This yellow spice called ‘Turmeric’ is an important ingredient that is used in cooking especially in Asian countries like India. Its scientific name is ‘Curcuma longa’. This single bright yellow-coloured ingredient is said to be packed with several major health benefits. It is being used for cooking for centuries. It is good to consume turmeric spice prepared well with meals for all ages. The West has realized its benefits and is slowly incorporating it into their foods. This is not just to derive satisfaction from the curry prepared, but also to enjoy its impressive health benefits. Hence, the demand for this ingredient is increasing at a rapid pace across the globe. Since ancient times, it is being used for cooking, cosmetics, fabric dyeing and traditional medicine both in India and China.
What is Curcumin?
It is considered to be a pigment present in turmeric. It is this pigment that provides this spice with its bright hue. Also, it offers a variety of health benefits like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antibacterial effects. Since turmeric is known to offer wide-ranging functions, it is associated with treating several health conditions. It includes eye conditions, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, cancer, etc.
What are the health benefits offered by Turmeric?
- Powerful antioxidant: Curcumin pigment is found to eliminate oxygen-free radicals from the body. These are considered to be chemically active molecules causing intense damage to the cells present in the human body. Together with inflammation, free radical damage is stated to be the key driver to cause cardiovascular disease. According to health experts, it is possible to manage as well as prevent heart disease by consuming curcumin. Turmeric is also reported to help reduce triglycerides and cholesterol in the body, which otherwise puts people at risk of contracting heart disease. It can also help improve blood pressure. This is apart from its antioxidant effects that can reduce and eliminate risks associated with macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts.
- Natural anti-inflammatory: The human body experiences inflammation periodically. It is termed to be an essential process that occurs automatically to combat harmful invaders like viruses and bacteria. Moreover, it helps repair the damage that is caused by those unwanted elements including injuries. However, in most of the chronic conditions noticed like cancer and heart disease, long-term inflammation is stated to be a matter of concern. Hence, it has to be controlled. It is here that anti-inflammatory compounds tend to play an important role. Curcumin pigment that is present is known to have strong, proven anti-inflammatory properties. It helps block inflammatory molecule action taking place in the body. According to studies, it is also found to show positive effects on those suffering from health conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
- Brain food: Studies conducted have also shown that curcumin can cross the brain-blood barrier. It might help prevent Alzheimer’s disease from occurring. It can also reduce protein plaque build-up in the brain and inflammation considered to be the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. It is also reported to combat mood disorders and depression. Turmeric supplements when taken are stated to lower down anxiety and depression symptoms significantly.
- Anti-cancer effects: Studies have been conducted on animals and humans alike to understand the influence of turmeric on cancer. The results derived are that this spice might affect cancer formation, development and growth at the molecular level. Further researches have proved that consuming it regularly can help prevent the spread of cancerous cells throughout the body. Rather, it destroys the cells that result in the development of different types of cancers in different parts of the body. Even chemotherapy’s negative side effects are found to be significantly reduced. The current research practiced on animals and in the lab setting is found to offer encouraging results.
10 health conditions that Turmeric can help combat & Treat
- Urinary Tract Infections: Researches have found that curcumin when consumed regularly can help prevent the formation of kidney stones within the urinary tract. Rather, it is so powerful that it does not allow the stones to crystallize. Stones developing in the kidney region can be a painful experience. Hence, it would be wise to prevent their formation in the first place, rather than bear the pain and seek expensive medical assistance later. The best way to do so is to use turmeric as an ingredient in most foods prepared at the home.
- Tendonitis: A potent compound is present in turmeric, which provides it with that bright yellow colour. The compound is also credited to provide this spice with anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is proven to help heal the tendonitis region. In this case, the tendons get inflamed to maintain the body’s structural integrity. It is wonderful news for those experiencing intense suffering and pain from tendonitis. This might be the result of gardening, golf or tennis injury.
- Alzheimer’s Protection: A good number of people are found to suffer from Alzheimer’s. Intense pressure caused by work, family or some disease only has been increasing the number of patients suffering from this dreadful ailment. Researches found that curcumin when made part of the food habit can protect the brain. It can prevent the formation of plague generally considered to be the main reason for Alzheimer’s disease. It prevents beta-amyloid plaque formation, the key factor for the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Patients exhibiting severe symptoms like irritability, dementia, apathy, anxiety and agitation are found to enjoy excellent therapeutic results. Participants in some researches were reported to enjoy significant improvements in their memory power on being supplemented with turmeric of 764 mg. It contained curcumin of 100 mg that was given to them every day, for one year.
- Memory Boosting: It does help boost memory power. But what you might not be aware of is that it starts to work very quickly than imagined. Research published showed that on taking the supplement, favorable results were derived in just an hour. The supplement contained curcumin. During the study, the participants showed significant improvements in attention tasks and memory unlike that of the placebo group.
- Parkinson’s disease: This is another ailment it promises to combat and treat. It is considered to be a degenerative neurological disorder, characterized by shaking and impaired motor functions. The study also stated that turmeric can help the nervous system to avoid the harmful toxins that cause nervous system degeneration. It is generally noticed in Parkinson’s disease.
- Prostate Cancer: Even prostate cancer can be prevented and fought with regular consumption. According to researchers, turmeric contains compounds, something found in grapes and apples also. It helps shrink and starve the prostate cancer tumors, ensuring it does not develop further. Although the research is still in the nascent stage, the results are quite promising. Patients suffering from prostate cancer can now have a ray of hope to eliminate this disease. Besides being safe, this ingredient also offers numerous health benefits.
- Osteoarthritis: `Researches claimed that it is an effective ingredient to treat osteoarthritis developing in the knee region. It is rather compared to ibuprofen when positive results are concerned.
- Colon Cancer Treatment and Prevention: Curcumin as stated above is beneficial to treat prostate cancer. Besides this, multiple studies have declared that this compound has the potentiality to lower risks of colon cancer. It is effective enough to suppress colon cancer cells’ ability to proliferate. Thus, this study suggests that it might prove to be beneficial to treat and prevent the disease.
- Obesity: It could be that you are gaining weight fast and appear ugly. Becoming obese means, you are likely to face various types of ailments very soon, something that should be avoided. In case, you face trouble trying to lose weight, then your diet should include more turmeric. The objective here is to supplement your body with sufficient amounts. Researches claim that Biofactors present in this spice can help alleviate the inflammation that causes obesity and overweight. Besides treating obesity, it can also protect against a few health-damaging effects resulting from being overweight.
Turmeric spice can be included in your curries, stews, smoothies and soups. But if you suffer from some serious health issues like the ones mentioned above, then you should increase your curcumin daily dosage. Ideally, select standardized curcumin extract. For the selected product, follow the directions given for preparation. The typical per-day supplementary dosage is around 400 to 500 mg. However, you should first consult a good doctor before using it.
- Diabetes: When consumed regularly can help treat neuropathy including other health issues associated with diabetes. It also regulates blood sugars.
Making the most from this spice
The truth is this yellow spice is a powerful tool, which when consumed regularly with food can help improve your overall health. It can be consumed by people of all ages without any worry. It also enhances food taste while offering myriads of health benefits. But the key to derive the maximum health benefits from this ingredient lies in the way you consume it.
Turmeric when mixed with black pepper is found to offer increased curcumin absorption by about a whopping 2000 percent! Other studies conducted have revealed that when it is combined with fats like rapeseed oil or olive oil did help increase absorption.
Hence, the benefits offered by turmeric seem to be encouraging. However, remember that the key to enjoying long-lasting benefits will be to consume a balanced diet regularly.