Turmeric or Curcuma is a spice that originates from the turmeric plant. You possibly know that turmeric is the main spice in our favorite curry. Turmeric is commonly used in Indian and Asian cuisines. It has a unique, bitter, and delicious taste and is usually used for color curry powders, cheeses, mustards, butter, and for additional flavoring.
Did you know that the root of the turmeric plant is used for medicinal purposes? This is because the roots contain yellow-colored chemicals called curcumin and are often used for food coloring as well as in cosmetics.
A relative of ginger, turmeric is not simply a typical spice. Adding turmeric to your home-made dishes is one of the healthiest ways of adding taste as well as color! Not just that, turmeric has been also used to relieve problems of the liver, ringworm, and depression.
14 Impressive Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is rich in antioxidants that can support cellular health. What exactly can these antioxidants do to you? Here are some of the most well-researched health benefits of turmeric.
#1 The Bioactive Compounds in Turmeric has Powerful Medicinal Properties
Turmeric does not only make the delicious curry yellow, but it has been also used in India for centuries as a medicinal herb. Science has recently backed up the knowledge of the Indians about the medicinal properties of turmeric. Indeed, it has powerful compounds which are called curcuminoids. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric which has strong anti-inflammatory benefits and a very powerful antioxidant.
However, the content of curcumin is only three percent which is not very high. According to studies, you can experience the whole effects of turmeric by taking an extract that contains huge amounts of curcumin. Black pepper can also help curcumin to be absorbed into the bloodstream up to 2,000%! Another great thing about curcumin is that it is fat-soluble so taking it with fatty dishes is a great idea.
#2 Curcumin Can Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
One of the prime killers in the world is heart disease. There are many things that can contribute to heart disease and curcumin is able to reverse several steps in the process of heart disease. Endothelial dysfunction is one of the main causes of heart disease as the endothelium cannot regulate blood clotting, blood pressure, and many more.
The great advantage of curcumin in the heart is it can improve the function of endothelium or the linings of the arteries. Another study has shown that taking curcumin is as effective as exercising. Oxidation, as well as inflammation, can also be reduced by curcumin which is significant when it comes to heart disease.
#3 Turmeric Can Prevent and May Treat Cancer
There are many types of cancer but they have some similarities when it comes to the supplementation of turmeric. According to many types of research, curcumin has powerful effects on the prevention and treatment of cancer. It can also affect the spread or the development of cancer.
Many studies have proven that curcumin can decrease the growth of cancerous cells and constrain the growth of tumors in animals used for testing. It is yet to find out if high-dose curcumin can aid in treating cancer in humans. However, there is already evidences that it can help to prevent cancer especially cancers that can develop in the digestive system such as colorectal cancer.
#4 Curcumin Combats Depression
Depression reduces the levels of the neurotrophic factor in the brain and it can shrink the hippocampus which is the area of the brain that is responsible for memory and learning. Curcumin has been tested and it was shown that it can have an effect on depression.
Many studies have also proven that curcumin can be an effective antidepressant. Curcumin can boost the levels of BNDF which can reverse the process of depression. It can also improve the neurotransmitters of the brain such as dopamine and serotonin. In order to keep the household livelier, having a curry for dinner is really helpful! The scent and flavor of delicious curry can already boost your energy level.
#5 Curcumin Can Slow Down the Signs of Aging and Fight Age-Linked Diseases
Curcumin has become famous as an anti-aging supplement. Inflammation and oxidation have big roles when it comes to aging. The key to slow down the process of aging and extending the lifespan of humans involves the restoration and preservation of telomere length to the DNA. Aside from turmeric, here are the other measures to achieve this goal:
- Daily exercises can help in preserving the length of the telomere.
- Like exercises, meditation is also a great way to preserve telomere by reducing the harmful effects of stress.
- The levels of inflammation can contribute to the shortening of the telomere. Normal strategies that can reduce inflammation are significant in reducing the shortening of the telomere.
- Higher levels of Vitamin D can keep the telomeres longer.
#6 Curcumin May Prevent and Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
The number one cause of dementia and the most common neurodegenerative disease is Alzheimer’s. Even if there is no great treatment available for this disease, preventing it from occurring up is very important. Studies have shown that curcumin is able to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Oxidative damage and inflammation have roles in Alzheimer’s disease and curcumin has useful effects on both. Studies have also shown that curcumin can clear Amyloid plaques which are the buildup of protein tangles that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
#7 Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Curcumin Could Help with Arthritis
Arthritis is one of the common problems in the world. There are many types of arthritis and all of them involve the inflammation of the joints. Since curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, it can help people suffering from arthritis. Many studies have proven this conclusion to be true.
There was a study of patients who have rheumatoid arthritis and curcumin was more affecting than using anti-inflammatory drugs. Other studies have also shown that curcumin has great effects on the improvement of some symptoms. More importantly, treating with curcumin was found to be safe.
#8 Curcumin Can Heal Wounds
Cut your skin? There was a study in Life Sciences in which turmeric was found to have beneficial properties in the process of healing wounds. New studies have discovered as well turmeric’s ability to potentiate the natural healing processes of the body.
There was also a great study that demonstrated the effectiveness of topical turmeric application for wounds. It was applied to the wounds of rats and the results showed an increasing amount of collagen and improved the contraction of the wound. There was also an increase in the strength of the tissues and cell propagation. The antioxidant components of turmeric can help the healing process of wounds.
Next time you accidentally cut your finger or skin, you already know how to increase the healing process of your wounds. Look for turmeric in your kitchen and you can be a nurse yourself!
#9 A Compound in Turmeric Can Protect the Brain
Ar-turmerone, a compound in turmeric, has the ability to repair stem cells in the brain. A research was conducted and observed the effects of the compound on the stem cells of rats which are also found in the brains of humans. The stem cells are part of the recovery from neurodegenerative problems such as Alzheimer’s and stroke. Hopefully, this compound can be used in the treatment of these ailments in the future.
#10 Turmeric Can Be Used For Gastrointestinal Treatments
Some people with stomach complaints become intolerant to medicines because the stomach flora has been compromised and the medications can also rip up the mucosal lining. Curcumin has the ability to manage inflammatory bowel diseases and the patients’ conditions improved after taking curcumin.
Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease also reduced their pain when taking curcumin without damaging the linings of the intestines. Curcumin can also support the development of probiotics or good bacteria.
#11 Turmeric Can Help in Controlling Diabetes
Most people love to eat sweets and there are many foods that contain high levels of sugar. If not controlled, this problem can lead to diabetes. In order to lower down the blood sugar and reverse insulin resistance, adding turmeric in your home-cooked meals is a great natural treatment.
A study from 2009 has found that curcumin is 400 times more potent than the common diabetes drug Metformin. This can help people to reverse diabetes type 2. Curcumin was also proven to reverse various issues that are linked to insulin resistance and hyperglycemia.
Including curcumin in your meals can delay the terrible complications of diabetes because of the curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
#12 Turmeric Soothes Irritated Tissues
Turmeric was proven to help the body lessen and stop excess irritation. Since it is normal for everyone to experience stress which is the origin of various illnesses, it is important to take soothing compounds to prevent all possible diseases.
Another reason why turmeric has been used in curry dishes is that of its soothing properties on digestion. It does not only add color and taste to the food but also has great benefits on the lining of the stomach.
#13 Curcumin Has the Ability to Manage Pain
Are you experiencing pain? One of the proven properties of curcumin is its ability to manage pain. The European Journal of Pharmacology recently published their research about curcumin which can activate the opioid system in diabetic rats. Not only limited to diabetic pain, but another study also showed that there are many types of pain that can be managed by curcumin.
For example, burns. Burn patients are normally treated by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research also suggests that curcumin should be used in treating burns because of its anti-inflammatory properties instead of the conventional medicines.
#14 Turmeric Has the Ability to Balance Cholesterol Levels
Do you have problems with cholesterol? Diabetics and non-diabetics can suffer from oxidative stress which can damage the blood vessels. When the arteries are damaged inside, the cholesterols are starting to build up which can lead to high levels of LDL cholesterol. Decreasing the level of cholesterol may be done with statin drugs.
However, the side effects of statin drugs are dangerous for the liver and kidneys. The good thing is that many medical doctors are becoming aware of the side effects of statin drugs and most are prescribing natural alternatives such as fish oil and curcumin.
Turmeric can help in regulating the body and balance the levels of cholesterols. Many studies have shown the reduction in lipid profiles and cholesterol markers in people who used turmeric. Another study conducted has shown that participants who were given curcumin have reduced triglycerides up to 47% and serum cholesterol levels by 7% in just seven days.
Side Effects of Turmeric
The health benefits of turmeric may go beyond anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, arthritis medications, chemotherapy, anti-coagulants, inflammatory bowel disease drugs, cholesterol drugs, anti-depressants, and painkillers.
There are people who reported allergic reactions to turmeric. Some people also have skin reactions when being exposed. The typical reaction is mild and itchy rashes. High doses of turmeric may cause the following:
- Hyperactive gallbladder contractions
- Increased risk of bleeding
- Increased menstrual flow
- Hypotension or lowered blood pressure
- Uterine contractions in pregnant women
- More liver function tests
People who are taking medicines should also be careful when including turmeric in food or when taking turmeric supplements. Turmeric may also interfere with warfarin, aspirin, clopidogrel, and other anticoagulants. There can also be an effect on medications like anti-inflammatory drugs or non-steroidal. Just like other supplements and herbs, turmeric has to be used as instructed.
Aside from adding turmeric to your diet, you can also consider taking turmeric supplements. You can purchase it online from different supplement stores and health food. Taking turmeric with black pepper that contains piperine can help the entire body to absorb turmeric. Adding 20mg of piperine to 2000mg turmeric can do the job.
There are many health benefits of turmeric. No wonder this spice has become popular not only as a spice but also for medicinal purposes.