Turmeric and Its 20 Amazing Health Benefits You Didn't Know About
Aah, that peppery aroma of turmeric! Who knew that this ingredient, used to spice up our favorite curry, actually has more benefits than we could ever think of?
That's right! This root plant that looks like ginger is the healthiest of all spices.
Turmeric, which is most often used in the form of dried powder, is otherwise known as Curcuma longa. The reason behind its visual resemblance to ginger is that they both come from one family, Zingiberaceae.
This root plant originally comes from Southeast Asia. In its place of origin, apart from for direct consumption, people also use turmeric leaves to wrap and cook food.
Studies show that turmeric is an excellent source of nutrients, with 1.82 mg of iron and 0.34 mg of manganese in every 2 teaspoons. Other than iron and manganese, turmeric also contains vitamin B6, fiber, copper, and calcium.
Turmeric and Its Superb Benefits
Most studies about turmeric do not focus on the plant itself but on its phytonutrient called curcumin.
Curcumin is a powerful substance contained in this root plant, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidation properties.
The greatest amount of curcumin is contained in the extracts of turmeric. This allows anybody who consumes it to derive maximum benefit from it.
Below are just 20 of the number benefits of curcumin you wouldn't want to miss.
A small inflammation can be beneficial to your body as it helps fight pathogens such as bacteria. But when there is chronic or long-term inflammation, your body is at risk, especially when the inflammation starts affecting your tissues.
Curcumin is a bioactive substance that very effectively fights inflammation at a molecular level. This substance blocks NF-kB, a molecule that is connected to most chronic diseases.
Curcumin is said to be as effective as any anti-inflammatory medicine.
2. Lowers Risk of Cancer
Turmeric has its own natural way of killing cancer.
Studies show that curcumin has the ability to kill the cancer cells and actually prevent more from growing. Furthermore, this root plant can reduce angiogenesis and metastasis.
A 2007 American study concluded that a combined treatment (chemotherapy and turmeric) is more effective at beating cancer than chemo alone.
3. Prevents Liver Diseases
Turmeric, acting as a natural detoxifier, increases the production of vital enzymes that help the liver detoxify your blood. It also helps with improving the circulation of blood in the body.
It can also reduce inflammation in the liver and prevent internal blood clotting.
With proper cleansing, the liver can secrete bile. This helps with the breaking down of fats. With this improved liver, digestion works better.
4. Improves Blood Sugar Level
One very natural way to lower your blood sugar level is to include turmeric in your diet.
And because of this root plant, there is a chance to reduce common side effects brought about by high sugar levels, like blindness.
Before taking this as a supplement, you should always consult your doctor. This is especially if you are taking insulin already. Chances are this root plant will lower your sugar level too much, causing bigger problems.
5. Retains Beta-carotene in Food
Studies show that when cooking vegetables, beta-carotene (vitamin A) is easily lost because of the heat. But when you add turmeric into a dish, it is not only retained but also becomes easy to absorb by the intestines.
This ingredient has a lot of ways of keeping these nutrients in the food.
You can now enjoy barbecue nights without worrying about the amount of carcinogens inside your body.
When you add any spice, like turmeric, to your marinated meat, the formation of carcinogens is reduced up to 40 percent.
7. Regulates Blood Fat Levels
The calories not needed by our bodies are converted into triglycerides right away.
And with turmeric, the level of these converted calories stored in our fat cells is regulated.
However, you have to make sure that you are not stressed out. Otherwise, turmeric will not produce this effect.
Stress changes the effect of turmeric when a person engages in physical activities, especially right after meals. This is actually why, after meals, you must take a little rest, but without going to sleep.
A study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research has proven that curcumin is as effective as Prozac.
The researchers gave turmeric to people with major depression disorder (MDD), and it showed that these people responded positively to the study.
The study proves that turmeric is actually a safe alternative to traditional medication for people with suicidal thoughts.
9. Lowers Risk of Heart Diseases
A study of about 121 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass disease showed a positive response to turmeric. There was a 65 percent decreased heart attack rate for patients who were given a dose every day.
The best explanation to this is that curcumin has a positive effect on your endothelium, which is the lining of your blood vessels.
The endothelium is responsible for regulating blood clots, blood pressure, and all other factors that lead to many heart diseases.
10. Lowers Risk of Brain Diseases
The decreased level of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor is the common cause for many cognitive diseases like Alzheimer's disease.
Curcumin has the ability to increase the level of this hormone and improve brain function.
Others say that curcumin can help improve your memory and can even make you smarter. However, you need to always watch your turmeric intake as there are not enough studies on its side effects.
11. Delays Aging
Here's a great way to subtract years from your age.
Turmeric has become very popular as an anti-aging supplement because curcumin can keep you younger looking. It's a great source for antioxidants. They protect the skin from free radicals. Free radicals destroy the skin's texture and elasticity.
12. Heals Your Wounds
According to a study, “turmeric increased collagen synthesis rates, improved wound contraction, and increased tissue strength and cell proliferation around the wound. Turmeric also showed antioxidant properties that helped the healing process.”
As an effective disinfectant, turmeric is considered to work like magic because of its ability to actually speed up the healing of wounds.
13. Cures Ulcers
Many people suffer from ulcers. These are caused when the digestive tract gets infected by bacteria. Emotional and physical stress can also add to the possibility of getting ulcers.
Turmeric is a go-to remedy to heal digestive tract disorders, including ulcers. The curcumin compounds regulate the enzymes involved in ulcer wounds, reverse cell damage, and speed up healing.
14. Aids in Weight Loss
Sadly, obesity and being overweight is rampant in the world today. Many people are suffering from this and want a way out.
Adding turmeric to your diet will help you lose those unwanted pounds. It can help turn bad fat into good fat. It can also suppress new fat production and helps in increasing the fat-degrading process.
15. Prevents Alzheimer's Disease
Other than longevity, turmeric improves your memory.
It removes the plaque in your brain and regulates the oxygen in the brain. This prevents cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
16. Boosts Immunity
You can now wave flu goodbye by adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder to your daily milk.
This root plant actually contains the substance Lipopolysaccharide, which has anti-bacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents.
This substance is in charge of stimulating the human immune system.
17. Relieves Arthritis
Because of the anti-inflammatory property of this root plant, incurable arthritis now has a natural remedy, which is the daily intake of turmeric.
Although it is not a topical treatment, it has its own way of relieving the symptoms associated with arthritis.
18. Gives Better Skin
Tired of all those skin problems, from acne to stretch marks and wrinkles?
Now, you don't need to spend too much on expensive beauty products. There is now a natural way to soothe these skin impurities.
Turmeric rejuvenates the skin, keeping it supple and healthy-looking. It reduces oil secretion and clears acne scars and inflammation. It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that fight pimples and breakouts. This gives you clearer and smoother skin.
19. Acts as Pain Reliever
It is an undeniable fact that over-the-counter pain relief medications are effective for backaches, toothaches, headaches, and other acute pains.
And although these medicines are already effective, it is always better to have a natural supplement that would give equal, if not, better, benefits at a lower cost.
Turmeric relieves pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
20. Cleans Respiratory Airways
When you get asthma attacks, it's because your lungs are irritated by the T-lymphocytes released by your immune system.
But did you know that turmeric can actually block this process and decrease the number of asthma attacks?
Yes! the curcumin present in the plant dilates blood vessels, thus cleansing your airways, improving breathing, and controlling bronchial attacks.
So the next time you plan your daily menu, consider these amazing benefits. They will definitely make you want more turmeric in your diet.
Ways to Take Turmeric
Turmeric does not only limit its use to medicinal benefits. There are also many other ways to add curcumin to your diet.
1. Brewed Turmeric Tea
Yes, like your coffee, you can also brew your own turmeric tea.
To do this, you just have to bring a cup of water to a boil, then add ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric or fresh grated turmeric. Wait for about 10 minutes. As soon as it is done, strain it before pouring it in your cup. You may add honey or lemon to add flavor.
2. Turmeric Juice or Smoothie
You can add a pinch or two of turmeric powder to any of your healthy smoothies or juices. Although its strong pigment may cause a slight change in color, it will not kill the fact that it will add to the nutrient content of your power beverages.
Here's one easy smoothie recipe you can make at home.
Turmeric Mango Surprise
- 1 cup mango cubes (frozen or fresh)
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp white chia seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp chili (optional)
For this smoothie, all you need to do is to blend all the ingredients together for about 45-60 seconds until it becomes smooth.
3. Sprinkle over Scrambled Eggs or Frittatas
Excite the taste of your scrambled eggs, tofu, and frittatas by sprinkling a little amount of turmeric powder.
4. Saute with Turmeric
When you hear the word saute, the most common ingredient for this action is onions and garlic. But did you know that you can also saute your veggies using turmeric powder and oil?
5. A Soothing Face Mask
Surprise! Turmeric can be a topical aid for your skin to maintain its radiance and glow. Just mix a little amount of this powder into your favorite face mask, and you'll see better results.
6. A Curry Powder
The most famous way to include turmeric in your diet is by dashing an amount of it to your soup. Your chicken curry is one best example for it.
What's the Proper Dosage When Taking Turmeric?
The question that we hear from most people is how much should I take?
Actually, the right answer will depend on your needs, goals, and health condition.
Studies say that when taking turmeric, always consider the following:
- Always use it with fresh ground black pepper and some fat or non-inflammatory oil. One example is coconut oil.
- It's best if you take it with food and not as it is alone.
- Adults have the official recommendation of up to 1.5 g daily or half a teaspoon of it. Meanwhile, therapeutic doses are considered to be 2-3 g.
- This powder is not advisable for children below two years old. Furthermore, for children and people aged 65 and above, they should only take low dosages.