Literally every day in our current American society there is a new wonder food, or super medicine which is touted as the revolution for weight loss, and creating a healthier society. Un-surpsingly, with all these fads and gimmicks; America continues to become one of the most obese countries on the planet. My advice in general is to treat fitness with as much of a holistic approach as possible, and find as many well-proven strategies as possible to improving your overall health. Both apple cider vinegar, and turmeric, have been proven with nearly thousands of years of research and use. These are two proven substances which can be added to your daily routine for real benefits, and a legitimately healthier life!
Turmeric is one of the most effective nutritional supplements in existence, hands down. There have been several studies to confirm that it possesses extraordinary benefits for both your brain and body, with thousands of years of human use to back this up as well. Turmeric is a bright yellow, aromatic powder which is obtained from the rhizome of a plant that belongs to the ginger family. It is commonly used for coloring and flavoring in Asian cookery, and it was formerly used as a dye.
Turmeric happens to be the main spice in curry, and no doubt the most powerful herb on earth when it comes to fighting and potentially reversing diseases. Turmeric has so many healing properties, as currently there are about 6,235 peer-reviewed articles that have been published to prove that the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin stand to be possibly the most prominent healing compound in the world.
Turmeric tops the list of other frequently mentioned and used medicinal herbs such as garlic, ginseng, cinnamon, ginger and milk thistle due to the immense amount of research conducted on it. Based on the studies that compared curcumin to conventional medicine, it has health benefits that are equal to several pharmaceutical medications; without the chemical derivatives.
The name turmeric is derived from the Persian word “saffron,” which is the neon yellow-orange hue that is used to prepare yellow mustard and curry. People from India are one of the most prominent producers of turmeric, with other large producers including the Philippines, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Haiti and Jamaica.
Nutritional Value of Turmeric
Although it is unlikely that you can ingest an entire ounce of turmeric at once, it is quite safe to do so. In order to receive the full nutritional values listed below, you would have to intake about an ounce, which is much more than the normal teaspoon or tablespoon we usually measure in. The basic nutritional contents of turmeric include:
- 26% (RDA) recommended daily amount of manganese
- 16% RDA of iron
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
Health Benefits of Turmeric
There is an extensive list of health benefits of turmeric, so much so that there is no way I could cover all of them in just one article. I will certainly write more about this amazing substance in the future (especially as I am currently treating my own asthma with turmeric at this moment), but here are a few benefits you will be happy to learn about!
Turmeric contains bioactive compounds that have powerful medicinal properties, these compounds are referred to as curcuminoids. Among these important compounds, curcumin happens to be the most important one. Curcumin is the most active ingredient in turmeric, a very strong antioxidant which has very powerful anti-inflammatory effects. The curcumin content in turmeric is about 3% which is not high, and it may not be easy reaching a 1 gram daily dosage which you can get from supplements, by simply eating the turmeric spice you add to your food.
In order to fully enjoy the health benefits of curcumin, you need to take extracts that contain a significant quantity of curcumin. Curcumin is not absorbed into the bloodstream easily, but when you consume black pepper with it, the natural substance in black pepper called piperine enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%!
Personally, I have had success adding large amounts of curcumin to smoothies and shakes. It might not necessarily add a pleasant taste in this way, but it certainly is helpful in intaking a proper amount each day! Between supplementing with extracts and intaking turmeric powder in shakes and smoothies, I have had tremendous success with this compound!
Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound
Curcumin is a great anti-inflammatory compound which helps to fight foreign invaders, and helps in repairing damage throughout your body. Even though short-term inflammation is beneficial in many ways, it becomes a serious problem when it is chronic or long-term inflammation. Currently, it is believed that chronic low-level inflammation actually plays a crucial role in virtually all chronic Western disease such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and several other degenerative conditions. Therefore, any food supplement or spice that can help fight chronic inflammation is of great importance in the prevention and the treatment of these diseases.
Hence, why I have been treating my asthma with curcumin. I have had severe asthma nearly my entire life; basically, as long as I can remember playing sports. I can say that I have personally had as good of results with consistent turmeric/curcumin usage as with any medicine from an asthma doctor. I strongly believe that this is because of curcumins ability to reduce inflammation in my throat and lungs, opening my breathing for proper air travel.
A few of the ways in which curcumin works include:
- Curcumin is greatly anti-inflammatory, and it favorably competes with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs
- Curcumin targets multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway, at the molecular level
- Curcumin blocks NF-KB, which is a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells, and can activate genes that are related to inflammation. It is believed that NF-KB plays a major role in many chronic diseases
- Curcumin which is a bioactive substance fights inflammation at the molecular level, and it does not have side effects similar to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs
Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
The neurotrophic factor relates to improved brain function, and results in a lower risk of brain diseases. Initially, it was believed that neurons are unable to divide and multiply after our early childhood. However, it is now understood that it still happens after childhood; as neurons are able to form new connections, taking place in certain parts of the brain, and are capable of multiplying and increasing in number.
The Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) happens to be one of the main drivers of this process. It is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain, and the decreased level of this hormone have been associated with many common brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.
The good news, however, is that curcumin can increase the levels of BDNF in the brain; which could help delay or possibly reverse many brain diseases, and other age-related decreases in the function of the brain. It also provides the possibility of improving memory, and increase your general cognitive intelligence (though this needs to be tested in human controlled trials further for conclusive evidence).
Increases your Body’s Antioxidant Capacity
One of the mechanisms believed to be behind aging and several diseases is oxidative damage, as it involves free radicals with highly reactive molecules that have unpaired electrons. Free radicals have the tendency to react with important organic substances like fatty acids, DNA, or protein. Probably the most important benefit of antioxidants is that they help protect our bodies from free radicals, and curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure.
Curcumin also helps to boost the activities of your body’s own antioxidant enzymes, this ensuring that it delivers a deadly blow against free radicals; as it can block them directly and then stimulate your body’s own antioxidant mechanisms.
Dozens of trials conducted have shown that turmeric is very effective in correcting depression symptoms in laboratory animals, and a few studies have been conducted on humans to show this ability. In a bid to address this issue, the Journal of Phytotherapy Research published the results of an amazing and innovative study which involved 60 volunteers who were diagnosed with a major depressive disorder such as manic depression.
The group was split to determine how the patients that were treated with curcumin fared against fluoxetine, and a combination of the two.
Amazingly, it was discovered that all the patients tolerated curcumin well, and it was also discovered that curcumin was as effective as Prozac (fluoxetine) in dealing with depression. This has shown that although larger studies should certainly be conducted as well, there is verifiable proof that curcumin could be an effective therapy for treatment of patients that have mild to moderate depression.
Treatment of Cancer
One of the most thoroughly researched topics with regards to the health potentials of curcumin is in the treatment of cancer. A study in America in 2007 combined chemotherapy with curcumin to treat bowel cancer cells in a laboratory, and it was observed that the combined treatment was able to kill more cancer cells than chemotherapy alone.
Per Cancer Research UK, several laboratory studies on cancer cells revealed that curcumin possesses anticancer effects. It showed that it is likely able to kill cancer cells, and also prevent more cells from growing. It showed the best results on bowel cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.
Consistent turmeric and curcumin ingestion can act as a protective bubble against cancer cells, as their positive effects can ward off potential threats.
Although turmeric/curcumin certainly seems magical, there have been a few reports of some people with several side effects when they take turmeric; especially after skin exposure. High doses of turmeric have been observed to cause some side effects such as:
- Increased menstrual flow
- Hyperactive gallbladder contractions
- Uterine contractions in pregnant women
- Increased of bleeding
For individuals taking certain medications, care should be taken when adding turmeric to their food or taking it as a supplement because it might interfere with anti-coagulants such as aspirin, warfarin, and clopidogrel. Turmeric can also affect medications like non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs, as they work in similar pathways. It is also important to use as directed as with other supplements or herbs because there is the potential for risk. Further research on the health benefits and potential of turmeric and curcumin is greatly encouraged because it holds great potential for healing and maintaining the body.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made from extracts of both apple and cider. The liquid extracts undergo a series of fermentation processes, first forming an alcohol; with a further fermentation process leading to the formation of the vinegar which is sour in taste. The product still has many properties of the nutritional goodness of apples, but now having additional acids and enzymes acquired during the fermentation processes. Apple cider vinegar has found use in culinary recipes as salad dressing, marinades and vinaigrettes, with additional benefits including as a topical treatment for skin conditions and treating stomach irregularities.
History of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar dates back to ancient civilizations in Greece, Egypt, Babylonia and Roman Empire. Back then, it was used for every known medical condition you could possibly think of.
Stamina, endurance, digestive problems, and treatment of wounds were all treated with apple cider vinegar in this time, and effectively treated at that! In ancient Greece around 400 BC, Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine) was recorded to have regularly treated his patients with apple cider vinegar and honey for varied ailments.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been specifically attributed to provide the following health benefits:
- Control of body weight
- Lowering high cholesterol
- Remove artery plaque and toxins
- Act as an elixir or anti-aging treatment
- Natural resistance against bacteria, virus, mold and germs
- Regulation of calcium metabolism and pH
- Digestive aid
- Treatment for arthritis, athlete’s foot, aches and burns
- Relief of sore throat, colds and sinus infections
Apple cider vinegar contains a plethora of important compounds including reasonably high amounts of potassium, chloride, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, enzymes, and organic acids. It contains elements including boron and iron, along with trace elements such as copper, fluorine and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and E, bi-flavonoids and pectin-soluble fiber. The high amounts of potassium in apple cider vinegar give it it’s anti-aging powers as potassium is often considered the mineral of youthfulness. Potassium keeps the arteries flexible and resilient, and helps maintain healthy skin. Potassium deficiency can stunt growth, and people living in areas where the soil is naturally deficient in potassium are shown to generally have a shortened lifespan in comparison with those who live in higher-potassium filled areas.
Organic acids such as acetic acid, propionic acid, and lactic acid promote digestion, balance acid or alkaline levels of the blood; while also helping in detoxifying the body, dissolving fats and killing viruses, bacteria and fungus. In addition, apple cider vinegar contains polyphenols which researches have shown play an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s), osteoporosis, and diabetes.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Fat Loss
Do you have the intention of shedding fat naturally? Apple cider vinegar has been considered as a natural way to aid with steady fat loss for centuries!
There is good science to why apple cider vinegar encourages fat loss even better than consuming raw apples, and it is commonly said “an apple taken daily keeps doctors away”. Acids are known to assist with the digestion of protein; which are major constituents of body hormones (growth hormone especially). Growth hormone is a key component in wearing down of adipocytes (fat cells), and by increasing the acidity within your belly prior to meals, you will increase the possibility for proper digestion and boost the option of protein intended for hormone synthesis. Essentially, the apple cider vinegar makes it far easier for your body to process food, enabling proteins to be used to build muscle, and enabling your body to burn away food instead of storing it as fat!
Furthermore; higher protein utilization helps the organization of growth hormone, which is the material that keeps the body’s metabolic process going while we’re sleeping.
Since apple cider vinegar stimulates digestion, it also reduces the amount of time that fats remain in the digestive system. It is important that your body gets a chance to remove relevant nutrients from food, and prevent circumstances that contribute to diarrhea or other gastro-intestinal problems which could be life-threatening. At the same time, it can be unhealthful to have food stay in the intestines for too much time, for various reasons. If fats and carbohydrates are retained longer than needed during digestion; more overall fat will be absorbed.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Nutrient Absorption
Another way in which apple cider vinegar can improve your chances of burning fat from your body is through improving your overall ability to absorb and properly use various nutrients in the body. One specific nutrient that ACV aids with is the body’s usage of iron, a nutrient that acts as a fire inducer. Iron is a key component in chemicals that carry oxygen to cells. Acids (example acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar) promote the release iron in food consumed, and make it more accessible to be a building block for hemoglobin and myoglobin (which have activities for oxygen in the body). Oxygen is as essential for burning up energy in the body as it is so important in any normal combustion process. It’s the ability of apple cider vinegar to increase iron usage, and energy consumption in your body that makes it such an encouraging food for weight loss. This is a benefit unseen in nearly any other compound on earth, making apple cider vinegar one of the most unique fat loss tools in the world!
Apple Cider Vinegar Dosage and Usage
It is generally stated, and in my own experience, that consumption of about one or two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar before each meal is a natural effective dose. The effects produced include:
- Reducing appetite because of the multiple digestive enzymes, vitamins, and nutrients present in it
- Stimulating the metabolism
- Reducing water retention in your body which will help you appear leaner makes you look lean
- Reducing your cravings for sweet treats as well as salty, oily foods.
These mechanisms will further your weight loss goals, in continuous natural and steady ways!
Concluding Words on Apple Cider Vinegar
While there is a lot of significant evidence of apple cider vinegar being used for fat loss, the weight loss attained is extremely slow. One research study showed that in two years a woman with an average weight of 220 lbs. can reduced to 180 lbs.; indicating that a minimum of around 20 lbs. can be reduced in 12 months without much adjustment on any area of your lifestyle except for the lower usage of fatty foods. The apple cider vinegar weight loss process is a constant one when used as a standalone, ad it is certainly more of a marathon, not a sprint. More quick and effective results can also be attained by this method, as all you must do is combine the consumption of apple cider vinegar with regular exercise and a slightly more focused diet approach.
Although a lot of popular diets that create quick weight loss have come under review for years now, it is encouraging to notice that the apple cider vinegar diet contributes to gradual fat reduction and not something that sounds as silly as “lose 10lbs by next Sunday”. It would be great if we could shed pounds quickly and never see them once again, but experience has shown that weight which leaves easily, returns easily. When weight loss occurs rapidly, your body will almost always fight back at you by kicking in systems which make it more likely this kind of weight will slip back again in no time.
If you can be patient and not expect immediate results, your fat cells will certainly adjust to their new size more willingly and without the risk of coming back at even larger rates.
Apple cider vinegar for fat loss fits in well with any trend for eating naturally healthy foods, and serves as an incredible addition for anyone looking to build a healthier body from the inside, out!
Combining Apple Cider Vinegar and Turmeric
Using these two amazing compounds together is a recipe for building a healthy and amazing body. Both compounds are natural, and tout legitimate health benefits for a healthier inside as well as appearance.
Often we are so focused on looking to the future for new inventions or products, we forget that there are compounds from the past which can do all the work we are looking for. I advise you to always be smart and consult a medical professional before making any change to your current life which you are uncomfortable with, but when you are ready these two products can absolutely aid in developing a healthy and functional body!