The American diet (particularly what is in the food we consume),the physical activities (the work we strain with, and usually the ones that should be avoided or at the least, modified), and the emotional (all the things we worry about, many of which we either repeatedly get ourselves into, or will be no better from our extra "concern"), are all stresses that overload our bodies and weaken our defense systems and, at the least, add misery to our lives; (my expensive prep school training obviously did nothing to help me avoid the dreaded run-on sentence!). In short, we are most often our worst enemies because of ignorance, laziness or stubbornness !
Somewhere, in the archive of articles I've shared, I know that I've addressed the spice tumeric, but with the advent of all the approaching holiday gatherings, along with the diversion from our normally healthy diets :), and increased anxiety, not to mention the awful "onset of maturity", I thought it would be appropriate to re-emphasize what we can do to help when we (over) indulge in less than healthy choices. At our house, much of the now proclaimed "poison" cured meats like Soprasata, prosciutto and capacola are given a free pass to enter in, dwell and be consumed in unusual copious amounts in November and December. Also, the presumable decrease in exercise added to the year-end deadlines and "must do" list will inevitably lead to a more symptomatic expressive you!
Tumeric, while used predominantly as a culinary spice, has been used in India as a disinfectant, and for treatment for laryngitis, bronchitis and diabetes. Tumeric is derived from the rhizomes, which are the underground stems, of the plant Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family. Curcumin, which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, is the most active constituent of tumeric.
Other studies of turmeric and curcumin have shown the following benefits:
- Turmeric extract worked as well as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee in a study published in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
- Laboratory studies suggest that curcumin acts as a weak phytoestrogen and seems to have cancer protective effects.
- Lab studies have also shown that curcumin induces programmed death of colon cancer cells, and clinical trials are investigating the use of curcumin in treatment of colon cancer.
- Curcumin suppresses microinflammation in the GI tract associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
So, if you follow any of the advertisements from the plethora of vitamin supplement companies, you may notice that there is now a "more absorbable" form of curcumin being marketed and is supposedly superior to the "regular" curcumin that is less absorbable. The difference, however, does not imply that the regular version is more superior.
If the intended goal is to reduce inflammation in the gut (digestive tract), the less absorbable form seems to work more beneficially. If however the target is the peripheral areas of the body (muscles and other soft tissues), the highly absorbable (and more expensive) type is looking like the best choice. There also seems to be some evidence that 81mg of aspirin (baby aspirin) taken with this version of curcumin may increase the effectiveness by as much as ten times! But again, run this by your primary care doctor to make sure that there are no contraindications with your current meds or health history that you may have forgotten about. The long term combination may not be in your best interest, but in my professional opinion, if you are a senior citizen with a greatly reduced quality of life and nothing from a traditional regimen of medication has helped, natural alternative choices may be worth the try.
So, what else can help with the pain due to inflammation that you experience on a regular or constant basis?
An anti-inflammatory diet is the one of the best ways to reduce unhealthy, painful inflammation in the body. When you follow a diet based on eating lots of fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables, beans, and healthy oils like olive and coconut oils you’ll not only reduce inflammation in the body, but this can also lead to a reduced risk of heart disease. Regularly checking your urine pH with test strips that you can purchase at your pharmacy or online will help you stay in the "zone" of 7.0-7.5, (this needs to be carried out first thing in the morning and after at least a 3 hour period from anything but water).
Adding this little root to your daily diet can really help to not just fight nausea but also ward off inflammation. Ginger has been a common staple in Asian, Indian, and Arabic healing therapies to treat inflammation associated with arthritis and ulcerative colitis for years. You can take ginger in it’s whole form in smoothies or soups, capsule form, or as a tea. Life Extension mail order vitamins carry a Curcumin+Ginger product that reportedly is most reasonably available through Amazon. I do like this combination.
This compound with the official name methyl sulfonyl methane combats inflammation with sulfur. Found naturally in cow’s milk, fruits and veggies, as well as meat and seafood, MSM works by adding sulfur to the body which in turn strengthens vital collagen. MSM is available in tablets, capsules, and creams for topical application.
One of the most commonly sold German supplements, this enzyme found in pineapples is often used to treat inflammation in conditions such as arthritis. It is sold in tablet form and also at the grocery store as a meat tenderizer. The version that has an "enteric coating" will enable it to get out of your stomach and into your small intestine, where optimal absorption will occur.
This is a commonly used over-the-counter all natural supplement effective in treating inflammation and related conditions. This powerful combination of plant enzymes, antioxidants, and pancreatic enzymes encourages and supports the body’s own inflammation response.
Thus, if you are taking or thinking about taking large doses of aspirin, tylenol or Ibuprofen on a regular basis I hope you’ve now thought again. The side effects of the mainstream over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication consumption far outweigh the benefits. Consider any one of these all natural therapies after, again, consulting with your health care practitioner to avoid possible drug interactions. Remember, however, that many of the natural remedies (just like medications) are not similarly effective to each person.
So, bring on the holidays! Try to be sensible, find some time to walk ("motion is lotion" for your joints) and find some quiet time to provide some solace from the stresses of the day, even if for 10 minutes (you can possibly find additional time to steal for this as you see the added benefit). AND HYDRATE with mostly water, putting some sliced cucumber in your bottle to alkalize your body and decrease inflammation. Just maybe you can digest some of this material to add some comfort and even relief to your body's misery.
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Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
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