Turmeric is widely known as a very tasty and flavorful Indian spice. It is used in dishes such as curries, fried rice and other Indian dishes. However, what most do not realize, is that Turmeric is a super food (or should I say super spice). For thousands of years, the Indian people have been using it in their traditional medicine particularly in Ayurvedic medicine – the 5,000 year old Indian system of natural healing.
Turmeric, particularly it’s main active ingredient, curcumin may be one of the most effective and healthy natural supplement around. It is also has a long established safety record and no side effects according to a report published by the Department of Nutrition, Central Michigan University. Science is just now beginning to appreciate and discover the health benefits of this super food.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of Turmeric backed by research:
1. Turmeric can help in preventing and lessening the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects about 7% of the working population in the US according to Center for Disease Control of CDC. It is a common but painful condition wherein some of the nerves in the wrist are compressed or damaged. Common treatment involves anti-inflammatory drugs and splinting the wrist.
However, in a study done by the Neurosurgery Department, Di Venere Hospital, in Italy, it was found out that the anti inflammatory properties of curcumin, Turmeric’s active ingredient, can help relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel sufferers. There is this product in Amazon that contains turmeric extract that may help with carpal tunnel or at the very least reduce its symptoms.
2. Positive effects for depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety affects 16 million Americans every year. Anyone can get depression and anxiety in any stage of their lives.
The good news is, curcumin shows a lot of promise in treating this debilitating condition. In a small scale study done by the Department of Pharmacology of the Government Medical College in India, showed that administration of curcumin showed antidepressant like results similar to Prozac (fluoxetine).
3. Help arthritis sufferers
Arthritis is chronic disease that affects the joints and is prevalent in the United States. According to the CDC, within 10 years of the disease about 50% of sufferers in developed countries will be unable to hold down a full-time job because of this condition.
As mentioned before, turmeric can help reduce inflammation. Most types of arthritis are characterized by inflammation of joints. In an article published by Arthritis.org, turmeric can reduce swelling and inflammation among arthritis sufferers. One turmeric based product in Amazon like this one here, contains bioperine and help maximize anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric especially for support and pain relief of joints.
4. Turmeric can help Treat (or at least prevent) Cancer – antioxidant capacity
Cancer is one of the deadliest disease humankind has encountered. We need to continuously look for ways to rid of this disease that claims more than 1,700 people daily in the US according to Cancer.org.
One of the ways we can prevent and treat cancer is with antioxidants. These are substances in both our bodies and the food we eat that help us fight cancer cells.
The super food Turmeric is rich in antioxidants according to a research paper by Annamalai University in India. It was mentioned in the paper that “The desirable preventive or putative therapeutic properties of curcumin have also been considered to be associated with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties… curcumin is thought to play a vital role against these pathological conditions.”
5. It can help reduce risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death according to medicalnewstoday.com. One in every five deaths in the US is linked to heart disease.
They always say prevention is better than cure. I think this is especially true for heart disease. One of the ways to prevent heart disease is by consumption of turmeric. Of course exercise and proper diet is still fundamental in preventing heart disease. Several studies suggest that curcumin improves the function of the interior lining of the blood vessels, including the ones surrounding the heart.
6. Turmeric can help boost brain and cognitive function
Most of us are looking for “the limitless pill” a substance that greatly improves our brain and let’s us do all things and reach our full potential. Sadly, this is only limited to fiction.
However, there are an abundant supply of substances provided by mother nature to help us improve our brain health. These include, omega 3 and 6 in fish oils and even caffeine in our coffee. Recently, another one of these “nootrophics” are being noticed by science.
In a study conducted by UCLA, daily consumption of curcumin supplements improved not only their cognitive capacities but also their brain cells as well.
7. Non inflammatory benefit
Inflammation is one of our bodies natural defenses to fight pathogens and reduce risk of infection. It is also one of our bodies’ first step in healing itself. However, some type of chronic inflammation is one of causes of disease like cancer, heart disease and even some types of degenerative conditions.
Reducing chronic inflammation may also reduce the risks of having these diseases. Again, turmeric shows promise. In a research done by the University of California in San Francisco, curcumin has been observed to have significant anti-inflammatory properties during the course of these studies.
Lowering one’s bad cholesterol may just be stored in your spice rack. Again, curcumin has been proven to help reduce LDL cholesterol or the “bad cholesterol”.
In a research published by in Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 500 mg of curcumin capsules per day for just a week, can decrease LDL cholesterol by 33% and increase good cholesterol by 29%.
9. Helps prevent acne
Acne can be a bother and a confidence killer. Acne and pimples are cause by bacteria and clogged pores or hair follicles. Bacteria sometimes thrives on our skin due to over production of our sebaceous glands or oil glands. There many over the counter products to help prevent and treat acne. However, the cure may already be part of your spice rack.
In a study conducted by the Drexel University in Philadelphia, turmeric has shown to significantly improve acne along with other skin condition such atopic dermatitis,psoriasis and even alopecia.
Creams and face masks wit turmeric are widely available online to help with these confidence killing skin conditions.
10. Turmeric is beneficial for achieving longevity
It is part of human nature to age. Our DNA is somehow programmed to cause our biological system to slowly fail. We are slowly unraveling the reason why this happens. Turmeric has been known to slow down this process and more. This health benefit of turmeric is already known by people of India for hundreds of years.
A study done by Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology in Warsaw, Poland supports this. In the study, the turmeric’s anti inflammatory and anti oxidant properties significantly slows down the ageing process. Sveral studies also support this claim. Turmeric is already known to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases.
In a Nutshell
Tumeric may be the super food that we are waiting for. There are plenty of ways to consume and get the most out of turmeric fresh, brewed and even as a turmeric latte! It can be consumed fresh and on its own and capsules with black pepper to maximize it’s effect are also popular like this one on Amazon and as simple as including it in our meals.
More and more studies are being done on this nature’s panacea. Turmeric’s health benefits has been know to many Asian countries for a long time. Only now science is beginning to unravel how it achieves these benefits. The good news is, getting these gifts may just be lying in your spice rack.