curcumin with dramatically increased solubility and absorption.
An additional method to improve the bioavailability of curcumin is to add black pepper extract (piperine) to turmeric during the cooking process. Also, since curcumin is fat-soluble, it should be taken with a meal or other fat sources e.g. fish oil to get the most benefit.
So how do you make these Turmeric shots?
There are many variations to this new health food craze. But a personal one that I like is below:
Most people will not find this to be an enjoyable shot so in order to make it sweeter, you can substitute the lemon with orange and/or add fresh coconut juice.
Looking for a great recipe that utilises Turmeric? Check out Our Dietitian Robbie Clark’s Turmeric Spiced Fish and Potatoes!!!
Please call our Dietitian on 9948 2826 or visit our clinic at 9/470 Sydney Rd in Balgowlah servicing the surrounding suburbs of Allambie, Balgowlah Heights, Seaforth, Fairlight and Manly on the Northern Beaches.
Photo Credit: carol mitchell https://flic.kr/p/L1aQr