AZNetNews health updates: Curcumin and sleep

The following is new information regarding the pigment curcumin in turmeric and its effects on cancer and stroke damage, and why we should sleep in a dark, quiet room.

The spice that helps prevent cancer and repair stroke damage

Curcumin — the pigment that gives the curry spice turmeric its yellow-orange color — is a natural compound that should be on your health radar for a number of reasons. Both the ancient Chinese and Indian systems of medicine have recognized curcumin’s beneficial properties for thousands of years, and modern research suggests it may be one of nature’s most powerful potential healers. Scientists have created a new molecule from curcumin, the key chemical component of the spice turmeric. In laboratory experiments, the molecule was shown to affect the mechanisms that protect and regenerate brain cells after a stroke. The new curcumin compound, called CNB-001, actually repairs stroke damage at the molecular level. Physorg reports: “Those who cook Indian, Thai, Malay and Persian dishes know turmeric well for its zesty flavor, use in curries and for the rich color it imparts to food. Turmeric also has a long history of use in Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine.”

Never sleep with TV or dim lights on

Exposure to even dim light at night, such as a glowing TV screen, could prompt changes in your brain that lead to mood disorders — up to and including depression. Researchers placed hamsters in sleep environments with different lighting conditions. After eight weeks, the hamsters were tested for behaviors that might suggest depression. According to Live Science: “The hamsters exposed to light at night showed behaviors indicative of anhedonia (depression-like response in which one does not find pleasure in favorite activities) and changes in the hippocampus of the brain. If the same mechanism is at work in people, then [according to the researchers] ‘people might want to try to avoid falling asleep with their TVs on all night, or they might want to try to minimize light exposure during the night.’” In fact, sleeping in total darkness is so important that any nighttime light is considered “light pollution” by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).

Sources: Physorg February 10, 2011, Live Science November 17, 2010 and www.mercola March 2, 2011 and February 19, 2011.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 2, April/May 2011.


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