Inflammation can affect us all. If you’re in good health now, managing inflammation could be your ticket to a disease-free future. If you’re currently struggling with an inflammation-related disease, lowering levels of inflammation in your body will not only increase the quality of your day-to-day life, it may even extend your lifespan.
What is Inflammation?
If you’ve ever stubbed your toe or gotten a splinter, you’re familiar with the telltale signs of inflammation: redness, heat, swelling, and pain. But, did you know that inflammation can happen on the inside of your body too? Even though you can’t see it, inflammation can eat away at your blood vessels, your digestive tract, your brain, your joints, and the inner structures of your eyes. Inflammation is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it protects you. When you get a splinter, inflammation makes sure that immune cells arrive at the scene of the injury to kill any bacteria or viruses that may have entered the broken skin. That’s what all that redness, heat, swelling, and pain is about. Your immune system is going to war! On the other hand, inflammation can kill you. It can cause diseases, like cancer, arthritis, heart disease, digestive tract diseases, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
So when is inflammation good and when is it bad? The simple answer is that short-term inflammation is good and long-term inflammation is bad.
How to Control Inflammation
There is a list of nutrients and foods that help control inflammation that is far too long to mention in one article! Two nutrients that should be considered are curcumin and cultured soy—both shown to be anti-inflammatory and promote longevity.
Curcumin—an Ancient Herbal Remedy
Extracted from the roots of the Curcuma longa plant, Curcumin is a member of the ginger family, and is the active ingredient of turmeric that gives it a rich yellow color. While Curcumin is not used in conventional medicine, it is widely prescribed in Indian medicine as a potent remedy for liver disorders, rheumatism, diabetic wounds, digestive aids, runny nose, cough, and sinusitis. Traditional Chinese medicine uses curcumin as a treatment for diseases associated with abdominal pain and was used in ancient Hindu medicine as a treatment for sprains and swelling.
What Curcumin Research Says
Research has shown curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that is ten times more active than vitamin E. It’s also a potent anti-inflammatory with efficacy rivaling that of both cortisone and phenylbutazone.
How Does it Work?
It works in many ways, but one of the primary modes is by shutting down the same pro-inflammatory protein that cultured soy shuts down. In other words, curcumin tells the body to put away the fire hoses and turn the inflammation off.
A number of animal studies support curcumin’s ability to relieve the pain and swelling of both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. One study found that when curcumin was given to arthritic rats, it lowered levels of an inflammatory protein by a stunning 73 percent.
Curcumin works in humans too. In a study consisting of 18 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, after just two weeks, curcumin caused significant improvements in morning stiffness, joint swelling, and walking ability. Human cell studies have additionally shown that curcumin suppresses the inflammatory chemicals that contribute to the development of osteoarthritis, and decreases some of the abnormal changes in joint tissue that characterizes rheumatoid arthritis.
What about Soy?
Soy is the only complete food in the botanical kingdom. It contains 42 percent protein, more than any other plant. It’s high in fiber, a natural source of good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids and a powerhouse of protective antioxidants and phyto-nutrients (beneficial compounds found in plants). It provides a wealth of vitamins, including vitamins A (as beta-carotene), B1, B2, B12, C, D, E, and K — and several essential minerals, such as selenium and zinc. But, there’s a catch. In order to reap the nutritional benefits of soy, it must be cultured.
Good Soy vs. Bad Soy or Cultured Soy vs. Uncultured Soy
The traditional Asian diet does not include large quantities of super-processed, genetically-modified soy products like we have in Western countries today (such as isolated soy protein, a common ingredient found in nutrition bars). It incorporates small amounts of natural, cultured whole soy foods, such as natto (cultured soybeans), miso (a condiment made from cultured soybean paste), shoyu (soy sauce or tamari), and tempeh (a compact cultured soybean cake).
Bad Soy and Anti-Nutrients
Soy wasn’t even considered edible until fermentation techniques were developed during the Chou Dynasty. What the producers of modern, uncultured soy foods won’t tell you is that in addition to all the nutrients it contains, soy also contains anti-nutrients. These anti-nutrients prevent your body from absorbing essential minerals and trace elements. Unfortunately, cooking will not destroy these anti-nutrients. Only the culturing process will.
Another benefit of culturing is that it makes it easier for your body to digest and absorb the goodness of soy. When you culture a food, you’re basically using beneficial microbial cultures to pre-digest it. Those cultures transform large, hard-to-digest molecules into small, easy-to-digest ones. Not only that, culturing soy also reduces its allergic qualities, as soy is one of the most common food allergens.
The most important benefit of culturing, though, is that the process is thought to convert certain phyto-nutrients, called genistein and daidzin, into their active forms, genistein and daidzein. Both genistein and daidzein are powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents that have been shown in voluminous laboratory studies to work in multiple ways.
Good Soy and Disease Prevention
Whole soy vs. isolated soy phyto-nutrients. If genistein and daidzein are so great, why not just take those specific phyto-nutrients in pill form? The answer lies in the old adage “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Individually, genistein and daidzein are soy’s most powerful constituents. However, soybeans contain numerous health promoting compounds that work synergistically.
JIVA’s Curcumin and Fermented Soy Energy Plus Capsule is a patent pending proprietary formulation using patented curcumin, bioperine and organically grown, non-GMO fermented whole soy beans, and other all natural herbs and spices, all of which have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are documented to have positive health benefits. It is also available in a powdered form that can be added to water, juice, or milk. The powdered Fermented Soy and Curcumin Nutritional Beverage Mix, provides ten grams of cultured soy and seven grams of protein per serving
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