While many people think of turmeric only as the primary spice used in most curry recipes, it actually provides a wide range of health benefits. In fact, turmeric is perhaps the strongest herb available, when it comes to natural ingredients that are capable of curing illness and improving your health.
There is a growing trend to turn to natural herbs and home remedies for dealing with all types of ailments and health issues. Some people may put off using additional herbs in their meals, due to the overwhelming number of available ingredients. Luckily, you may only need to add one extra herb to your cupboard to begin changing your health for the better.
Discover the many health benefits of turmeric and curcumin – the active compound in this powerful herb.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that is commonly used in Indian cuisine, especially in curry. It is actually the turmeric that gives curry powder and mustard their distinct yellow colors. Most people find that turmeric has a bitter flavor and mild fragrance.
Turmeric is typically sold in powder form, which comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant; though, some prefer to grind their own powder from fresh turmeric root.
This spice has been used for thousands of years in recipes and for medicinal purposes – often as an anti-inflammatory medicine in both traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. So, it is no secret that turmeric contains beneficial properties.
Curcumin is the primary active compound that is found in turmeric and is responsible for the majority of the health benefits. It is a strong anti-inflammatory compound that possesses many characteristics that have sparked the interest of the medical community.
In recent years, turmeric has been one of the most researched ingredients, as doctors have looked to uncover all of the potential health benefits of turmeric and curcumin. Over 6,000 articles have been published discussing the healing powers of this herb.
Here is a closer look at some of the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin that have been verified through scientific studies and research.
#1 – Fight Inflammation and Chronic Pain
One of the most widely recognized health benefits of turmeric and curcumin is the ability to fight inflammation. According to a study published in the journal Oncogene, curcumin is perhaps the most powerful, natural anti-inflammatory compounds. It was found to be more effective than aspirin or ibuprofen at fighting inflammation and treating chronic pain.
Not only is it more effective than common over-the-counter pain medications, it does not possess any of the side effects associated with the pain-relievers. You can enjoy fast pain-relief, without having to worry about the potential for harmful side effects.
#2 – Relieve Arthritis Pain
The anti-inflammatory properties found in turmeric can also help people manage their rheumatoid arthritis. Curcumin can suppress an inflammatory compound referred to as cytokine, which is partially responsible for the pain related to rheumatoid arthritis.
#3 – Prevent or Manage Diabetes
Several studies have suggested that consuming turmeric on a regular basis can help to lower blood glucose levels and reverse insulin resistance. Curcumin can suppress the production of glucose in the liver.
These same studies concluded that curcumin can be up to 400 times more effective than a common diabetes drug for improving metabolic function and reducing the risk of plaque buildup. This is another example of turmeric being more effective than common medications for treating a serious condition.
#4 – Treat Depression
A number of studies have examined the ability of turmeric to treat depression and anxiety. In one study, 60 patients were divided into three groups. One group took a gram of turmeric each day, another group took Prozac, and a third group took both Prozac and turmeric.
At the end of six weeks, patients that took only turmeric or only Prozac noted about the same level of relief from their symptoms. However, the group that took both Prozac and turmeric noted the most pronounced benefits. The researchers concluded that turmeric may be just as beneficial as an antidepressant – but again, without the potential for side effects.
#5 – Protect Your Skin and Fight the Signs of Aging
The anti-inflammatory properties contained in curcumin can prevent skin irritation, soothe irritated skin, reduce redness, and act as an antibacterial agent. It can be used to treat acne and blemishes or to restore your skin balance. The antioxidants found in turmeric can destroy harmful free radicals and protect your skin from damage, helping your skin retain its elasticity and prevent wrinkles.
#6 – Improve Your Brain Function
Consuming turmeric regularly can increase the levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is a growth hormone found in the brain. Increasing the levels of BDNF is known to help reduce the risk of various brain disorders and improve brain function.
#7 – Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
The same properties responsible for improving brain function may also help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Inflammation and oxidative damage are two factors that play a major role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin can help prevent both of these issues, but the greater benefit may come from preventing the buildup of Amyloid plaques.
#8 – Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Curcumin can help improve the lining of blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and fight oxidation – which will reduce the risk of heart disease. By reducing the oxidation of cholesterol in the body, there less of a risk of plaque buildup which leads to heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
Turmeric is also a great source of vitamin B6, which can prevent homocysteine levels from getting too high. Having high levels of homocysteine has been shown to be a risk factor for additional blood vessel damage.
#9 – Prevent Certain Types of Cancer
Hundreds of studies have examined the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin for treating cancer. Free radicals are known to cause oxidative stress and promote the growth of cancerous cells. Since curcumin has the ability to fight free radicals, it can help prevent various forms of cancer. Curcumin shows promise as an ingredient for fighting colon cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, and childhood leukemia.
#10 – Increase Your Overall Health and Lifespan
The health benefits of turmeric and curcumin include reducing the risk of heart disease, improving brain function, preventing Alzheimer’s disease, strengthening the immune system, among dozens of other benefits. These advantages can help you live a long, healthy life.
How Can You Consume Turmeric?
The health benefits described only cover a portion of the reasons for purchasing some fresh turmeric. It has far-reaching health benefits with very little risk of side effect. Though, some people do experience nausea, diarrhea, and stomach irritability, after consuming large quantities of the spice.
So, how should you consume turmeric and how much should you use? While there are turmeric supplements available, the best option is to use fresh turmeric. You can either purchase turmeric powder or grind fresh turmeric root.
Obviously, you can use turmeric in your curry recipes, but there are plenty of other ways to consume the spice. You can steep 1 gram of dried turmeric root in a cup of hot water to make your own turmeric tea. Some people add the powder to their smoothies or use it in seasonings for meats. Another option is to add a teaspoon of fresh turmeric powder to a soup or stew.
Where Can I Buy Turmeric?
It does not matter how you use it, just as long as you include this spice your diet. The health benefits of turmeric and curcumin are impossible to ignore. This is truly one of the most powerful spices on Earth. If you take your health seriously, then you owe it to yourself to grab some turmeric the next time you visit the grocery store.
If you want to buy a turmeric extract supplement, then there’s a great selection at Amazon with great customer reviews.