Turmeric: The Spice of Life
June 20, 2016 by Dr. Mercola
If you ever notice bright yellow stains on someone's fingernails, and they happen to be health conscious latte lovers, you can safely assume they're in on one of the latest trends: turmeric latte, aka "Golden Milk," boasting turmeric root juice as its main ingredient along with coconut, cashew or almond milk.
Turmeric showed up on Google's 2016 Food Trends Report,1 earning "rising star" designation. Internet searches for turmeric increased by 56 percent between November 2015 and January 2016.
Associated with that search was another one for the golden milk lattes, which are gaining "sexy/edgy" status from San Francisco to Sydney.
When one shop in Oxford, England marketed its new brew as "Golden mylk" (using a "y" in "milk" to denote non-dairy), it quickly shot past the number of regular latte requests. However, a similar concoction has been on other U.K. menus for two years.
The golden milk mania is just one sign indicating a renewed interest in this exotic spice, described as slightly aromatic, vaguely floral and pungent, depending on the amount used. People who appreciate spicy cuisine are partial to turmeric use in curries and rice dishes. In fact, it's turmeric that gives curry its vibrant yellow hue.
Hipsters seem to be on the cusp of the turmeric wave, not just because it's the so-called latest thing, but holistic health advocates say another trend is the rising number of people seeking alternative health and food options, for a few different reasons. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center:
"Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 80 percent of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care. In Germany, about 600 to 700 plant-based medicines are available and are prescribed by some 70 percent of German physicians.
In the past 20 years in the United States, public dissatisfaction with the cost of prescription medications, combined with an interest in returning to natural or organic remedies, has led to an increase in herbal medicine use."2
Turmeric: A Pungent Path to Healing
The reasons to make turmeric part of your life (if it isn't already) are almost too numerous to count, especially when you consider its incredible restorative, disease-healing and preventive capabilities.
Derived from the Persian word for "saffron," turmeric has been on the proverbial "top 10 superfoods" list in Chinese medicine for millennia3 and just as long in the Indian Ayurvedic healing tradition.
Turmeric with milk has long been a popular beverage in those regions, so rather than being a new thing, it's simply being revisited. The Guardian noted:
"Like many trends, the turmeric latte may seem to have come out of nowhere. But it has been brewing for a while …
It has done the rounds of the wellness circuit — the blogs, websites and Instagram accounts of 'clean eating' advocates — for several months, and recipes for the drink abound on Pinterest."4
There are reasons for that. Turmeric has (again) attracted attention for many of the health benefits it provides.
Incredible Anti-Inflammatory Advantages of Turmeric
In terms of the nutritional profile for daily recommended values (DRV), turmeric provides 26 percent of what's needed in manganese and 16 percent in iron, along with excellent amounts of fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C and magnesium. All of them provide benefits for better health.
Scientists believe inflammation is involved in nearly every chronic disease, including cancer,5 obesity and metabolic syndrome,6 heart disease and accompanying atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries),7 degenerative disorders and Alzheimer's.
One component in turmeric, curcumin, has been proven so effective as an anti-inflammatory that it's compared to prescription medications, without the toxic side effects8 such as ulcer formation, internal bleeding and a lowered white blood cell count.
Perhaps most importantly, curcumin battles inflammation at the molecular level, as it does with other disorders.9 NF- κ B is a molecule that passes into a cell's nuclei, where it can "switch on" the genes related to inflammation in a number of serious diseases, but curcumin is able to prevent the transfer.10
Further, research suggests turmeric (sometimes simply referred to in studies as curcumin) may be helpful in treating inflammatory bowel diseases, joint pain relief, rheumatoid arthritis, reduced joint swelling, and greater range of motion when ingested regularly.
Besides lowering your cholesterol, turmeric is shown to be heart-protective while relieving indigestion and improving liver function.
To be continued…
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Sources and References:
Mercola, J. (2016). “Turmeric: The Spice of Life.” Mercola.com. Joseph Mercola, published 20 June 2016. Accessed 26 June 2016.
Image Credit: National Institute of Health (NIH). Fogarty International Center, “Turmeric may treat retinitis pigmentosa eye disease.” <https://www.fic.nih.gov/News/Examples/Pages/nei-turmeric.aspx>. Published Summer 2014. Accessed 26 June 2016.
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