If you haven’t yet heard about turmeric, you are in for a treat.
Turmeric is a spice that is mostly used in cooking recipes. Along with other spices like cumin, it is strongly linked to Indian foods and curry.
It is a flowering plant that is native to India and Southeast Asia, which is part of the Zingiberaceae family. That family includes other plants such as ginger and cardamom. If you want to learn more about the benefits of ginger, check out this article on ginger root benefits.
The important part of the plant is the roots. After collecting the turmeric roots, they are boiled, dried, and ground into a powder. The powder has a beautiful bright orange-yellowish color that is also used as a dye.
Turmeric has risen to fame is because of its key active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin is not only what gives turmeric its bright yellow hue, but it is also why it has medicinal benefits.
The 6 Health Benefits of Turmeric
This incredible spice is used in alternative medicine for all the different benefits that it has. The potential for helping people with their health is enormous. The following benefits of curcumin are all backed by science.
Turmeric is most famous for its natural anti-inflammatory properties.
There are 3 main ways in which the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin can improve people’s health.
First, many people notice its effect on the digestive system.
Inflammatory bowel disease is one particular issue that is related to chronic inflammation. In studies, patients with IBD, including Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis, have responded well to curcumin supplements. (1)
Also, people with irritable bowel syndrome notice fewer symptoms when using a turmeric supplement.
Secondly, heart disease is another health problem related to chronic inflammation that may be improved by taking curcumin supplements. Not only does it help to regulate bio-markers for heart health such as blood pressure, but it may prevent cardiovascular events as well.
In one particular study, 117 patients were given 1 g curcumin supplement for eight weeks. At the end of the study, researchers noticed that the group given the curcumin had a decrease in pro-inflammation causing cytokines and lowered cholesterol levels in their blood compared to a control group. (5)
Finally, patients with arthritis can also experience relief when adding turmeric to their diet. Several studies have been done on patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis involving curcumin. The results were positive, and people noticed less pain and increased joint function due to its anti-inflammatory properties. (5)
For more information about how to fight inflammation, read our full article at naturemadecures.com/reduce-inflammation/.
2. Helps Prevent Cancer
Curcumin’s anti-cancer properties have been supported by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. They claim that “Curcuminoids may protect the body in a few ways: they enhance the activity of an important detoxifying enzyme and they also act as antioxidants by neutralizing free radicals (which can cause DNA damage).” (2)
Because of this, studies have found that colon and bowel cancer rates are low in people who consume turmeric regularly.
Although success rates vary from study to study, unlike chemotherapy, there are no side effects of using turmeric.
3. Curcumin is An Antioxidant
The buildup of toxins lowers immunity. When curcumin is effectively absorbed by the body, it can combat free radicals and reduce oxidative stress by being a powerful antioxidant.
This enables the immune system to perform more efficiently and fight off infections better. In this end, it means your body can run more efficiently and have more energy for other tasks.
4. Prevents Brain Disease and Improves Function
One profound health benefit is the ability to impact brain function.
By decreasing inflammation, studies have shown using a turmeric supplement can promote a connection between neural pathways. This leads to improved neurological function and increased memory in lab rats. This article goes over other steps you can take to promote neurogenesis and enhance brain health.
Also, in studies, animals that were given curcumin were less prone to diseases such as Parkinson’s and schizophrenia. (3)
5. Anti-aging Properties
One of the most apparent signs of aging is the appearance of our skin. The key to healthy looking skin is proper blood flow, moisture, and efficient removal of toxins.
Being that turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, it will have a significant impact on the quality of your skin.
That means that turmeric can benefit your skin and keep you young by having quality blood flow throughout your body.
6. Reduces depression symptoms
As mentioned earlier, turmeric works by assisting with brain health. So by supplementing with curcumin, you can reduce the chances of having psychological issues from improper brain chemistry.
Simply put, symptoms of depression decrease when the brain is functioning correctly.
Also, clinical research has shown that using curcumin not only reduces depressive tendencies but also helps out with anxiety. Scientists say that they need more research needs to be done to know the full extent of its application with mental health. (6)
Maybe one day, turmeric can replace antidepressant medications that have tons of side effects.
So Why Am I Not Getting The Benefits?
The reason you may not be getting them has to do with curcumin. The curcumin in turmeric has low bio-availability in its natural state. This means that our bodies are unable to absorb and use the chemical efficiently.
Luckily, there are two easy adjustments to make to utilize much more massive amounts of curcumin.
The first thing to do is to make sure there is some type of fat present. Fats such as ghee, olive oil, and coconut oil increase permeability of the intestinal wall, which increases the absorption of nutrients. Also, they may allow some nutrients to pass right into the bloodstream for immediate usage. To double up the inflammation fighting power, make sure to use an oil that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. They have tons of benefits for your health besides fighting inflammation.
Secondly, add black pepper to any recipes with turmeric. It increases the bio-availability because it contains an alkaloid called piperine. Research shows that it does this by increasing the permeability of intestinal cells. It may even increase absorption by 20 times! (4)
Due to the amazing benefits, you should consider incorporating turmeric spice into your diet if you have not already done so.
For the most absorption of curcumin, it is best to combine the turmeric with both a healthy fat and black pepper. This can be done easily by making golden milk or by preparing a turmeric tea.
I personally find it easy to add a little turmeric to my saute recipes. Not only does it taste delicious, but this will help to get the full benefits of this natural plant.