If you enjoy Indian food you are probably familiar with turmeric. Turmeric is a very popular yellow spice used in Indian cooking, it is also one of the ingredients along with, fenugreek, coriander, and cumin that make up curry powder.
But in India, and other Eastern nations that practice traditional Indian medicine, also known as Ayurveda, turmeric is not only used for its aromatic flavoring, but for its powerful curative properties. The active medical ingredient in turmeric is a compound known as curcumin.
Here are 8 surprising health benefits of turmeric.
- It Has Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Chronic inflammation has now been credited as playing a major role in the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, as well as metabolic syndrome. This is why it’s important to find various ways to naturally reduce chronic levels of inflammation. According to research published in the Alternative Medicine Review journal, scientists found that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties match the effectiveness of common anti-inflammatory drugs, yet without the risk of side effects.
- It Can Protect Your Brain Health
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a brain protein that helps to maintain brain health by increasing neurons as well as forming new connections in the brain. In fact, according to studies, high levels of BDNF have been linked to improved memory as well as a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin has been found in studies to increase the production of BDNF.
- It Can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
The endothelium is the lining of your blood vessels and any impairment associated with it results in a heightened risk of heart disease. This is because it helps to regulate blood pressure. Therefore, it’s important to maintain the functionality of the endothelial and it appears that curcumin can help to do so. According to a study published in the journal Nutrition Research, curcumin was found to be just as effective as exercise at improving endothelial function.
- It Can Reduce the Risk of Some Cancers
Over the years, curcumin has been studied as a potential tool to both reduce as well as possibly treat different forms of cancer. Various research has found that curcumin can help to kill tumor cells as well as inhibit tumor growth in a test tube and animal studies In addition, a study published in the journal Carcinogenesis found that curcumin helped to boost tumor sensitivity to chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer.
- It Can Treat Arthritis and Inflammatory Joint Disease
Arthritis involves inflammation in the joints and given curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties, it makes sense that it may help address arthritis symptoms.
A study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research gave people with rheumatoid arthritis either 500 mg of curcumin, 50 mg of diclofenac sodium (a prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), or two in combination. After eight weeks, the researchers noted that the curcumin-only group noted significant improvements in their symptoms when compared with the other two groups.
- It Can Provide Healthier Looking Skin
If your goal is to have healthier, younger-looking skin in 2020, then the secret to perfect skin lies with turmeric. As a result of its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, as well as antioxidant properties, turmeric can help to address a number of skin conditions that include eczema, acne as well as psoriasis. What’s more, turmeric also contains anti-aging properties. This is because turmeric is able to counter the aging effects that comes with sun damage.
- It May Prevent Diabetes
Because of its powerful properties to fight inflammation and improve metabolism, curcumin may help to manage as well as prevent diabetes. For instance, an animal study done on obese mice with type 2 diabetes and published in the Nutrition & Metabolism journal, found that curcumin supplements helped to lower their blood insulin levels. Also, a study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that pre-diabetic participants who took curcumin extract for 9 months did not go on to develop diabetes.
- It Can Boost Mood and Fight Depression
As mentioned, curcumin can help to boost BDNF levels. In fact, depression has been linked to reduced levels of BDNF. A study found that after a period of six weeks, daily doses of curcumin could improvement mood in depressed patients as well as antidepressants such as Prozac. Additionally, research has also suggested that curcumin can help to boost the levels of both serotonin and dopamine – brain chemicals that help to regulate your mood.
Have you, or anyone you know used turmeric or curcumin for medicienal purposes? Can you describe your experiences in the comments below?