The Proven Health Benefits Of Turmeric
The earth gives us many spices and herbs that enhance our food’s flavor. While the popularity of each spice varies from region to region, all of them find their place in various cuisines. Turmeric, also called ‘The Golden Spice’, is an ingredient that not only adds flavor to a dish but also offers many health benefits.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant indigenous to India and Southeast Asia. It belongs to the ginger family, and its roots produce turmeric spice, giving a yellowish hue. It offers an earthy mustard flavor with some heat. You can use both fresh and dried turmeric for different purposes.
The spice is most popular in curries, but you can also add it to desserts, beverages and other dishes. Health supplements with turmeric are also abundantly available on the market.
It’s not only a culinary spice but also used in many different products like medicines, lotions, soaps, dyes and ointments.
Earlier, it used to be mainly available in Asian grocery stores, but with its increase in popularity, you can find turmeric in many shops in both fresh and dried forms. You can buy fresh turmeric and grate or grind for use. Or, you can buy the whole dried version or powder turmeric in packages.
Health Benefits Of Turmeric
A substance called curcumin is the primary ingredient in turmeric, which makes it so special. Research and experiments show that regular consumption in moderate quantities can improve health in different ways.
The following are some health benefits attributed to turmeric/curcumin.
It improves heart health
Surveys suggest that heart ailments kill more people worldwide than any other illness. While doctors and researchers work tirelessly to find the reasons and solutions, they have also learned that curcumin can help lower the risk of heart diseases.
Experts have found out that curcumin enhances endothelium’s functions. The endothelium is the lining in our blood vessels. It has several functions like regulating blood clotting, releasing substances that control vascular contraction and relaxation and maintaining blood pressure.
When it malfunctions, the functions can slow down, leading to the risk of a heart problem. But the regular supply of curcumin to the body can keep the lining of the blood vessels working properly. As a result, the heart will remain healthy and not succumb to illnesses.
Turmeric can alleviate and prevent arthritis
Curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. Since arthritis involves joint inflammation, turmeric supplements can relieve and prevent the disease.
In some studies, experts learned that curcumin was even more beneficial than many inflammatory medicines. Researchers also saw that it also improved the condition of several other symptoms.
Turmeric may enhance brain function
Studies have also shown that curcumin may improve brain functions as it can enhance levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF. It’s a gene required for creating a protein that promotes the life of neurons.
Low levels of BDNF protein can aggravate depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and weight gain. It can also decrease memory and learning power, focus and other functions. So, when you take a curcumin supplement, the BDNF levels go up, and brain functions get enhanced.
But experts are still researching to know more and confirm the fact.
Turmeric can boost the amount of antioxidants in the body
Since curcumin is a potent antioxidant, frequent consumption of turmeric supplements can raise its levels. It can also activate the function of other antioxidants.
Antioxidants can protect the body from free radicals (unstable atoms which can harm cells leading to disease and faster aging). So, curcumin intake can keep these atoms at bay and promote good health.
Turmeric may be beneficial in preventing cancer
Studies also show that a sizeable quantity of curcumin may inhibit cancer growth and progress. It may primarily do three things, namely,
- It may help to shrink or kill cancerous cells
- Curcumin might help lower angiogenesis (development of new blood vessels in tumors)
- It may decrease metastasis (spreading of cancer)
Turmeric And Ginger
Turmeric and ginger belong to the same family, and they are both packed with nutrients. Each can benefit our health in many ways, and when combined, they are even more potent.
You can use both spices fresh, dried or in powder form. Mixing them together can ease several health issues. They may
Relieve from pain: Ginger and turmeric can be excellent for reducing back, joint and muscle pain. Curcumin in turmeric can lower inflammation, and ginger can reduce pains and aches. So make them part of your daily diet.
Alleviate nausea and morning sickness: Most women get nauseous or morning sickness during pregnancy. Ginger tea alone or mixed with turmeric can ease the issue up to a certain extent. Take 1 gm ginger a day to get relief.
Enhance immunity: Regular consumption of ginger and turmeric can also boost the immune system. So, the combination basically protects the body as a whole.
Turmeric And Black Pepper
Black pepper, which comes from peppercorns, is also known as ‘Black Gold.’ It’s flavorful and packed with nutrients at the same time.
Like turmeric, it also contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. So, the turmeric and black pepper combination turn into a powerhouse of goodness.
It helps to absorb curcumin better: The mixture is so potent because piperine, the primary substance in black pepper, aids the body to take in more curcumin (1). As a result, there is a good supply of curcumin which can help alleviate several health issues, as stated earlier.
Improves Immunity: The combination also boosts the immune system, which is vital to keep our body resistant to viral infections.
It enhances digestive function: Regular but moderate intake of turmeric-ginger combo can also improve the digestive system.
It reduces inflammation: As both spices have anti-inflammatory properties, consuming turmeric and ginger regularly can lower inflammation and relieve joint and muscle pain.
You can add both spices to many dishes. So, you will have ample dosage if you add them to your diet daily.
While all ingredients are beneficial for health, it’s crucial to consume only the recommended dosage. High intake can lead to issues like headache, diarrhea, and rashes. Instead of taking supplements, add them to your regular diet.
All spices have medicinal properties. They are effective on their own but can be more effective when combined like turmeric-ginger or turmeric-black pepper. So, including them in our diet can improve our bodily functions in many ways.
For safety and well-being, include the spices in your daily diet instead of consuming supplements. While the spices are beneficial, they can also be harmful if you consume a high dose regularly. So, keeping it moderate can be more practical.