“Inflammation” is a word that’s mentioned quite a bit but not many people know what it means, let alone how to prevent it and treat it should they have it.
Put simply, inflammation acts as the body’s first responder – it is the response of the body’s immune system to stress, Desiree Nielsen, registered dietitian and author of Un-Junk Your Diet, explains.
According to Nielsen, there are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic.
In most cases, however, when inflammation is mentioned, the chronic type is usually being referenced.
“Chronic inflammation represents a loss of the balance between tolerance and action in the immune system – because for your immune system to operate properly, it needs to know when it really needs to act, and when it needs to hang back when it’s not a big deal,” Nielsen says. “Usually it’s the immune system that’s very confused by some aspect of modern living. So chronic stress is a very under-rated source of chronic inflammation in the body, and it has a very real physical impact on us.”
Chronic inflammation has been linked to ailments like diabetes, obesity and heart disease, among others, Nielsen points out.
It can be triggered by lifestyle, infection or environment, but perhaps the biggest trigger, Nielsen says, is diet.
“Maintenance of stable blood sugars and avoiding that blood sugar roller coaster will help with inflammation,” Nielsen says. “Making very high glycemic choices and ones that spike blood sugars and keep a high level of blood sugar circulating in the blood tends to promote chronic inflammation.”
Turmeric is a golden-coloured spice that is native to Southeast Asia but can be bought here in Canada. It is also part of the ginger family, and it is also what gives curry its colour.
“This is one of the best researched, but also a befuddling anti-inflammatory,” Nielsen says. “The reason why is because the main component is called curcumin. In lab studies, it has shown remarkable anti-inflammatory capacity… and the consumption is associated with lower levels of cancer prevention and Alzheimer’s disease.”
But when humans eat turmeric, Nielsen explains that the spice is not very “bio-available,” meaning humans don’t actually digest and absorb the spice into our circulation very well, so humans have to consume a lot of it.
“But we’re also learning now that perhaps, part of how it works is through the gut,” Nielsen says. “So by not being digested or absorbed might be happening because it has a bit of a prebiotic effect on our gut bacteria – so feeding beneficial bacteria. But the compounds may also be interacting with the gut level immune system as opposed to having a huge amount of activity when in the blood.” [...]
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It is an irresistible combination of fluffy hot-from-the-steamer rice drizzled with gulai ayam and served with easy-to-eat pieces of juicy fried turmeric chicken and burn-your-tongue-off sambal belacan that draws people to Warung Cikgu in Puchong.
Started in May 2005, the eatery was set up by Kelantan native Ariff Suqimi and managing the two outlets is Ariff’s primary school friend and fellow Kelantanese, Nik Mohd Faiz, 28.
The name of the place pays tribute to Ariff’s father who is popularly known as Cikgu Karim, a nod to his profession. This January, they expanded and opened another outlet in USJ1’s Regalia Business Centre.
What they serve here is nasi Mmanggey which is actually different from the other Kelantanese favourite nasi Kak Wok. Confused because both dishes look identical? Can’t say we blame you as they are both feature fried chicken.
Nik Mohd Faiz tells us there are slight differences between the two rice dishes that trace their origins back to Kelantan. He adds, “The concept is the same but the taste is different.”
For nasi Mmanggey, the fried chicken is marinated with turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt while the nasi Kak Wok chicken uses a marinade made from fresh turmeric. In terms of spice levels for the sambal belacan accompanying the rice, Nik Mohd Faiz explains to us that they increased the spiciness.
In Kelantan, nasi Mmanggey (RM5.50) is usually eaten for breakfast and lunch. At Warung Cikgu, you get to satisfy your cravings for the rice dish throughout the day.
Accompany your meal with their kelapa baldi (RM4.20) or fresh coconut water served in a small bucket. Nik Mohd Faiz tells us the coconuts are sourced from Bagan Datoh in Perak.
You also have Shake!Gu (RM3.70), their version of coconut shake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The word gu is Kelantanese slang for buddy.If you’re early, look for their breakfast items which are available till 10am. A must-try is the nasi lemak biasa (RM2.70). Simple but satisfying; the fluffy rice is delicious when paired with the fragrant, not too spicy sambal and crunchy deep fried ikan bilis. [...]
These days you can’t go a week without hearing about another ‘superfood’ or the health benefits of a new food trend. Even Starbucks has jumped on the bandwagon, announcing its latest caffeinated offering: the turmeric latte. No doubt this was inspired by food bloggers decreeing that turmeric is a ‘superfood’.
Chef Anthony Warner is unlikely to be impressed with turmeric’s good press. Writing as his blogging alter-ego The Angry Chef, Warner declares: ‘There is no such thing as a superfood.’
Warner has dedicated himself to debunking the health myths behind the food fads that have been multiplying ever since the phenomenon of food-blogging took off. In his witty and slightly ranty blog, he has pulled apart many of the popular dietary trends of the past few years, from sugar-free diets to ‘paleo’ and the alleged miracle benefits of coconut oil. The blog quickly gathered momentum and this year Warner brought out his first book: The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating. [...]
Inflammation isn’t just a trendy buzzword in medical circles these days – it’s a real threat to our health.
The inflammatory response is nature’s way to help heal the body from illness or injury but chronic inflammation is at the root of many dreaded diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
“While inflammation can be healthy and a critical part of the body’s monitoring and repair systems, the real problem occurs when it goes out of balance and starts attacking our own, healthy cells instead of outside invaders,” says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of “Real Cause, Real Cure,” and a leading authority in the field of inflammation.
“The has become a major problem, with the inflammation process now contributing not only to heart disease, Alzheimer’s and arthritis but also to the rising epidemic of autoimmune disease. “
Teitelbaum tells Newsmax Health there are eight simple ways to fight inflammation and reduce your risk of these diseases:
Omega-3 fatty acids. You’ll find these well-known inflation fighters in foods like salmon, flax seed and walnuts. “Increasing your intake of fish can certainly help, but eating fried fish at McDonald’s makes the problem worse,” says Teitelbaum. “Steam or bake the fish just until done.”If you choose to use fish oil supplements to get the maximum bang of omega-3 fatty acids for your buck, the expert advises buying vectorized forms of the nutrient. “A small vectorized capsule replaces 8 large capsules of fish oil and there are no fish oil burps because it contains pure omega-3.”
Spice things up. Curcumin, the bioactive ingredient in the spice turmeric, has lots of science supporting its anti-inflammatory benefits. A 2015 study at the University of Arizona found that curcumin suppressed inflation and prevented tumor formation in mice with colitis-associated colon cancer. “Ginger is another good spice to take regularly,” says Chris D’Adamo, director of research at the Center for Integrative Medicine, University if Maryland. “I personally take a capsule called CuraMed every day to beat inflammation because it is the most highly absorbed form,” notes Teitelbaum. [...]
CANCER and Alzheimer’s disease are just two of the conditions it’s been claimed turmeric - a yellow spice traditionally used in curries, and in recent times lattes - can successfully treat. But there are suggestions its benefits may be unfounded.
Turmeric is from the yurmeric root and is native to Southeast Asia.
It has been revered in recent months for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Its hype seems to have been backed up by a cohort of studies - indeed just last week research revealed that a chemical it contains, curcumin, may be the key to a new cancer.
However, there are claims that consuming the spice, used for centuries in Indian and Chinese cooking, on a regular basis may do little more than add flavour.
A ground-breaking study, unveiled earlier this year, revealed that as far as current evidence stands, it doesn’t live up to the hype, and has few - if any - health benefits.
The research, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, involved a review of scientific literature on curcumin.
Study authors believe the findings weren’t always translated correctly by the media, but their claims have driven turmeric to become the latest healthy buzzword.
Michael Walters, co-author and research associate professor at the University of Minnesota, said: “Once something enters the popular press, it can be blown out of proportion.
“These studies have become a part of folklore, and their actual results don’t really measure up to what they’re quoted as.”
As well as research that had conflicts of interest - such as researchers who might benefit from sales of turmeric - they weren’t able to find any double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials, known as the gold-standard of medical research, on the spice.
Despite the review’s findings, it’s easy to see why the details may have been overlooked - previous research revealed some very appealing benefits.
It was found that curcumin could reduce levels of cytokines which produce inflammation and have been linked to the development of conditions such as obesity.
Additionally, other studies have found curcumin is beneficial for preventing insulin resistance, improving high blood sugar and reducing the toxic effects of high blood glucose levels - meaning it could help diabetes.
The same chemical was also found by - albeit mostly animal - studies to improve heart health.
It’s also been claimed to be a defence against cancer.
While lab and animal testing supports this, there is currently a lack of evidence in humans.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, lab-based studies have shown curcumin’s ability to break down amyloid-beta plaques, however they say there is no real evidence it can treat the disease. [...]
Arthritis affects around 10 million people in the UK
Symptoms include joint pain, swelling and redness.
Many sufferers relieve pain by taking paracetamol and ibuprofen.
However, research published earlier this year in the British Medical Journal revealed that taking the latter painkiller - or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) - could increase risk of heart attack or stroke.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to treat or prevent joint pain, according to Dr Sarah Brewer, a GP and nutritional therapist.
Avoid uneven ground
“For people who are experiencing age or activity related joint symptoms, low impact, aerobic exercises such as swimming, cycling and walking are most beneficial,” she said.
“Avoid prolonged kneeling, squatting or walking more than 2 miles per day, however, which may have an adverse effect on joints.
“You should also avoid walking on rough or uneven ground.
“Gentle, regular exercise helps to maintain joint mobility.
“As well as strengthening muscles it boosts the flow of oxygen and nutrients to joint tissues – especially vital for cartilage which does not have a blood supply and must obtain its nutrients by diffusion.
“Exercise also helps to maintain the layer of lubricating synovial fluid over the articular surface.
“Avoid exercising if a joint is inflamed or swollen, however, until symptoms have subsided.”
Add spice to your diet
Dr Brewer also recommends adding particular ingredients to your diet.
“There is a surprisingly long list of natural substances that can help knee pain, from those that provide structural building blocks to those that have analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions,” she said.
“The ones I have found most beneficial in clinical and nutritional medicine practice are krill oil, turmeric, rose hip extracts, devil’s claw, cherry extracts and ginger root extract.”
Along with hyaluronic acid, hydrolysed collagen, glucosamine and chondroitin, these ingredients can all be found in LQ Liquid Health Jointcare, a supplement for osteoarthritis sufferers by suppressing inflammation and repairing damaged tissues. [...]
What does the food you eat have to do with how your brain functions? Turns out an awful lot. While we’ve always known that what we eat affects our bodies and how we look, scientists are also learning more and more that what we eat takes a toll on our brains. Yes, brain foods matter (especially for our gray matter).
See, our bodies don’t like stress. Who does? When we’re stressed out — whether it’s physical, like someone jumps out at you from a dark alley, or mental, like you have a major project due at work — our bodies release inflammatory cytokines.
These little chemicals prompt the immune system to kick in and fight back against the stress through inflammation, as though stress is an infection. While inflammation helps protect us against illnesses and repairs the body when you do something like cut yourself, chronic inflammation is a different animal. It’s been linked to autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, anxiety, high blood pressure and more.
But what does this all have to do with food? Our gut helps keep our body’s immune responses and inflammation under control. Additionally, gut hormones that enter the brain or are produced in the brain influence cognitive ability, like understanding and processing new information, staying focused on the task at hand and recognizing when we’re full.
Plus, brain foods rich in antioxidants, good fats, vitamins and minerals provide energy and aid in protecting against brain diseases. So when we focus on giving our bodies whole, nutritious foods benefiting both the gut and the brain, we’re actually benefiting our minds and bodies while keeping them both in tip-top shape.
Of course, some foods are better for your brain than others. I’ve rounded up 15 brain foods you should be eating to feed both your mind and body. With a mix of fruits, veggies, oils and even chocolate (yes, chocolate!), there’s something to please everyone!
Isn’t it great when a simple spice has amazing health benefits? That’s the case with turmeric, an ancient root that’s been used for its healing properties throughout history. Thanks to curcumin, a chemical compound found in turmeric, the spice is actually one of the most powerful (and natural) anti-inflammatory agents.
Turmeric also helps boost antioxidant levels and keep your immune system healthy, while also improving your brain’s oxygen intake, keeping you alert and able to process information. Talk about a super spice! Start your day with this brain food and make my Turmeric Eggs and Turmeric Tea. [...]
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It does more than flavor your curry. It could potentially save your life.
Turmeric may kill precancerous cells, and is deservedly the newest superfood to hit the market by storm.
I’ve chronicled my experience consuming turmeric regularly over the period of three weeks. After reaping some profound benefits, I swear by its mystic powers. I am a big believer in natural remedies and earthly elements as a means of health betterment.
No, I’m not one of those health fanatics with an unappetizing meal plan and rigorous exercise regimen. On the contrary. For those readers who know me through my work, you know that I am someone who lacks motivation when it comes to fitness, so naturally, I’m also the person for whom doctors visits and dental appointments are difficult commitments.
I have the luxury of a relaxed approach to my health, but it’s one of those aspects of oneself that required diligence and nurturing. I think it’s because of my tumultuous relationship with healthcare that I often seek holistic (but safe) remedies for many transient ailments. I will try just about anything I can get my hands on to avoid unbearably long waiting rooms to see the doctor. Apparently, I’m not the only one.
Turmeric is touted for its benefits on cancer prevention. Cancer affects one in every three people, and is a big diagnosis to swallow. But it comes with a ton of skepticism. I mean, how can a spice seem to have eluded so much medical literature? [...]