Turmeric is also referred to as the Indian saffron or the golden spice. It is one of the healthiest ingredients on the earth.
Its most compelling ingredient is curcumin – which improves nearly every facet of your health. Whether it is decreasing joint pain or healing diabetes and Alzheimer’s, turmeric has been praised as the cure-all.
How Does Turmeric Work?
Turmeric is a flowering plant indigenous to the ginger family. It is scientifically called Curcuma longa. It is belonging to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
The root of the plant (the rhizome) is commonly used for its advantageous features. Turmeric has been used in conventional Ayurvedic medicine for ages. It has a very smooth ginger-like taste.
Turmeric is used widely for healing and limiting diseases. Researches affirm it’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties.
Turmeric scavenges free radicals and combats disease. It also restrains the propagation of cancer cells and invokes their death. Its most vital bioactive compound is curcumin. Other compounds include curcuminoids and volatile oils.
The advantageous effects of turmeric can be obtained through dietary intake over long periods. It is essential you make it a customary part of your diet.
Health Benefits Of Turmeric
The most powerful constituent in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin fights inflammation and promotes heart health. Investigations show that its antioxidant effects also help limit cancer, aid diabetes treatment, promote liver health and fight other ailments.
The most important constituent in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin fights inflammation and supports heart health. Researches show that its antioxidant effects also help limit cancer, aid diabetes treatment, promote liver health and fight other ailments.
1. Can Help Prevent Cancer
Turmeric has a shielding effect against cancers of the stomach, colon, and skin. Further analysis is being done to demonstrate this effect.
The characteristics of curcumin in turmeric are being investigated. Lab researches show that it can cut the risk of cancer and even slow down its extent. The compound also makes chemotherapy more efficient and protects healthy cells in the process.
Curcumin also induces programmed cancer cell death. It accomplishes this by battling inflammation and scavenging the reactive oxygen species.
Interestingly, curcumin shows similar effects on almost all kinds of cancer cells – including those of the prostate, lungs, and pancreas. It plays a selective role in killing cancer cells and protecting healthy ones.
2. Aids Diabetes Treatment
Curcumin may lower blood sugar levels, and this can aid in diabetes treatment. It can also help treat fatty liver – a common concern associated with people with diabetes. The compound can also prevent diabetic neuropathy.
Turmeric relieves certain cognitive deficits associated with diabetes. It also treats related inflammation and oxidative stress.
Curcumin also improves the functioning of beta cells. Beta cells make insulin – the hormone that controls blood glucose levels.
3. Promotes Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease accounts for 31% of the deaths in the world every year. That’s close to 18 million people!
In animal models, this compound prevented heart failure and cardiac hypertrophy (abnormal enlargement of the heart muscle). The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric prevent arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) as well.
In rat studies, curcumin had also treated hypertension. Hypertension, if not treated, can lead to a heart attack. In individuals with acute coronary syndrome, curcumin lowered total cholesterol and LDL (the bad) cholesterol levels.
4. Enhances Digestive Health
Curcumin can treat gastric ulcers. This antiulcer activity of curcumin arises from its antioxidant properties.
The anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin also help treat esophageal inflammation. This way, curcumin can also treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Turmeric may also have a role to play in treating ulcerative colitis. It can help treat other digestive diseases too. These include inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer, liver disease, and diarrhea.
5. May Help With Weight Loss
The curcumin in turmeric might prevent inflammation linked to obesity. It might also enhance fat-burning – although we need more research to validate this.
Turmeric extract had decreased the growth of fat tissues in rodent models. Turmeric achieves this by suppressing angiogenic activity. Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels. Weight gain happens by the expansion of fat tissue, which doesn’t happen with suppressed angiogenesis.
Obesity is associated with chronic inflammation. Since turmeric fights inflammation, it may have potential in treating obesity. The curcumin in turmeric also inhibits the production of adipocytes (cells that store fat).
6. Might Promote Liver Health
Oxidative stress is one of the major causes of liver damage. The curcumin in turmeric can fight oxidative stress. This can possibly prevent liver injury and promote hepatic health.
7. Helps Treat Acne
The antibacterial effects of turmeric can help cure many skin ailments, including acne. Turmeric fights inflammation too. This could be especially helpful in treating the inflammation and redness associated with acne.
Using a turmeric face mask can help. You need 2 tablespoons of regular flour, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 3 tablespoons of milk, and a few drops of honey. Mix all the ingredients well until you get a smooth paste. Apply this mix to your face and let it dry for around 20 minutes. You can then rinse off in the shower and follow with a moisturizer.
But ensure you do a patch test before applying turmeric to your face as some individuals may react to the spice.
8. Fights Inflammatory Arthritis
The curcumin in turmeric reduces inflammation and modifies the responses of the immune system. One study states that turmeric is far more effective in preventing joint pain than treating it.
Curcumin also improves joint function in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Though further research is warranted, the findings from initial studies are promising. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric help treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis too.
The curcuminoids in turmeric also treat knee pain. This includes most forms of musculoskeletal pain, including that of the knees.
9. Might Delay Signs Of Aging
Curcumin also has antimutagenic properties. It protects the skin from the harmful UV rays and can delay the signs of aging.
Some anecdotal evidence also suggests that turmeric can treat dark spots, dark circles, and hyperpigmentation. We need more research on these inhibitory effects, though.
10. Can Help Treat Cough And Cold
Orally administered curcumin reduced cigarette smoke-induced lung inflammation in mice. It also improved the health of pulmonary fibrosis in rats. This way, curcumin can also help treat other respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis.
Curcumin can also alleviate asthmatic inflammation. Treatment with the compound had prevented the accumulation of inflammatory cells.
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric may also reduce swelling in the sinus activities.
11. Helps Treat Urinary Tract Infections
The antibacterial properties of curcumin may help treat urinary tract infections. It achieves this by fighting inflammation.
12. Can Help Treat Alzheimer’s
In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, curcumin had improved cognitive functioning. This can be attributed to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric’s curcumin.
Alzheimer’s disease degrades the nerve cells through inflammation and oxidative damage. Curcumin fights these, thereby potentially aiding the treatment of Alzheimer’s.
Another chemical in turmeric that shows promise here is the turmerone. In animal studies, the turmerone had stimulated new brain cells. In theory, this can greatly help treat Alzheimer’s disease and other similar neurodegenerative conditions.
Curcumin also boosts brain function in individuals with diabetes. It prevents the onset of diabetic neuropathy by enhancing the glucose-lowering effects of insulin.
13. May Help Treat Fibromyalgia
Some studies show that curcumin can aid in the treatment of muscular atrophy. Muscular atrophy could be one of the symptoms of severe fibromyalgia.
However, we need more evidence to understand how turmeric might directly help in curing fibromyalgia.
14. Relieves Symptoms Of Premenstrual Syndrome
The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin are at play here. The compound also modulates neurotransmitters – and this can attenuate the severity of PMS symptoms.
15. May Also Treat Depression And Anxiety
16. May Treat Psoriasis And Eczema
Curcumin can provide therapeutic effects for skin health. The anti-inflammatory properties of the spice can aid the treatment of psoriasis and eczema. When combined with antibiotics, curcumin can help relieve psoriasis.
The antioxidant properties of turmeric also help in wound healing. They achieve this by improving circulation and healing inflammation. This may help treat skin issues like psoriasis and eczema.
17. May Promote Hair Health
There is almost no research on this. Anecdotal proof has people using turmeric for gaining hair health – but there is no solid evidence recorded.
As turmeric doesn’t usually have any negative effects on hair, you may want to give a try. But we suggest you check with your doctor before you do.
How Much Turmeric Can You Take per Day?
The amount of turmeric you can take depends on what you are taking it for. For osteoarthritis, you can take 400 mg to 600 mg of turmeric per day, thrice a day.
Turmeric may take time to work. This can mean anywhere between four to eight weeks. You can take it as it is – in its powdered form – though that may not always be palatable.
How Can You Use Turmeric?
Adding turmeric to your diet is easy. The following ideas can help:
- Add a pinch of ground turmeric to roasted vegetables. This makes for a delectable evening snack. The spice goes especially well with roasted potatoes and cauliflowers.
- Sprinkle some turmeric on your evening green salad. This will up the nutritional value.
- Soups. Who doesn’t love soups? Add some turmeric to them, and you are all set for a healthful treat.
- Turmeric can be a brilliant addition to your morning/evening smoothie.
- You can make turmeric tea. Simmer turmeric with coconut milk for a comforting beverage. You can also add honey for taste.
- In case you are wondering if you can eat raw turmeric, well, you can. But not a lot. You can take a pinch of it for taste. The spice is taken best when added to food preparations.
- Turmeric pills/supplements are flooding the market. Of course, they have their own benefits. But please exercise caution as not all brands are reliable. Check with your doctor or nutritionist.
- Turmeric is all around us. The spice is commonly included in toothpaste, gels, and gums, soaps, cosmetics, and also face washes. In supplements, it usually is combined with Bioperine – for enhanced absorption.
What Possible Side Effects Can Turmeric Cause?
Possible Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding, If Taken In Excess
There is no evidence that the intake of turmeric during pregnancy or lactation may cause problems. Turmeric, when taken in food amounts, may be safe. But we don’t know about its intake in excess. Stick to normal food amounts and consult your doctor.
May Aggravate Kidney Stones
Turmeric contains a 2% oxalate. At very high doses, this can cause kidney stones or even lead to problems in people with kidney stones. Avoid use.
Turmeric might prevent iron absorption and cause iron deficiency. People deficient in iron must avoid large doses of turmeric.
Turmeric may slow down blood clotting. This can cause excessive bleeding. Avoid turmeric if you have bleeding disorders or a surgery scheduled in less than two weeks.
The research says it all. Turmeric works towards integrative health. It is a humble spice with incredible ways of healing. Including it in your diet can do wonders for you – and that is an understatement. Adding the spice to your food preparations is the easiest way to consume it – and the most palatable too.