Curcumin is the active ingredient that found in the roots of the turmeric plant which grows in tropical regions around the world. Turmeric originated from India and South East Asia where it has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
What is Curcumin?
Curcumin is the active ingredient that found in the roots of the turmeric plant which grows in tropical regions around the world. Turmeric originated from India and South East Asia where it has been used as a culinary herb and in traditional medicine for centuries. Curcumin is fat soluble, meaning that it can’t dissolve in water and thus it will be better absorbed by the body when taken with fat. The amount of curcumin present in turmeric is only 3% which is very low and thus from a medical perspective it would be very hard to reach medical effects using turmeric spice in your foods. Consuming turmeric with fat and/ or pepper can dramatically increase its absorption in the body, however to obtain a therapeutic dose of curcumin you would need to take a concentrated extract that contains a significant amount of curcumin.
What are the main health benefits of curcumin?
Curcumin has a wide range of health benefits due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial affects in the body.
Anti-oxidant: By combating highly reactive and damaging free radicals, curcumin can help prevent oxidative damage in the body which is thought to be one of the key mechanisms behind aging and many chronic diseases. While the chemical structure of curcumin itself will act as an antioxidant, curcumin can also boost the body’s own antioxidant system.
Anti-inflammatory: One of the most common ailments that curcumin is known for is in the treatment of arthritis, which is due to its ability to decrease inflammation. Studies have shown that it is very effective at fighting inflammation as it is able to act on multiple targets in the inflammatory process. Some studies have shown that the curcumin is just as effective as some anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals.
Anti-microbial: Studies have shown that curcumin can also fight against some bacteria, viruses, fungal infections and parasites which makes it a good option to boost the immune system, especially while travelling or during cold and flu season.
Through some of the mechanisms listed above curcumin may be beneficial for conditions such as:
- Heart Disease
- Arthritis and muscle pain
- Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Auto immune conditions
- Immune function
- Liver conditions
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