Used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb, turmeric is a powerful herb with some serious benefits.
It is the main spice ingredient in the popular Indian dish curry. Grown in India and other Southeast Asian countries, turmeric comes from the curcuma longa plant. The dried root of the curcuma longa plant is ground into turmeric powder which gives curry its distinctive, bright yellow color.
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Turmeric contains compounds with medicinal properties called curcuminoids. The most important one is curcumin. Curcumin is the main and most valuable ingredient in turmeric.
How can taking turmeric help boost your health? Here are some benefits of taking turmeric/curcumin:
1.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. Curcumin can treat symptons of arthritis and in some cases has been more effective than some anti-inflammatory drugs.
2. Treats mild depression
One study* discovered curcumin was as effective as Prozac in managing mild depression.
3. Helps manage diabetes
It was discovered in a study** that curcumin in turmeric is literally 400 times more potent than Metformin in activating AMPK which improves insulin sensitivity which can help reverse Type 2 Diabetes.
4. Aids in gastrointestinal issues
Supplementing with curcumin can help heal your gut and support the growth of good bacteria (probiotics) in your 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. Increases antioxidant capacities
Curcumin neutralizes free radicals thus stimulating antioxidant enzymes in your body.
7. Fights degenerative brain diseases
Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons. It also crosses the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to improvements in Alzheimer’s disease.
8. Lowers risk of heart disease
Turmeric reduces plaque buildup and lowers the level of bad cholesterol. Taking curcumin fights high bood pressure or hypertension and can also assist in the prevention of strokes. Curcumin’s anti-thrombotic properties ensures that the formation of dangerous blood clots is hindered.
Note: many turmeric supplements include black pepper because it contains piperine, which has been shown to increase the absorption and effects of turmeric. Turmeric is generally considered safe, but it is important to consult with a doctor before using as it can interact with several medications.