Is turmeric THE best friend of vegetarians?

It is well known in the Indian traditional culture and mostly in the medicine branch, that turmeric has medicinal properties and can cure many diseases. Turmeric is used mostly in savory dishes, but also is used in some sweet dishes, such as the cake sfouf. In India, turmeric plant leaf is used to prepare special sweet dishes, patoleo, by layering rice flour and coconutjaggery mixture on the leaf, then closing and steaming it in a special copper steamer.

In recipes outside South Asia, turmeric sometimes is used as an agent to impart a golden yellow color. It is used in canned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, cereals, sauces, gelatin, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders.

New studies have found more beneficial facts for those who adopt this amazing ingredient into their diet. In a study titled „Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders”, the researchers from the National Institute of Health concluded that curcumin enhances the biosynthesis of the essential fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the rat brain.

Curcumin is the herbal compound of turmeric, which is believed to have therapeutic value in more than 600 health conditions. The study mainly pointed out three ways in which curcumin acts:

  • Curcumin helps the synthesis of DHA from its precursor, a-linolenic acid and elevates levels of enzymes involved in the synthesis of DHA in both liver and brain tissue.
  • Curcumin increases DHA synthesis in the liver
  • Curcumin reduces anxiety-like behavior in rodents

The final conclusion of the study included these words:  “Taken together, these data suggest that curcumin enhances DHA synthesis, resulting in elevated brain DHA content. These findings have important implications for human health and the prevention of cognitive disease, particularly for populations eating a plant-based diet or who do not consume fish, a primary source of DHA, since DHA is essential for brain function and its deficiency is implicated in many types of neurological disorders.”

Need any more reasons to include turmeric to your diet? Even though these studies have been founded only on rodents, we cannot deny the implications for the human health. For centuries, some people have recommended the plant-based diet and those who have lead such a life, have had disease free living experiences. We are trying a more natural style of living, and including more wonderful plants like turmeric is nothing more than a plus on the health side.

If you want to try turmeric or curcumin supplements to see if they help improve mood, look for products standardized for 95% curcuminoids that also contain piperine or black pepper extract. Follow the dosage instructions on labels. You can take turmeric or curcumin indefinitely and combine them with antidepressant drugs or with natural remedies.

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