Cancer. It’s everywhere. Odds are, you or someone you know has been touched by it; it’s frightening! I didn’t set out to write a post about this topic – in actual fact, I was researchingtumeric for its fascinating anti-inflammatory properties. As I sifted through a plethora of research articles, I found that tumeric is like gold powder! Literally, this vivid bright yellow plant has incredible antinociceptive (pain relieving) and chemopreventive properties – substances that inhibit, delay or reverse cancer progression.
Chemopreventive agents are classified into three different sub groups; antiproliferatives, antioxidants or carcinogen blocking agents. The active compound found in tumeric, called curcumin, belongs to all three sub-classes of drug groups – given its multiple mechansims of action. In simple terms, curcumin has the ability to block every stage of cancer transformation; this includes tumour prevention and invasion of mutated cells. It can also protect healthy body cells while encouraging apoptosis – also known as pre-programmed cell death.
You Are What You Eat – A Cellular Perspective
Your body regenerates itself daily; destroying old cells to make new ones. That’s around 100-130 billion cells being killed off and replaced everyday. We make these new cells from the food we eat. So, literally, you are what you eat. Eat junk, and your body uses lower grade materials to build new cells. Eat quality food and your body begins with good, solid foundations for new cells. Imagine building your body with poor quality materials; it’s not going to work as efficiently and will become less resilient to disease.
Cancer cells are mutated cells that have somehow turned off their suicide genes. Tumeric is found to reprogram cancer cells to induce apoptosis. The complexity in the design of our bodies is astonishing; one substance is able to change so many different functions in the body on an intercellular level. Curcumin generates accumulation of reactive oxygen intermediates (reactive molecules involved in cell death) in cancer cells. This disrupts the cell’s outer membrane and leads to a cascade of events within the cell, ultimately leading to its own suicide. Curcumin literally re-programs the cell to destroy itself without harming healthy body tissue; making it attractive for cancer therapy (kidney cancer, in particular). If you’re interested in the science behind this, read Jung et al’s 2005 study published in Carcinogenesis.
Black & Gold – The Ultimate Pair
However, the bioavailability (the degree of absorption in the body) of curcumin is quite poor due to its metabolism in the liver. When taken with piperine, though, studies show it enhances absorption by 2000% with no adverse effects.
What’s piperine, I hear you ask?
Plain old black pepper.
Curcumin isn’t limited to cancer treatment either. It’s highly anti-inflammatory and has been researched to reduce pain associated with arthritis and has potential therapeutic benefits for inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis. Based on this information, I would recommend tumeric in conjunction with black pepper to be used in any inflammatory state. I usually use it for period pain, muscle soreness, headaches and stomach pain in a tea infusion or taken as a supplement. Maybe try my Anti Inflammatory Tea recipe?
Anti Inflammatory Tumeric Tea
A great drink for any time of the day. It’s nice and warming; perfect for when you’re not feeling well or just need a ‘pick me up.’
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup coconut milk (I choose the Ayam brand because it has no additives)
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 star anise
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp coconut sugar
Add all ingredients into a saucepan and stir over low heat for 10 minutes until fragrant. Strain out the spices if you like and serve in a mug. Enjoy!
I hope you found this post informative. If you have any questions, I’d love to hear them.
Have a lovely week everyone!
Love Stace x
PS. Let me know if you try my tea x