Turmeric is a bright orange-yellow aromatic powder obtained from grinding the root of the turmeric plant. FUN FACT: Did you know that turmeric is part of the ginger family? Turmeric is traditionally used for flavoring and coloring in Asian cooking and was formerly used as a dye for fabric. It has also been extensively researched for its many health benefits. Curcumin is a polyphenol that is found within the turmeric root. Polyphenols are plant-based nutrients that have known healing properties in the human body. Other foods rich in polyphenols:BasilClovesCoffeeSageStar aniseCocoa powderMexican oregano, driedCelery seedCapersBlack chokeberryDark chocolateFlaxseedBlack elderberryChestnutRosemarySpearmintThymeStrawberriesLocated within these polyphenols are antioxidants that actually scavenge within the body to clean up cell damage and fight free radicals. Medline.gov defines antioxidants as “man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Antioxidants are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. They are also available as dietary supplements.” Examples of antioxidants include:Beta-caroteneLuteinLycopeneSeleniumVitamin AVitamin CVitamin EFree radicals build up in the body. Problems arise in the body when they cannot be gradually destroyed. They are associated with the development of chronic and degenerative illness such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, aging, cataracts, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.Some examples of free radicals are:Inflammation from a processed diet containing trans fats, artificial sweeteners, dyes, preservatives, and additivesExposure to pollutionOverexposure to UVCigarette smokeTissue trauma from inflammation or injuryExposure to harmful chemicals Medication useRadiationCurcumin represents about five percent of the turmeric root. It is curcumin that gives turmeric its numerous health benefits. The logical way one might decide to get enough curcumin would be to add more turmeric to their diet. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Not unless curry dishes are a staple in your household. Curcumin can be extracted from turmeric to be used as a supplement. There is one more hitch, though: curcumin is not easily absorbed in the human body. If your body does not absorb it into the bloodstream, curcumin cannot provide the numerous health benefits it is known for. Piperine, the active compound found in black pepper, has been proven to increase the absorbability of curcumin by up to 2000 percent when taken together. When you are researching the best turmeric supplement to purchase, make sure it contains piperine. If you are looking for a partner in regaining your health, or just want to maintain your health in a better way, please schedule an appointment with Friends and Family Health Centers by clicking here. Our services include chiropractic care, car accident injury care, nutritional consultation, and muscle manipulation. This article is part of an ongoing series of articles based on the five foundations of health, written by Birmingham chiropractor Dr. John Palmer
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