Tag Archives: Food and Related Products

Eating For Cancer Prevention: Curcumin

star trek securityKirk, coom in, it’s Scotty in Engineering!”

“Kirk here. What’s the matter, Scotty?”

“Captain, it’s Security! They’ve been brainwashed!”

“Brainwashed!”

“Aye, Captain. Security deployed to arrest an invading alien, but now they won’t stop! They’re arresting the crew.”

“Just fix it, Scotty. And curry!”

“Curry, Captain?”

Simon-pegg-star-trek-3“I said hurry, Scotty, hurry!”

Inflammation, like the Starship Enterprise’s Security force, is essential for keeping your body safe from invading microorganisms; inflammation helps to kill the invaders and start the healing process. But chronic inflammation, when the body ends up attacking itself, can lead to a galaxy of problems. Inflammation has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome (which can lead to stroke and diabetes).

So what’s a Scotsman in outer space to do? Hit the intercom and say “Curcumin!”

(Not laughing? Re-read the first line of this post. Still not laughing? I blame your Scottish accent.)

curcuminCurcumin is a compound found in turmeric, a root that gives curry and mustard it’s yellow color. Curcumin is both a very strong anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. (A green tea toast to that!) The bad news is that turmeric (and therefore curry) doesn’t contain a whole lot of curcumin; most medical benefits are seen from taking curcumin extracts, not from eating Indian food 24/7. That’s a bummer, because I was hoping that hitting our local Indian buffet could be considered “fighting cancer”. Sigh.

A bottle of curcumin extract will run your anywhere from $15-30. I’m not usually one to take extracts; I barely remember to take my daily multivitamin. But I also like the idea of giving my body a Star Trek spring cleaning.

kirk fightFirst there’s Kirk. He seeks out new life and new civilizations and, if they’re evil, he squashes them. He prevents evil empires from spreading to other planets, fights the enemy in hand to hand combat, and roots out injustice all over the galaxy. Curcumin stops cancer tumors from spreading, stops tumors from growing, and even reduces pre-cancerous lesions. Best to let Kirk coom in.

SpockThen there’s Spock. Logical to a fault and owner of the coolest ears this side of Vulcan, Spock increases the knowledge of everyone around him. Curcumin raises the level of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) in our brains. BDNF is what allows your brain to keep learning and growing throughout your life, and decreased levels of BDNF have been linked to depression and Alzheimer’s. So, curcumin makes you Spockier.

mccoyLast of our Star Trek spring cleaners is Doctor Bones McCoy. McCoy has a big heart and curcumin improves the function of the lining of the blood vessels, which affects blood pressure, clotting, and other important stuff that you need McCoy’s medical tricorder to observe properly. In short, curcumin helps prevent heart disease because “Darn it, Jim, McCoy’s a doctor, not a chef”.

If you do try curcumin, please talk to your doctor or at least google the side effects first. They don’t sound bad unless you’re taking certain kinds of chemotherapy or trying to get pregnant.

“Scotty, is Security under control? The Ambassador from the Planet of Beautiful Bipedal Females is due to arrive any minute.”

“Aye, Captain, we’re all set. I’ve got the curry.”

“I said hurry, Scotty.”

“I did, Captain. The Ambassador has just beamed aboard.”

“I’ll come greet her in person. Kirk coomin’ down.”

 

Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Matthew 23:26

 

Images courtesy of: www.comicvine.com (security officers), www.worldtechtoday.com (Scotty), dejareviewer.com (Kirk), bigbangtheory.wikia.com (Spock), www.thezone.fm (McCoy), www.precisionnutrition.com (curcumin)

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One Thing I Can Do

I watched a great documentary a few months ago called Hungry For Change.  It explains why almost everything in the grocery store from wheat to sugar to aspartame to processed food-like substance is bad for your body.  By the time I finished watching it, I looked like this:13

And I did this:14

Three quarters of the way through the film I was on the computer with four tabs open.  Tab 1 was researching how many cows I could raise on 1/3 of an acre, Tab 2 was looking up prices for organic cane sugar, and Tab 3 was googling “signs of heart attack due to prices for organic cane sugar”.  I was absolutely overwhelmed and freaking out a bit.

The last guy they interviewed (well, if it wasn’t the last guy, then it was the last guy I paid attention to) pulled it all together and saved the day.  Paraphrased, he said, “It’s too overwhelming to change everything you eat all at once.  What should you do with all of this new information?  Choose one thing, just one thing that you can change today, and do it.”

P1010370Oh.  One thing?  I can do one thing!  I bake a lot, so I started by finding organic whole wheat flour on amazon and shipped myself a 25 pound bag.  I gave up on finding organic white sugar; if white sugar is so awful for me, why should I pay $6 per pound for it?  I’ll find a way to use less of it and I’ll buy it cheap, thank you.  I bought, cooked, and ate more vegetables. Organic? No, not yet.  One step at a time.

I make a lot of jokes about organic food, so I should say this: generally, I think it’s a great idea and I’m slowly getting on the bandwagon.  I’m still sorting out which foods are worth the extra money to get them organic and which foods aren’t.

What’s one thing you can do today to help yourself reach your goal?  2013 September 005What’s the one thing you can change in your diet, your routine, or your mobility this week to help you be healthier?  Marry an organic farmer?  Choose an earlier bedtime?  Stop buying donuts?  Stop driving to the mailbox?  Place a bottle of water by your side all day so you drink good old H2O?  Take an after dinner walk?  “Close” the kitchen when you put the kids in bed?

By the way, how many cows can you raise on 1/3 of an acre?  0.033.

If they invent a T-bone steak with legs, I’m in business!

“The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

Psalms 37:23-24