Have you heard about the latest spice that is becoming wildly popular in the health industry? Scoot over, cinnamon. What’s up, turmeric? Like many spices, turmeric has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Aside from giving curry its vibrant yellow color, turmeric is known for its many health benefits.
Wait a minute! What is Turmeric exactly?
Turmeric, sometimes called the Indian saffron or the golden spice, is a tall plant that grows in Asia and Central America. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and has many healing properties. Unfortunately, curcumin isn’t absorbed into the bloodstream very well and having a nice curry once a month isn’t enough to get the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that our bodies need. Dana Angelo White, RD, and owner of Dana White Nutrition suggests that to reach the amounts of turmeric and curcumin shown to offer benefits in research studies, we will have to turn to supplements.
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is the body’s immune system responding to threats and irritants. It is a normal and healthy reaction of the body, however when inflammation becomes chronic and the body’s immune system hits overdrive, it can be very dangerous and cause significant damage. Studies have revealed that the curcumin in turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory properties that block the action of inflammatory molecules in the body. Turmeric has been shown to help people who suffer from auto-immune conditions, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Disease and many more.
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant
The powerful antioxidant properties of turmeric may be one of its most important advantages. Curcumin stops free radical cell damage and reduces oxidative stress. What does this mean? Curcumin has an amazing and unique ability to boost our immune system’s functioning.
Turmeric has anti-cancer effects
Many animal studies have been done to study the affect that turmeric has on cancer and they found that it influences cancer formation, growth and development. Research has also revealed that it can prevent cancer, slow the spread of cancer, make chemotherapy more effective and protect healthy cells from damage by radiation therapy.
Turmeric is a digestive aid
Turmeric is sometimes used in food, such as curry powder, to add some flavor, but turmeric is used for more than that to aid in human digestion. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties or turmeric can contribute to healthy digestion. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used as a digestive healing agent. Currently, Western medicine is researching turmeric’s contribution to gut inflammation and permeability, which are the two measures necessary for a healthy gut.
Turmeric improves skin health
Our skin is the largest organ in our body, it regulates our internal body temperature and protects us from harmful bacteria. Thanks to turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antioxidant properties it may be effective in treating acne, eczema, psoriasis and photoaging. According to a research study, turmeric is very beneficial to the healing of hyperpigmentation and it’s antioxidative properties makes a significant difference in unwanted skin conditions. The curcumin in turmeric also reduces oxidative stress associated with inflammatory conditions. Last, but not least, turmeric enhances collagen synthesis and drastically speeds up tissue healing.
Turmeric enhances brain function
Turmeric use is very popular for mental health and cognitive function. Research reveals that curcumin enhances DHA synthesis which is crucial for brain health. The antioxidants that turmeric contains can also improve cognition and increase neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to form new neural pathways).There is evidence that the curcumin in turmeric can cross the blood-brain barrier. This may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease by reducing the inflammation as well as the buildup of protein plaques in the brain. In a study curcumin was also found to be effective in the treatment of depression.
Turmeric aids in liver detoxification
The liver is basically the body’s filtration system. Research has shown that curcumin has the ability to limit the damage done to the liver by harmful substances. How? By interrupting the inflammatory pathways. It also reduces markers of injury in people who have a liver disease not caused by alcohol. According to research at the Medical University in Austria, curcumin is thought to delay liver damage that can eventually lead to cirrhosis.