Not familiar with turmeric? Even if you don't have a jar of this spice in your cupboard, chances are you already know it. It's what gives mustard and curry their vibrant color. While a great addition to foods that need that golden hue, turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties that benefit your health. We want to reveal all about the qualities of turmeric: benefits, where to find it and nutritional values.
Turmeric: benefits and what it is
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of the curcuma longa plant, a perennial plant of the ginger family. Its main active ingredient is curcumin. The treasure of turmeric lies in the benefits of curcumin. Curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers are studying whether it can help diseases in which inflammation plays a role – from arthritis to ulcerative colitis.
For chronic conditions where inflammation begins to affect body tissues, taking turmeric may be beneficial.
In one study of ulcerative colitis patients, those who took 2 grams of curcumin per day along with prescription medications were more likely to remain in remission than those who took the medicine alone.
Another clinical study showed that 90 milligrams of curcumin taken twice daily for 18 months helped improve memory performance in adults without dementia.
Turmeric also has deep roots in both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda for the treatment of arthritis. Research suggests that taking turmeric extract could potentially reduce osteoarthritis pain. But further studies are still needed on this aspect.
Fights free radicals
Turmeric has antioxidant properties and a study shows it can protect the body from free radicals by neutralizing them.
Another study suggests that turmeric's antioxidant effects may also stimulate the action of other antioxidants.
Lowers the risk of heart disease
With its ability to help reduce inflammation and oxidation, turmeric could lower the risk of heart disease.
Studies show that turmeric can help reverse the process of heart disease. In healthy middle-aged and older adults who took curcumin supplements for 12 weeks, the production of resistance artery endothelium — which plays a significant role in high blood pressure — was increased.
Another study followed 121 people who had undergone coronary bypass surgery. A few days before and after surgery, the group who took 4 grams of curcumin per day saw a 65% reduced risk of having a heart attack in the hospital.
Turmeric may also be beneficial when used alongside medications to manage cholesterol levels. Research shows that curcumin is safe and may protect those at risk of heart disease by lowering certain cholesterol levels. But, still more studies are needed to see how effective and which type is.
Helps fight depression
If you have depression, the protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) shrinks and the hippocampus, which helps with learning and memory, begins to shrink. One study shows that curcumin can increase BDNF levels and can reverse the changes.
Another study shows that curcumin was as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac) at reducing symptoms of depression. Additionally, curcumin may also increase levels of serotonin and dopamine — which are chemicals in the brain that regulate mood and other body functions.
Helps prevent cancer
Curcumin can influence the growth and development of cancer according to some studies.
One study, which focused on colorectal cancer, saw 40% reduce the number of lesions in the colon in men.
Nutritional values of turmeric
While doctors commonly recommend taking 500 milligrams twice daily with food, the right dose for you depends on your overall health. More isn't always better, so talk to your doctor. For optimal absorption, it would be wise to try taking it with heart healthy fats such as oils, avocados, nuts and seeds. In conclusion, the risk of side effects is low and drug interactions are unlikely.
In short, many advantages and few contraindications: and you, what are you waiting for?