“Queen of spices” is what some people have referred turmeric to as. It is a very common herb used by people around the world in their cooking. It belongs to the ginger family, and it is characterized by a sharp taste, pepper-like aroma and a golden color. It is obtained from roots of Curcuma longa plant, which are boiled, dried and later ground to form a powder. The reason why most people use it in their cooking is because of its properties which offer a lot of health benefits. Below are several health benefits where turmeric may help:
The main component found in turmeric is curcumin, which studies have shown to be capable of blocking the enzyme that enhances the growth of neck and head cancer. Turmeric appears to have the ability to prevent cancer cell growth, enhance levels of antioxidant and kill cancer cells. It also blocks tumor cells such as colon and breast carcinomas, and cell leukemia.
Turmeric helps to lower blood glucose levels and to moderate levels of insulin. It helps to improve glucose control and also intensifies diabetes medication effects. Another way in which turmeric helps in the treatment of diabetes is reversing/ reducing insulin resistance. This comes handy to prevent type-2 diabetes. It is however important to note that one may experience low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) when they take it together with strong medication. Please always consult your doctor before mixing turmeric supplements with your prescribed medications.
Dementia is mostly caused by the Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common neurodegenerative disease across the globe. It is so unfortunate that up to now, there is no cure or definite treatment for this disease. However, the good news is that the curcumin found in turmeric has been seen to cross the blood-brain barrier. Oxidative damage and inflammation have something to do with Alzheimer’s diseases, and so the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric helps to counteract this. Also, turmeric is capable of fighting protein build up tangles which seem to be a cause for Alzheimer’s disease.
Slows Down Aging
The skin can benefit a lot from turmeric’s anti-aging properties. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, a property that helps to reduce skin irritation and redness. Its antibacterial property helps with acne, blemishes and skin balance. Also, since it is not only a powerful exfoliant but also an antioxidant, it improves skin’s texture.
Improved Brain Function
Unlike in the past where people believed that after early childhood neurons were not capable of multiplying and dividing, it is now known that they actually do. When neurons multiply and divide, they form new connections in the brain. In other parts, they multiply and increase in number. This process of neuron multiplication and division is aided by a hormone referred to as Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF). This means that reduced levels of this hormone would cause brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Well, the good news is that the curcumin found in turmeric is capable of increasing the levels of BDNF, hence reversing brain age-related diseases and complications in the end.
Reduce Liver Disease
Turmeric is like a natural detoxifier of the liver. Blood is detoxified by the liver through the aid of certain enzymes. Turmeric comes handy as it increases the production of such enzymes. They help to reduce such toxins by breaking them down. In addition to helping in blood detoxification, turmeric also improves circulation of blood in the body. Improved blood circulation and detoxified blood are some of the factors which contribute to a healthier liver.
Turmeric contains components which aid in production of bile by the gallbladder. The bile enhances digestion and prevents/reduces bloating signs in turn. With its anti-inflammatory property, it can also be useful in treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis. It is important to know that taking turmeric may worsen the situation if one is suffering from any gallbladder disease. Also note that, if one is treating a digestive disease, taking it raw gives the best results.
When it comes to ideal body weight, turmeric can take you there. It increases the production of bile, which aids in the breakdown of dietary fat. If one is obese, struggling with weight or any other related complication, they can benefit from taking a tablespoon of turmeric powder each time they are having a meal.
Helps To Heal Wounds
The antibacterial and antiseptic properties in turmeric make it a good disinfectant. Sprinkling turmeric powder on a burned or wounded spot may quicken the healing and repair process.
There is a component known as lipopolysaccharide which boosts immune system. Turmeric’s antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties also come handy in boosting body immune system. If one has a strong immune system, they are less likely to have cold, flu, fever and other infections. In a case where one gets such infections, they can treat them with a glass of warm milk mixed with a tablespoon of turmeric once daily.
Reduces Levels of Cholesterol
Studies have indicated that spicing one’s food with turmeric can reduce cholesterol in one’s body. Since having high cholesterol levels in the body makes one prone to serious diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, taking turmeric can prevent all these.
Both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help to relieve arthritis. The anti-inflammatory agent helps to treat both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Its antioxidant agent helps to prevent cell damage from free radicals. Studies have found that patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis can reverse joint pains and inflammation by taking turmeric regularly.
Helps to Fight Depression
A study was conducted to determine the effect of curcumin on depression in a controlled setting. Some patients were given a combination of curcumin and Prozac, while the rest were given Prozac only. It was discovered that the ones who took the combination were better with beating depression compared to the rest. Combined Prozac and curcumin helped as an anti-depressant and did not have side-effects as other anti-depressants did.
With the above health benefits of turmeric, one can be sure that having it in their food is one of the best things they can do to their life. One can have it in their curries, smoothies, salad dressings, milk and even fried dishes. However, if one has bile obstruction or gallstones, it is not advisable to take turmeric as it may worsen the condition.