Curcumin: benefits and uses
The rhizomes of the curcuma plant have certain phytochemical compounds, the most important is “curcumin”. With remarkable gastronomic and medicinal properties.
In addition, curcumin has numerous therapeutic properties, for example, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant.
Characteristics of *curcumin
Curcumin is a biologically active agent, although its presence in turmeric is not very high: around 3% by weight.
Moreover, our body is not able to properly absorb *curcumin, so it is necessary to resort to black pepper, to improve its absorption.
Therefore, by combining 1 part of black pepper with 16 parts of turmeric, the bioavailability increases by 2000%.
Also, *curcumin is also fat-soluble (fat soluble), so it is a good idea to take it with a fat-rich meal.
What benefits does curcumin bring to health?
Curcumin can attack different points of our body and thus cure and prevent certain diseases.
For example, among some of its most prominent therapeutic effects we have:
Hepatoprotective, Gastrointestinal, To lose weight, Against diabetes, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Against heart disease, Prevents cancer, Improves brain function, Against depression, Improves memory, Prevents Alzheimer’s, Against hair loss, Antimicrobial.
Let’s see some specific benefits
1 – Gastrointestinal
*Curcumin has a major role in gastrointestinal protection. It helps increase the production of mucosa in the stomach. As a result, it protects the stomach walls better, avoiding gastritis or acidity. It also stimulates the flow of bile to the intestine, which helps in the digestion of fats.
2 – It serves to lose weight
*Curcumin, inhibits cell division in adipocytes (fat cells). Therefore, fat cells cannot increase in number.
Another way in which curcumin helps to lose weight, is by regulating sugar levels and preventing insulin resistance.
Consequently, people who are overweight are more likely to have diabetes, so a corcumin-based diet keeps you safe from this condition.
3 – Good for people with diabetes
*Curcumin can regulate sugar level and prevent insulin intolerance.
The best advice for people prone to diabetes, or who already have diabetes, is to consume curcumin. Because the turmeric plant and its extract, curcumin, have a low glycemic index. So, it can regulate the amount of blood sugar and promote insulin production.
4 – It is a natural antioxidant
Free radicals are very reactive molecules that cause oxidation and can damage cells and DNA. Antioxidants protect the body from these free radicals.
Curcumin, is a natural antioxidant, directly neutralizes free radicals and stimulates our body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
5 – Fight inflammation
*Curcumin, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, can be an excellent treatment for joint conditions, especially if it is rheumatoid arthritis.
Several studies have shown that curcumin can be as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, diclofenac sodium, but without its side effects.
6 – Prevents cancer
There are several studies of the beneficial effects of curcumin.
The results indicate that it can reduce angiogenesis (tumor growth) and metastasis (spread of cancer). Likewise, help eliminate cancer cells.
Moreover, curcumin is not toxic and does not damage healthy cells.
Likewise, a previous treatment with curcumin, may increase sensitization to radiation therapy and chemotherapy. As a result, cells and / or tumors are easier to eliminate and the body accepts therapy better.
7 – Improves brain function
BDNF is a hormone that drives the multiplication and increase of neurons in the brain. Many brain disorders such as depression or Alzheimer’s have been linked to a reduction in the levels of this hormone.
However, curcumin may increase BDNF levels. Consequently, it can delay and even reverse brain diseases associated with aging.
8 – Depression treatment
There is a close relationship, between depression and low levels of the hormone BDNF, in the brain. But, curcumin is able to increase the levels of this hormone(BDNF).
In addition, the patients had a better response to the psychiatric medication (Prozac), when they were treated together with the curcumin extract.
Similarly, there is some evidence that curcumin can increase brain neurotransmitters. For example, serotonin and dopamine, two chemicals that decrease as the person goes into depression.
9 – Curcumin is good for memory and Prevents Alzheimer’s
*Curcumin contains a bioactive factor, called “ar-turmerona.” This compound can increase the development of stem cells in the brain and obtain an improvement in certain neurological problems. For example, it can help in case of stroke and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
10 – Curcumin and hair loss
*Curcumin is an excellent option in the treatment and care of hair. In this way, thanks to curcumin, we can increase the growth of our hair and also eliminate scalp conditions, such as dandruff and hair loss.
Use curcumin and make a mixture with honey and milk. Apply it to the hair, let it act for a few minutes and then rinse.
Tips to Use Curcumin Therapeutically
*Curcumin has a low bioavailability in the body. As a result, the liver metabolizes curcumin very quickly and eliminates it by feces. Therefore, the therapeutic utility of curcumin is very limited.
The solution to this problem, is to consume *curcumin along with other foods or supplements, which help increase its bioavailability in the body.
For example, the compounds that help improve the bioavailability of curcumin are phospholipids (fatty acids). These phospholipids are naturally present in foods such as soybeans, eggs, meats, viscera, fish, shellfish, cereals and oilseeds.
So, if you want to use *curcumin as an alternative therapy, you can try some of the following possibilities:
How to prepare corcumin
1) – Find a high quality turmeric extract: Look for an extract whose content is 100% certified organic ingredients, with at least 95% curcuminoids. The formula should not contain additives.
2) – Perform a microemulsion: Combine 1 tablespoon of raw curcumin powder, with 1 or 2 egg yolks, and 1 or 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil. Use a high speed manual mixer to emulsify.
3) – Boil curcumin powder: Another strategy that can help increase its absorption, is to add 1 tablespoon of raw curcumin powder, in 1 liter of boiling water.
After boiling the mixture for 10 minutes, we obtain a solution with 12% curcumin and a light wood flavor.
Therefore, once the solution is cold, drink it within the next 4 hours, to achieve the best results.
Curcumin nutritional information
Turmeric is a plant that is low in fat and mainly composed of carbohydrates. Turmeric is rich in minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. As well as in vitamins of the complex C and E.