Diet is the gateway to either healthy living or not-so-healthy living. And one spice has been shown to contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. What is it?
Researchers from the School of Biomedical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences, at the University of Edinburgh, investigated a type of spice.
The researchers found that curcumin – “a naturally occurring flavonoid present in the spice turmeric” – has “antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties”.
Flavonoids are part of the polyphenol class of phytonutrients and are associated with skin protection, brain function, blood sugar and blood pressure regulation
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Additionally, antioxidants can prevent or slow down cell damage.
Moreover, containing anti-inflammatory properties suggests turmeric can lower a person’s risk of chronic disease.
Researchers from the University of Texas confirm that “inflammation has been shown to play a major role in most chronic illnesses”.
This includes “neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases”.
Working in the Cytokine Research Laboratory, the researchers added: “We provide evidence for the potential role of curcumin in the prevention and treatment of various pro-inflammatory chronic diseases.”
Curcumin is the main ingredient found in the spice turmeric and has multiple health benefits.
Turmeric is typically added to curries for its yellow colouring, but there are lots of ways to incorporate this healthy spice into your diet.
For instance, it can be sprinkled onto scrambled eggs, tossed with roasted vegetables or rice, and added to soups.
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Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed by the blood, but combining it with black pepper would be a tasty advantageous.
This is because black pepper contains piperine – a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin.
To experience the full benefits of curcumin, it’s best to consume it in capsule form.
The supplement is seemingly particularly powerful at helping to ease joint discomfort in arthritis.
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Research by Nirmala Medical Centre conducted a pilot study about the effects of curcumin on people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
There were 45 participants, with a quarter of them receiving either 500mg of curcumin or 50g of diclofenac sodium.
The other third received a treatment of both curcumin and diclofenac sodium.
The NHS confirm that diclofenac sodium is medication to remove pain and swelling, used as treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Interestingly, the researchers found that “the curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement.
“And these scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group.”
The researchers continued: “Our study provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment.”
These results suggest that curcumin is more effective at pain relief than targeted medicines.
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