It fights Colon, prostate cancer! It has anti-inflammatory effect on the body! It fights arthritis! It even fights Alzheimer’s! So what is this "super food"?
Turmeric! An ancient Indian spice which is yellow in colour and has been added on a regular basis to many Indian dishes for atleast 2500 years. It is a ground up root of an east Indian plant (Curcuma longa) belonging to the ginger family. Our focus here is on it’s long history of health effects which are described and widely used in Ayurvedic Medicine.
Futhermore, the health effect claims are being researched by reputable scientists such as Dr. Bharat Aggarwal at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
According to World health Organization, India has one of the lowest numbers of people suffering with Alzheimer’s in the world along with a lot of other ailments such as various forms of Cancer. In fact just 1% of Indians over 65 suffers from the disease while that number is more like 10% in America. For years scientists and Doctors had struggled to understand exactly why this is, but research into the medical properties of this herb may just have provided the answer.
The active ingredient in turmeric that makes it such a great medical tool is called Curcumin. It has an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and lipophilic action that improves the cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer's disease. This disease is characterized by progressive cognitive deterioration together with declining activities of daily living and behavioral changes.
Alzeihmer’s consists of neuronal loss with an inflammatory response to the build up of amyloid plaques (these plaques are said to play a key role in symptoms such as memory loss and mental impairment) and an abnormal cluster of protein fragments and tangled bundles of fibres. Due to various effects of curcumin, such as decreased amyloid plaques, delayed degradation of neurons, metal-chelation, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and decreased microglia (non-neural cells) formation, an improvement of overall memory in patients is seen.
It was recently reported in a study published in the Italian Journal of Biochemistry that Curcumin may also trigger the brain tissue to produce the potent antioxidant bilirubin, which protects the brain against free radical injury. It is this oxidative degenerative injury that is thought to be the main culprit behind Alzheimer`s disease. This would explain why Alzheimer`s levels are so low in India!
Avan Mistry, B.Sc., ND (Naturopathic Doctor)
Her email is [email protected]
Link to the clinic with which she is affiliated - www.hamiltonhealthandwellness.ca.