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Health Benefits of Turmeric

Noted American social commentator, Fran Lebowitz, stated the obvious when she said, “Food is an important part of a balanced diet.” I can tell you that food has been a very important part of my life and enjoyment. The famous TV chef, Julia Child, use to joke that “people who love to eat are always the best people.” I guess that would make me one of the best people that I know. My 90 year old mother is a great cook, often doing amazing things with very little. One of the most remarkable things about my mother is that for decades she served our family of seven children nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been discovered.

curry_powder_turmeric_picAs part of my employment and military service I have traveled all over the world, particularly the South Pacific, Indonesia, and Asia. Some of the foods that I developed a taste for were curry dishes. I could smell a curry meal cooking in a house from clear across the street. Here in the U.S. this aromatic spice is not as popular, but nutritional research is beginning to change that. One of the common ingredients in curry is a spice called turmeric. If you’re not familiar with that name, get use to it because it is a game changer.

Turmeric is traditionally called Indian Saffron, and is often referred to as the Queen of Spices. It has been used for thousands of years for everything from a yellow dye for textiles to a taste enhancer and even a highly regarded natural medicine. A main active component of turmeric is curcumin, so I’ll just refer to them together. Turmeric is a nutritional powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and all sorts of other good stuff. It’s one of those ingredients in nature’s medicine cabinet that is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, in fact it’s anti almost anything that’s bad for the body. Let me share a few specific benefits of turmeric that will make you want to hop in the car and head for the closest health food store to load up.

Turmeric is effective as a blood cleanser and circulatory invigorator. It helps reduce the levels of serum cholesterol, thereby benefiting the cardiovascular system, and recent studies demonstrate that it effectively helps detoxify a number of vital organs, especially the liver.

Turmeric contains substances that supercharge the body’s immune system. Coupled with a potent anti-microbial action, it is a defender against the hostile environment we live in. It is so versatile that it can be used topically as a natural disinfectant on wounds and infections. It has proven to be useful for all kinds of skin conditions.

curry_powder_turmeric_curcumin_picOne of the personal and family tragedies of our time is the curse of Alzheimer’s Disease. It is heart breaking watching intelligent, successful, connected people lose touch, relationships, skills, and capabilities, becoming infant-like and ultimately losing health. A UCLA study found that turmeric appears to break down the amyloid plaques that form at neural junctions in the brain and disrupt cognitive functions. Interestingly, statistics show that of the people over 65 years of age who live in cultures whose diet consists of large amounts of Turmeric, only 1% suffer from Alzheimer’s, as opposed to between 12 and 13% among Americans.

Turmeric has broad effects that benefit a wide array of physical conditions as diverse as arthritis, weight loss, asthma, digestion, hair and nails, diabetes, and several kinds of cancer.

If you have been paying attention, you’re probably getting in your car right now and heading for the health food store to load up with a supply of one of nature’s near magic bullets, turmeric.

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