Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice packed with a variety of health benefits. It has a long history of use in medicine and culture across the world. It is also a delicious ingredient in a variety or meals or even a smoothie. Turmeric is becoming more and more popular and many studies have shown that turmeric has many health benefits on your body and brain.
The primary active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin gives the spice its characteristic yellow color and is the compound responsible for most of turmeric’s health benefits. Curcumin is a natural antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory benefits and has been shown to slow the aging process and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Eating turmeric as part of your daily diet can be the best way to enjoy those benefits. Read on to learn more about how turmeric can boost your health and wellness.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Curcumin Can Protect Against Heart Disease
Research has shown that curcumin may improve the function and health of the membrane that covers the inside of the heart and blood vessels. This membrane plays a role in regulating blood pressure and, if not functioning properly, can lead to an increased risk of developing congestive heart failure. Other studies have suggested that curcumin may help prevent artery disease due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Short-term inflammation is incredibly important because without it, pathogens could easily take over your body and harm your immune system. Short-term inflammation helps your body fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage. However, when inflammation becomes chronic it plays a major role in increasing your chance of developing heart disease, Alzehimer’s and even cancer.
Curcumin has been shown to fight inflammation and even matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs. It can repress molecules known to play major roles in inflammation.
Turmeric Can Help Prevent Cancer
One of the other big health benefits of Inflammation is linked to tumor growth, so it’s no surprise that turmeric can play a role in preventing a variety of cancer types including pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers. Turmeric has been studied extensively and research showed that turmeric may help slow the spread of tumor cells and may even prevent tumors from forming in the first place.
Turmeric Can Improve Long Term Cognitive Function
Curcumin has been studied for its potential to boost brain health by increasing and supporting healthy levels of a growth hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays a key role in long-term cognitive function. Many common brain disorders, such as depression and Alzheimer’s, have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone.
Helps Fight Against Depression
Who knew that one of the health benefits of Turmeric is that it could help fight depression? Depression is associated with low levels of BDNF in your system. Because turmeric can boost levels of BDNF it has been shown to be an effective antidepressant. In one study, 60 people diagnosed with depression were split into three groups. One group was given Prozac ( a common over-the-counter antidepressant), one group was given turmeric, and one group was given a combination of the two. After 6 weeks, the study showed that turmeric led to similar improvements as Prozac.
Combats Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is the inflammation of your joints which leads to pain and stiffness in the body. Many studies have shown that turmeric can help treat symptoms of arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, some studies have even shown curcumin being more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
Turmeric Boosts Your Body’s Natural Antioxidant Capacity
Turmeric has been shown to help fight free-radical damage and increase your body’s antioxidant capacity. This is especially beneficial for your immune system and brain function. Turmeric’s antioxidant properties also benefit your appearance by protecting the skin from free-radical damage like environmental pollutants.
Turmeric May Help Delay Aging
Turmeric and curcumin have become very popular as an anti-aging supplement. Since curcumin has been proven to help prevent Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease it may also aid in longevity, although clinical research is still being conducted to determine the effects.
Supports Skin Health
Another one of Turmeric’s many health benefits is that it is great for your skin. Turmeric contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components that can contribute to a natural glow and can help reduce inflammation of acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. The anti-inflammatory qualities in turmeric can target your pores and calm the skin. It can also prevent moisture loss and protect against wrinkles.
Aids in Weight Loss
Turmeric is not directly correlated with weight loss, but it can help you on your weight loss journey. Inflammation plays an important role in obesity, and since turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties it can suppress fat tissue growth and help promote weight loss.
One study showed that participants who were given 800 mg of a supplement that consisted of 95 percent of curcumin saw a weight loss of about 2 percent. Those numbers increased to around 5 to 6 percent after 30 more days on the same supplement.
Turmeric is a Powerful Tool to Boost Your Immune System
Cold and flu season around the corner? Make sure to drink the ultimate immune system booster: ginger, turmeric, lemon and honey tea. One of the many health benefits of turmeric is that it is a natural way to boost your immune system and fight diseases. According to a study, turmeric is a “potent immunomodulatory agent that can modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells.”
How To Add Turmeric to Your Diet
So how do you take advantage of all of the health benefits of Turmeric in your daily diet? There are a few different ways you can buy turmeric, including:
Turmeric Root: A Delicious Ingredient for Cooking
You can find turmeric as a root in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle at many grocery stores. Turmeric looks similar to ginger. To consume, scrape off the peel with a spoon before using. It can be chopped up and sautéed along side garlic and onion in a favorite dish, added to a blender for a sauce with other fresh ingredients or put into a delicious healthy smoothie for breakfast.
A Spice for Any Dish
The most common way people consume turmeric is as a spice. Look for turmeric in your spice aisle at the grocery store or look for it in the bulk spices section of a co-op or specialty store, that way you buy just as much as you’re going to use. Be aware that the taste of the spice version of Turmeric is very different than fresh Turmeric. We always recommend cooking with fresh turmeric root for the best taste in your ingredients.
You can buy turmeric in tea bag form from most grocery stores, or you can mix turmeric and other spices into warmed milk. Similar to the spice, the powdered and dried version of turmeric has a very different taste than the fresh root. For teas, you can also buy a turmeric root and slice up a piece to throw into tea for an even more deliciously flavored tea.
As a supplement
There are tons of supplements out there that include turmeric. Do your research and consult your doctor before choosing one to make sure it’s the right fit for you.
Whichever way you prefer to include turmeric into your diet is up to you. Try adding it into your smoothie, as a part of your spice rub, or to zest up homemade dressing. Many studies have been conducted that conclude turmeric has various benefits that can increase your overall health. Reap the benefits by adding turmeric into your daily diet and live a sustainable lifestyle.
Written by: Brooke Kelly