The Many Health Benefits of Turmeric
Ahh turmeric. It’s been adding color, bite, and depth to Eastern inspired foodstuffs for centuries. South Africans cook rice with it. The Vietnamese add it to their traditional crepe-like dish banh xeo. And your favorite curry just wouldn’t quite taste the same without it.
The turmeric plant is a South Asian native that produces rhizomes, which are collected, boiled, dried, and grounded in to a powder. You’ve probably seen it. We mean, its iconic bright yellow hue is pretty hard to miss.
But we digress. After all, Healthversed isn’t exactly known for having a sophisticated palate. Turmeric is delicious, sure. But it’s also pretty darn good for you too. Well one of its main components is.
Turmeric is packed full of a magical little chemical called curcumin. That’s the good stuff. That’s the stuff that fights cancer, improves brain function, and well, you’ll see.
Today on Healthversed, we’re cooking up a big ol’ pot of turmeric and everyone is invited. Let’s take a look at some of the incredible benefits of this magical spice.
Our girl Selena wasn’t kidding, turmeric certainly qualifies as one of the most nutritious foods on Earth. It’s active ingredient, curcumin, is actually a super powerful anti-inflammatory. For the unaware, inflammation is a natural process of the human body’s immune response. It helps protect our joints. It helps wounds heal. It’s supposed to be a good thing.
Though minor, short term inflammation of the knees and joints is relatively normal. Chronic, long-term inflammation can cause some serious health problems. So, if you’re looking to ease the burden of inflammation without the costly drugs, spice up your life and increase your consumption of turmeric!
Kittisak Jirasittichai / Shutterstock
Great for arthritis
Arthritis affects an estimated 54.4 million adults in the U.S. alone. It’s a large problem that’s getting substantially larger as our baby-boomer parents turn in to baby-boomer grandparents and great-grandparents. What if we told you that a little bit of turmeric could go a long way to easing their pain?
Curcumin, the butt kicking chemical buried in turmeric, is already being utilized to treat osteoarthritis. In some studies, curcumin even outperformed standard anti-inflammatory medications. Seriously, turmeric is that powerful.
toeytoey / Shutterstock
It hates cancer
In this day and age, it’s safe to say that you know someone who has been effected by cancer. As far as safe bets go, that’s about as ‘safe’ as they get. Approximately 39.6% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. Scary stuff.
Luckily for all of us, turmeric is on our side of the battle. Scientists have been researching the cancer-busting potential of curcumin supplementation for decades. It’s been shown to reduce the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, stop the spread of cancer throughout the body, and kill cancer cells. Keep fighting the good fight, turmeric.
Billion Photos / Shutterstock
With an abundance of sugar loaded soft drinks and candy bars at every turn, it shouldn’t surprise you that the world, particularly the western hemisphere, has a real problem with diabetes. Whether you’re born with it or develop it later in life, there’s no denying it’s debilitating, life-altering affects.
If someone that you know is dealing with the daily struggle of diabetes, tip them off about turmeric. Not only does turmeric help reduce blood sugar levels, but it’s also been shown to prevent type 2 diabetes. Don’t worry, you won’t have to eat spoonful after spoonful of the yellow stuff. You should be able to find turmeric supplements at your local supplement store.
Syda Productions / Shutterstock
But wait, there’s more. Much, much more in fact. Turmeric has been shown to help manage digestive maladies – like inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – without the damaging side effects that can come with oft-prescribed corticosteroids.
Not good enough for you? Turmeric essential oil has been shown to reduce the gastric ulcers in the stomachs of lab rats in a 2015 study. We trust our doctors and approach holistic alternatives with a healthy bag of skepticism, but it’s important to understand that this is not that. The many health benefits of turmeric are legitimate and turmeric supplementation is something that everyone should do.
poylock19 / Shutterstock
Linked to improved brain function
Maybe you don’t struggle with ulcers or gastrointestinal problems. Or, you don’t struggle with diabetes or arthritis on the daily. That doesn’t mean that you still can’t benefit from a turmeric rich diet. Case in point, turmeric’s ability to boost levels of the brain hormone BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor).
BDNF’s roll in brain function is complicated and not entirely understood. In short, it encourages the growth of new neurons and synapses. It helps your brain grow, learn and fight back against age-related brain complications, such as memory loss. Now are you on board with turmeric? Thought so.
Bulatnikov / Shutterstock
Lowered risk of heart disease
You don’t need fancy stats and colorful graphs to explain the dangers and prevalence of heart disease in modern society. This article should tell you all you need to know. What if we told you that you could fight heart disease and make your food taste better all for the price of, well whatever spices cost at your local grocery store.
That’s right! Turmeric is also good for your heart. Curcumin can help protect your heart from cardiovascular disease too! How? It helps improve the function of the endothelium and in turn, helps your body better regulate blood pressure, blood clotting, and more. In some cases, curcumin is preferred over its ever-popular pharmaceutical competition.
Michelle Lee Photography / Shutterstock
It fights joint pain
Inflammation can dramatically impact your quality of life. Complications like joint pain and arthritis can impact your mobility and, if untreated, can render you couch-ridden and miserable. Get off the couch and get active with some help from our favorite little yellow powder, turmeric.
For example, individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis found relief thanks to curcumin. In some instances, turmeric supplementation even outperformed popular anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. As with any new treatments, it’s always important to proceed with caution. If your current arthritis drugs aren’t working or if they’re taking a toll on your body, ask your doctor if turmeric supplementation is right for you.
Dan Kosmayer / Shutterstock
It lowers cholesterol
In the eloquent words of the great 21st century poet DJ Khaled, here’s “another one.” Studies have shown that turmeric might have the ability to prevent the production of cholesterol in the liver, stop cholesterol absorption in the gut, and reduce LDL cholesterol oxidation in the lining of your arteries. That’s some good stuff right there.
So, if all of your nutritional supplements have your purse sounding like a tic-tac factory in motion, try replacing them with turmeric. That is, if it’s safe to do so. You may be able to cut your daily supplement intake in half.
designer491 & Ben Schonewille / Shutterstock
You can work hard. You can turn the other cheek. You can recycle. But it doesn’t matter how many unpaid overtime hours you log, or how many clothing items you re-purpose, you’ll never live up to the stratospherically high #LifeGoals set by turmeric. Don’t get down, get turmeric!
Turns out that the perennial over-achiever looks to take Prozac’s job too. That’s right, a number of randomized controlled trials have found evidence to support curcumin as a possible treatment for manic depressive disorder and depression.
Photographee.eu / Shutterstock
May prevent and treat Alzheimer’s
If there’s anything worse than the slow, agonizing debilitation of Alzheimer’s, we aren’t aware of it. This nasty degenerative brain disease renders millions of people a year immobile and unresponsive. There are plenty of ways that you can get the jump on Alzheimer’s. Like exercise, education, and even coconut oil. Today, we add turmeric supplementation to that ever-growing list.
Turmeric can help clear the dangerous Alzheimer’s causing Amyloid plaques and may even “lead to a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease” in the not too distant future. Promising stuff for sure!
Kunertus / Shutterstock
If you haven’t made plans to visit your local supplement store and order up a bottle of turmeric yet, well you’re only getting older.
Last but not least, turmeric as an anti-aging supplement to promote longevity. No, it’s not going to make you live forever. But, it will help fight cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, depression, cholesterol, joint pain. Did we miss anything? Oh yeah, it’s also cheap and delicious.
Africa Studio / Shutterstock