Turmeric information seems to be popping up everywhere these days, and for good reason.
Turmeric is a powerful natural ingredient we can utilize to improve and support our health in a variety of ways.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is grown in India and other Southeast Asian countries. It has been used for thousands of years as both a spice and a medicinal herb. It comes from the curcuma longa plant by drying the root and grinding it into powder. Due to its distinctive, bright yellow color it has been nicknamed “the golden spice”. It is the main ingredient in the popular Indian dish curry. Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids which have medicinal properties. The most important one is curcumin, which is the most valuable ingredient in turmeric and a powerful antioxidant.
Here are 10 benefits of turmeric:
1. Treats mild depression
“Curcumin does have an effect on several physiological systems that are implicated in the causes of depression,” Roger S. McIntyre, MD, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology and head of the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit at the University of Toronto said.
3. Helps manage diabetes
A study showed that curcumin in turmeric is literally 400 times more potent than Metformin in activiting AMPK which improves insulin sensitivity which can help reverse Type 2 Diabetes. (1)
3. Controls inflammation and provides joint pain relief
Curcumin inhibits molecules known to play major roles in inflammation. Arthritis is characterized by pain from joint inflammation. Turmeric’s phytochemicals work to cleanse the liver of toxins that contribute to arthritis flare-ups.
4. Promotes better digestion
Turmeric’s combination of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds deliver the nutrition that the digestive system needs to support enzymatic reactions, acid production, muscle movement, and optimal nutrient absorption. Supplementing with curcumin can also help to heal the gut and support the growth of good bacteria (probiotics) in the body.
5. Heals damaged skin
Because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, curcumin is beneficial in treating burns, speeds up wound healing, decreases acne, reduces acne scarring and helps control psoriasis flare ups.
6. Fights degenerative brain diseases
Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons. Turmeric also allows the potent phytochemical curcumin to be absorbed in the blood and delivered directly to the sites of the brain in need, thus crossing the blood-brain barrier. It has been shown to lead to improvements in Alzheimer’s disease and improving memory.
7. Lowers cholesterol and risk of heart disease
Turmeric reduces plaque buildup and lowers the level of bad cholesterol. Taking curcumin fights high blood pressure or hypertension and can also assist in the prevention of strokes. Curcumin’s anti-thrombotic properties ensure that the formation of dangerious blood clots is hindered.
8. Boosts immunity
Curcumin protects your body from dangerous free radicals by neutralizing them and then boosting your body’s own antioxidant enzymes. It also has antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial compounds.
9. Benefits longevity
Curcumin may influence logevity by preventing diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s and possibly cancer. Therefore, it is popular to take as an anti-aging supplement.
10. Cleanses liver
Turmeric’s cleansing phytochemicals act as powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents which protect and clease not only the liver, but the entire body.
Note: many turmeric supplements include black pepper because it contains piperine, which has been shown to increase absorption by 2,000 %. Before taking turmeric, please consult with your doctor if you are taking any prescription medications or are pregnant or nursing.