Turmeric has numerous benefits for both your body and brain. Curcumin, which gives turmeric its characteristic yellow color, is responsible for the majority of its health benefits.
Numerous preclinical trials have shown promising effects of curcumin in the treatment of heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, gastrointestinal disorders and metabolic syndrome. This is due to curcumin’s powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
What are the potential health benefits of turmeric?
When consumed in moderation, turmeric can have significant health benefits:
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can be as effective as anti-inflammatory medications but without the side effects. It can help to reduce chronic inflammation in joints and wounds, alleviating swelling, pain and discomfort. Because inflammation is often at the root of certain chronic diseases, turmeric can be used to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis.
- Pain relief: Curcumin can reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain, as well as gastrointestinal pain associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
- Antioxidant properties: Turmeric has strong antioxidant properties and protects the body from the free radicals that damage healthy cells. It can combat aging and boost metabolism, as well as reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration (age-related eye changes).
- Immunity booster: Turmeric’s natural antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties help stimulate the immune system and protect the body from infection.
- Reduces cancer risk: Research has shown that turmeric can destroy cancerous cells, interfering with the growth, development and spread of cancer at a molecular level. Turmeric may especially play a vital role in treating and preventing cancers of the digestive system, such as colorectal cancer. It can also help counteract the effects of carcinogenic additives in processed food.
- Lowers heart disease risk: The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin may prevent heart diseases and cardiovascular complications. Curcumin also reduces low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or bad cholesterol, preventing atherosclerosis.
- Diabetes prevention: Curcumin delays the onset of type 2 diabetes. Turmeric supplements taken along with metformin may help people with type 2 diabetes stabilize their blood sugar levels.
- Alzheimer’s disease prevention: Curcumin clears the buildup of protein tangles in the brain called amyloid plaques, which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Reduces depression: Curcumin boosts levels of neurotrophic factors in the brain, as well as neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, all of which can help people with symptoms of depression.
- Aids digestion: Turmeric stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, making the digestive system more efficient. Turmeric also aids enzymatic reactions, acid production and optimal absorption of nutrients in the gut and can reduce bloating.
- Liver detox: Turmeric can increase the production of vital enzymes that help in breaking down and removing toxins in the liver. Turmeric also promotes good liver health by improving blood circulation.
- Improves bone health: Curcumin supplements can help improve joint function, prevent bone loss and preserve bone tissue.
- Promotes good skin: Because of its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, turmeric may help to:
Turmeric does not absorb into the body easily when taken alone. So in order to achieve maximum health benefits, turmeric should be consumed with black pepper, which contains a compound called piperine that boosts the absorption of turmeric in the body. Cooking turmeric with oil also helps the body absorb more curcumin.
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