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Updated 19 October 2015

Can turmeric can fight inflammation better than drugs?

Studies show that a promising new treatment for severe inflammation, which is at the heart of most chronic diseases, is found in curcumin, a natural ingredient in the common spice, turmeric.

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Several studies have shown curcumin, used for centuries in many Asian dishes, has properties that may help address a host of inflammation-based chronic diseases. One recent study found that curcumin’s potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help fight Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies have also shown curcumin to be helpful in fighting diabetes, cardiovascular disease, auto-immune problems, and many other inflammatory conditions.

Furthermore, two separate studies found that the turmeric extract BCM-95, utilised in the food supplement Bio-Curcumin, outperformed conventional drugs in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and knee osteoarthritis. BCM-95 has been scientifically proven to be the most effective way to supplement with curcumin.

SA nutritional consultant, Vanessa Ascencao, says severe inflammation may lead to depression, unhealthy weight gain and chronic disease.

She suggests the following tips to help counter inflammation:

- Ditch sugar, including refined sugar, artificial sweeteners and even agave nectar. Check food labels and avoid high fructose corn syrup.

- Avoid refined foods, processed foods and sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages.

- Avoid foods with trans or hydrogenated fats.

- Follow a healthy diet by choosing natural whole foods as close to nature as possible. Aim to eat a plethora of greens, good fats, good quality protein and fresh fruit in season.

- Increase omega 3 fatty acids found in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, walnuts and seeds.

- Increase foods which combat inflammation such as tomatoes, olive oil, ginger, rosemary, cloves and tumeric.

- Remove all forms of gluten (rye, barley, oats, wheat) as it causes gut inflammation and is linked to arthritis.

- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. If you can’t get to gym, jog, walk the dogs or play with your kids.

- Get enough, good quality sleep: eight to 10 hours a night.

- Manage stress.

- Increase intake of vitamin D3 which helps improve muscle function and maintain healthy insulin levels.


- Take an anti-inflammatory supplement such as Bio-Curcumin

Read more:

The A-Z of turmeric

Curcumin may lower inflammation in heart disease patients

Get your nutrients from food, not a bottle

References:

Benzie, I. F., Wachtel-Galor, S., Prasad, S., & Aggarwal, B. B. (2011). Turmeric, the Golden Spice

Mishra, S., & Palanivelu, K. (2008). The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer's disease: An overview. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, 11(1), 13.

McClure, R., Yanagisawa, D., Stec, D., Abdollahian, D., Koktysh, D., Xhillari, D., ... & Pham, W. (2015). Inhalable curcumin: offering the potential for translation to imaging and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD, 44(1), 283.


 
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