Turmeric is an important spice used for centuries in India as both a flavoring and a medicinal. Its golden-yellow color also makes it popular among food enthusiasts as a coloring agent. Turmeric is a cousin of ginger and looks similar in appearance.
Recent studies show that turmeric may have a plethora of health benefits if consumed in considerable amounts daily. The active, responsible substance in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin traces are very little, making up only 3% of the turmeric’s weight. Majority of studies that have been done have been with amounts above 1 gram per day, so it’s important to exceed that amount to experience the full benefits.
Here are seven major benefits of turmeric:
1. Fights Inflammation
One of the major health benefits of turmeric is its ability to fight chronic long-term inflammation. Inflammation is important for fighting bacteria in the short term. Without it, our bodies would be invaded by various disease-causing germs. Chronic long-term inflammation, however, arises when the body is unable to control inflammation. This may contribute to such chronic diseases as cancer and diabetes. Curcuminoids in Turmeric helps defend against uncontrolled inflammation.
2. Reduces Depression
Turmeric has been shown to boost the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. These two hormones play a major role in determining the happiness or sadness level of individuals. When the production of serotonin and dopamine is lessened, depression may arise. It’s also been proven that turmeric boosts the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF, important for maintaining chemical balances in the brain. An imbalance of brain chemicals is another cause of depression.
3. Prevents Blood Clotting
Clotting occurs when platelets in the blood aggregate and form clots. When these clots are formed in blood vessels, they can lead to seriously risky healthy situations. For instance, the clots can block blood from flowing. Worse still, if clots reach the heart, they can cause sudden death. The risk of developing clots increases with age. Turmeric has been shown to help reduce the formation of dangerous blood clots.
4. Improves Skin Health
Turmeric has been attributed to skin health. It helps with luster and glow of the skin, making it look fresh and healthy. It’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties gives it the power to improve skin health. It has also been shown to treat various skin conditions including psoriasis and acne. Turmeric can be applied on the skin as a facemask. However, approach this with the caveat that it may cause allergic reactions or discolor the skin. Check for allergic reactions by applying a small amount on your forehand and waiting 48 hours to see if there’s any reaction before applying on the face.
5. Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world. Heart disease usually develops gradually and curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been proven to slow down the gradual onset of heart disease. One way it does this is by improving the endothelium, which is the lining of blood vessels. Endothelium helps regulate blood pressure and is an important factor in regulating blood clotting. Curcumin also helps fight inflammation and oxidation, which are causes of heart disease.
6. Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s, as yet, does not have a cure, so prevention remains the most effective way to combat this dreadful disease. One of the causes of Alzheimer’s is believed to be degeneration of neurons in the brain as a result of inflammation and oxidation over time. Curcumin has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Recent studies have also indicated that curcumin has the ability to clean out amyloid plaques, protein tangles, which are a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. However, more studies are being conducted in this area.
7. Slows down aging
Aging is a factor of inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, resulting in the formation of degenerative free-radicals and. The body derives its energy from oxidation. Oxidation leads to release of other compounds, one being the free radicals. Curcumin’s anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties help control formation of free radicals, thus reducing the harmful effects of long-term inflammation, which leads to a reduced rate of aging.
Turmeric has a long history of safe and effective use as a nutritional supplement and is now one of the most studied. It would make an excellent addition to any natural nutritional program. The recommended dosage is a daily intake of 1 gram.