Turmeric, the deep golden spice which is so important for Indian curries and other dishes, is also one of the most powerful healing medicines in the world and is particularly good for supporting a healthy old age, one that is free of typical ailments that plaque the elderly, such as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and cancer.
Turmeric can help with all three of these conditions because of its powerful active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant which can protect the body from free radicals that weaken the immune system, cause degeneration and disease and basically speed up the aging process. Read to one learn more about the ways that turmeric can help promote a healthy old age by reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, cancer and arthritis.
It is amazing, but the fact remains that Indian from age 70 to 79 have a rate of Alzheimer’s disease that is less than a quarter of that of Americans in the same age group. That is an astounding difference, and many researchers attribute that difference to the fact that the Indian diet is loaded with turmeric.
Studies have shown that one way in which turmeric acts to slow or prevent Alzheimer’s is to eliminate the build-up of amyloid plaque in the neurons of the brain. It is this build-up of plaque and the eventual death of the brain cells that leads to the dementia and loss of function that are some of the worst aspects of this degenerative disease.
It was also noted that along with high amounts of turmeric in the diet, the Indians who appear healthiest are the ones who live in villages; not having access to processed foods, they live entirely off of whole foods and fare much better for it! (1)
Turmeric is also great for arthritis. Research from the Arizona College of Medicine discovered an extract from turmeric called curcuminoid; this extract acts to block a protein from being activated in that joints. It is apparent the activation of this protein which leads to an inflammatory response. When it is blocked, it stops the inflammatory process and relieves joints pain and stiffness which are so difficult for arthritis sufferers. (2)
Curcumin, apart from helping reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, is also implicated in reducing cancer rates, particularly breast and skin cancer, though it has also been used successfully on myeloma cancer cells. It is believed that this is largely due to the powerful antioxidant properties of curcumin that reduce oxidative damage to the cells, strengthen the immune system to better fight off disease and also reduce inflammation, another important risk factor in cancer development. (3)
So if you are interested in an old age that is still healthy and satisfying and will allow you to be free of the common ailments that can plague it, the simplest way to achieve this is to add turmeric to your diet. It is great in a number of meat and rice dishes and there are even recipes for turmeric teas and smoothies! Drink up!
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