The benefits of turmeric for ageing and health

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Turmeric is a yellow spice commonly used in Asian cuisine. Its active ingredient, curcumin, is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that have been associated with a variety of health benefits. Turmeric has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, and recent studies have shown that it may be particularly beneficial for elderly people. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of turmeric for elderly people.

 

Foods with tumeric

Turmeric has been used as spice, Ayurvedic medicine, and religious ceremonies for millennia to the Vedic culture in India. Through the long-range spice trade, it reached different parts of the world including China, East Africa, West Africa, Jamaica, etc. (ref)

 

Turmeric has since been commonly used in Indian and southeast Asian cuisines. The popular Indian dishes are such as curries, dhal and pilaus. Turmeric is also used extensively in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, and Thai cuisines.

 

The medicinal properties of turmeric, or its active ingredient (curcumin), are well-studied by scientists all around the world. Below are a few of the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin.

 

Indian curry with curcumin

Reduces inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a key factor in many age-related diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Turmeric has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body. Studies have shown that curcumin can reduce inflammation by inhibiting the activity of inflammatory enzymes in the body.

 

Supports brain health

Our cognitive function tends to decline as we age. Turmeric has been shown to support brain health by improving memory and cognitive function. Studies have shown that curcumin can increase levels of a growth hormone called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is essential for the growth and survival of neurons in the brain.

 

Improves heart health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the elderly population. Turmeric has been shown to have cardioprotective effects by reducing the risk of heart disease. Curcumin has been shown to improve the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. It also helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of blood clotting.

 

Supports digestive health

Digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and constipation are common in elderly people. Turmeric has been shown to support digestive health by improving the function of the digestive system. Curcumin has been shown to increase the production of bile, which is essential for the digestion of fats. It also helps to reduce inflammation in the gut, which can help alleviate digestive issues.

 

Alleviates joint pain

Arthritis is a common problem in the elderly population, and joint pain can greatly affect their quality of life. Turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce joint pain. In one study, elderly people with knee osteoarthritis who took a curcumin supplement experienced significant reductions in pain and improved mobility.

 

Boosts immune system

The immune system tends to weaken as we age, making elderly people more susceptible to infections and diseases. Turmeric has been shown to boost the immune system by increasing the production of immune cells. Curcumin has also been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, which can help protect against infections.

 

Anti-cancer

Curcumin exhibits potent anti-cancer properties that have been extensively studied in various types of cancer. It has shown the ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, induce apoptosis (cell death), and prevent the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) that tumours need to thrive. Additionally, curcumin has demonstrated potential to suppress the metastasis of cancer cells, which is crucial in preventing the spread of cancer throughout the body.

 

Curcumin also possesses remarkable anti-inflammatory properties that can help modulate the tumour microenvironment. By reducing inflammation, curcumin may help inhibit the initiation and progression of cancer cells, as well as enhance the effectiveness of other cancer treatments.

 

Enhanced sensitivity to chemotherapy and radiotherapy

Apart from its anti-cancer properties, curcumin has shown the ability to sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which are common treatment modalities for cancer. Studies have demonstrated that combining curcumin with certain chemotherapy drugs or radiation therapy can enhance their anti-cancer effects. This suggests that curcumin may be a valuable adjunct therapy that can improve the outcomes of conventional cancer treatments.

 

Protection against side effects of cancer treatment

Other than targeting cancer cells, curcumin also demonstrates the ability to protect healthy cells from the damaging effects of cancer treatments. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause significant side effects, such as oxidative stress and inflammation. Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may help mitigate these side effects, enhancing the overall well-being and quality of life of cancer patients.

 

Conclusion

Turmeric has numerous health benefits for elderly people. It can be easily incorporated into the diet by adding it to curries, soups, or smoothies. While the effects of curcumin in cancer treatment are promising, it is important to note that further research is still needed to fully understand its mechanisms and optimize its therapeutic applications. There are concerns that turmeric may interact with certain medications, it is essential to consult with healthcare professionals before incorporating curcumin supplementation or alternative treatments into a cancer management plan.

 

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