The ability of turmeric to combat inflammation makes it a powerful spice. In fact, it can be your partner to fight off various chronic diseases.
What are the Benefits of Turmeric?
- Fights against inflammation
- Alleviates symptoms of arthritis
- Acts as a potent antioxidant
- Promotes healthy heart
- Supports brain health
- Helps with depression
- May aid in cancer prevention and treatment
So, what is in this spice that makes it special?
Well, this is because turmeric has numerous health benefits that are proven scientifically.
First of all, it contains anti-inflammatory effects.
Inflammation is the root of some chronic diseases. Although it can be beneficial in a short-term manner, this condition can also be damaging at the same time. (1)
Thanks to curcumins present in turmeric for its anti-inflammatory benefit. In actual effect, some research suggests that it is even more effective than standard medications. (1, 2)
With its ability to fight inflammation, people with arthritis may benefit from turmeric too. (1)
Some research studied people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The result showed that they experienced improvements in various symptoms with the help of curcumin. (1, 2, 3)
Curcumin found in turmeric is known for its antioxidant effects as well. It helps defend your body from free radicals by neutralising them. (1)
It is also responsible for the stimulation of the antioxidant enzymes in your body. (1)
Another health benefit of turmeric is its ability to keep your heart healthy.
This spice may aid in reducing your risk of heart disease. It does it by improving the lining of your blood vessels called endothelium. Improvement in endothelial function has been linked to proper regulation of blood clotting, blood pressure, and many other factors. (1, 2, 3)
Several studies suggest that curcumin has the ability to reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels too. In some cases, hospitalised individuals had a lower risk of experiencing a heart attack with the help of this bioactive compound. (1, 2)
Turmeric may help improve your brain function as well.
This can be made possible by increasing the levels of the hormone in your brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). As a matter of fact, low levels of this hormone also mean that you are at risk of several brain disorders. (1, 2)
Another important benefit of turmeric is its role as an antidepressant.
According to a 2014-study published in Phytotherapy Research, curcumin has a similar effect to that of a standard antidepressant. It is an effective and safe treatment for depression. (1)
In addition, people with depression have low BDNF levels. Curcumin in turmeric has the ability to increase the levels of this hormone. (1, 2)
Lastly, turmeric may potentially help you prevent and treat several types of cancer. (1, 2)
Curcumin may act as an effective anticarcinogen. This is according to The National Cancer Institute. (1)
Although all these science-backed studies may seem promising, turmeric is not always ideal for everyone to be used. In some cases, it is not recommended for some individuals. Thus, seek advice from a healthcare professional before supplementing.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is scientifically known as Curcuma longa. It is a spice characterised by its bright yellow-orange colour.
This medicinal spice comes from the turmeric plant, particularly its roots. It is native to Asia and Central America. Others call it the golden spice or Indian saffron.
The yellow colour of curry powder is caused by this spice. It is also used as an added flavouring to cheeses, butter, and mustard. Curcumin is the yellow-coloured chemical responsible for this.
Indians have a long history of culinary and medicinal uses of turmeric. The roots or rhizomes of this flowering plant hold potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
How Does Turmeric Work?
Some bioactive compounds called curcuminoids are present in turmeric, and curcumin is the most central of these. (1)
Curcumin is the reason for its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. In fact, Indian Ayurvedic medicine uses turmeric to address various health issues.
For curcumin to be fully absorbed into the body, black pepper which contains piperine is necessary. That is why most supplements containing curcumin has piperine to ensure absorption and efficacy.
You may as well combine curcumin together with a fatty meal because of its characteristic as fat-soluble.
How Do I Take Turmeric?
Turmeric can be found in the kitchen as an ingredient or spice. It is also contained in some herbal supplements as an alternative treatment for several health conditions.
This herb is available in the forms of extracts, powders, teas, and capsules.
Can I Take Turmeric Along with other Medicines?
Be mindful of taking turmeric along with antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs. These medications that slow blood clotting might cause moderate interaction with this spice. As a result, the possibilities of bleeding and bruising might increase.
Some of these medications include warfarin (Coumadin), ibuprofen, diclofenac, clopidogrel, heparin, enoxaparin, aspirin, etc.
Is Turmeric Safe?
Moderate consumption of turmeric is safe in general. It is also safe when applied to the skin, taken as a mouthwash, and used as an enema.
However, too much intake might cause a blood-thinning effect and augmented stomach acidity.
Other side effects associated with turmeric are usually mild. These include diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, and stomach upset. Most of these are the result of taking higher than the typical doses.
Also, do not take this herb if you have underlying conditions. These include diabetes, stomach ulcers, gallbladder problems, hormone-sensitive condition, iron deficiency, infertility, bleeding problems, and others.
Discontinue using it two weeks before a scheduled surgical procedure too. This is due to its ability to thin your blood.
Although foods containing turmeric is possibly safe for pregnant women, taking it in medicinal forms may not be a good idea. It may cause risk by stimulating the uterus and might as well encourage a menstrual phase.
For women who are breastfeeding, there is limited research on its safety in medicinal amounts. To make sure you are safe with the nursing infant, avoid using turmeric supplements.
How Will Turmeric Benefit Me?
Do you want to obtain the health benefits that turmeric provides? You will be needing black pepper for it to absorb well in the bloodstream.
Good to know that there are available supplements containing curcumin (with piperine from black pepper).
So, no need to worry about the efficacy and safety of turmeric supplements. Just be sure you are purchasing them from reputable retailers or health stores.
If you have not tried any product containing turmeric yet, try it today and enjoy its enormous health benefits.