Super Herbs & Spices Series - TurmericHerbs have been used for their many medicinal properties for centuries. Ancient civilizations have been putting herbs to use to help fight viruses, heal wounds, soothe joints, and promote brain function for hundreds of years and these same herbs continue to be a major focus of holistic and alternative medicinal practices and to promote general health.
As far as professional voice health, the best practice is to maintain a healthy balanced diet that focuses on boosting the immune system and fighting inflammation, a major cause of vocal stress and pain. So today's Super Herb Series is focusing on one of nature's most potent anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants - turmeric.
It's that yellow, somewhat flavorless spice responsible for giving foods like curries that mouth-watering yellow color, but that unassuming yellow powder is packed full of beneficial compounds known as curcuminoids, including the powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant compound curcumin.
So what exactly can turmeric do for your health? A lot. Especially if you are a busy professional or performer.
Here are a few of the reasons to incorporate turmeric into your daily diet:
1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties not only help with pain or swelling in the body, particularly when applied to oral health and fighting vocal inflammation, but these same anti-inflammatory properties have been studied extensively for their application in treating degenerative diseases and conditions like Alzheimer's, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.
For the professional vocalist, turmeric is a great addition to your diet when you feel pain or swelling in your throat, or to be used as a preventative measure to keep your vocals from swelling due to overuse or a throat-harming bacteria or virus.
Always consult an ENT specialist or otolaryngologist before taking anything to treat pain in your vocals or before taking any supplement for medicinal use. Consult a physician any time you are introducing a supplement or changing your diet.
2. Anti-Oxidant Properties
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, which is vital for our body's overall health and fighting the degenerative effects caused by free radicals in the body.
Researchers have found that the curcumin compound in turmeric not only helps to neutralize free radicals that enter our body during oxygen metabolism, but helps to boost our body's own anti-oxidant enzymes to help fight free radicals on its own (Turmeric for Health).
3. Improve Brian Function
Curcumin has been studied for its ability to boost the production of the hormone BDFN (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor). A member of the neurotrophin family, BDFN is a protein secreted by the human body that is vital in the development of neurons in the brain that effect the function of your memory, learning, and even your mood. Similar the effects of exercise, curcumin's ability to boost BDFN prodution in the hippocampus region of the brain also helps fight depression.
So why is this important for the professional vocalist or in a profession that required extensive speaking?
Just think about the amount of music you need to remember, speeches you need to memorize, and the stress that a busy schedule can put on your brain and overall mood. Anything that can help support your brain function and mood is a good thing - especially in high-stress occupations.
So now that we know all the great benefits of turmeric, what is the best way to use it? Adding the spice to your meals is the most effective when combined with pepper, but still not the most effective way to get a healthy and effective dose into your system. Turmeric supplements or tinctures are another way to boost your intake, however always be sure to consult a physician on the proper dosage.
Turmeric & Black Pepper Roasted Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower
3 TBSP turmeric
3 TBSP yellow curry powder
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TSP salt
2 TBSP black pepper
Cut the head of cauliflower into florets and mix with the spices and olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and roast in a 4oo* oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown and soft enough to easily slide a knife through the stem.
The black pepper will help your body absorb the turmeric, and believe it or not, even more research has been done to test the effectiveness of combining turmeric with cauliflower to treat prostate cancer. Even more turmeric benefits!
Stay tuned for more in our Super Herb Series!
According to researchers at the University of Maryland, the following is the recommended dosage of turmeric for adults:
- Cut root: 1.5 - 3 g per day
- Dried, powdered root: 1 - 3 g per day
- Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 - 600 mg, 3 times per day
- Fluid extract (1:1) 30 - 90 drops a day
- Tincture (1:2): 15 - 30 drops, 4 times per day
Nagpal, Monika and Shaveta Sood. National Health Institute - Role of Curcumin in Systematic and Oral Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3633300/
Chainani-Wu N. Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: A component of turmeric (Curcuma longa) J Altern Complement Med. 2003;9:61–8. [PubMed]
James A. Duke, Phd., Alternative & Complementary Therapies, 2007.
Dr. Dave Opperman, MD, Colorado Voice Clinic
Authority Nutrition - 10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric/
Turmeric For Health - Why Is Turmeric a Great Antioxidant?
News Medical, Turmeric and Cauliflower Prevents Prostate Cancer, Journal of Cancer Research
Mon, Mar 30, 2015 @ 10:30 AM MDT
Schmidt and Duman. "Peripheral BDNF Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects in Cellular and Behavioral Models" Neuropsychopharmacology, 2010.
2014 Apr;28(4):579-85. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5025. Epub 2013 Jul 6. - Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder; a randomized controlled trial.