Do you know what the benefits of turmeric are?
Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence. Turmeric benefits for your body and brain have been demonstrated through a number of high-quality studies conducted all over the world. Turmeric has taken the world by storm. It has wormed its way into all of your favourite dishes.
Lattes evolved into delicious turmeric lattes. Brunch now includes a delightful turmeric poached egg. Along with hight quality turmeric supplements and turmeric tablets, its part of your smoothies and chocolate bars too.
So we know that it’s delicious and beautiful, but
is turmeric healthy?
It’s been long used in Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Turmeric has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine to treat health problems like pain and fatigue.
Given its superfood status of late, people have started using turmeric as a modern-day natural medicine for reducing inflammation and treating disease.
Turmeric has definitely grown in popularity and for good reason. In short, turmeric is a hot commodity – and if it’s not for you yet, we’re going to tell you why it should be!
Turmeric is commonly grown in India and other Southeast Asian countries.The most active substance in turmeric is curcumin.
Curcumin qualifies turmeric to be a “functional food”, which recognises its benefits for the health to be beyond basic nutrition. However, it makes up only about 5% of the spice, according to an article published in January 2017 in the journal of medicinal chemistry.
Turmeric also contains proteins and significant amounts of iron, which make it an extremely important part of your diet.
So what are people saying about the benefits of turmeric?
Turmeric Could Boost Immunity
The ability of an organism to resist a particular infection or toxin by the action of specific antibodies or sensitised white blood cells.Our body is protected from various infections and toxins by specific antibodies or white cells. White cells are the true knight in shining armour that come to our rescue time and again. They are the first line of defence against any foreign contaminants that might enter our system.
According to NDTV Food:
"Most curcumin in food or supplements stays in the gastrointestinal tract, and any portion that's absorbed is metabolised quickly. Nicholas Young, a postdoctoral researcher in rheumatology and immunology at Ohio State and lead author of the study set out to investigate whether enabling widespread availability of curcumin's biological effects to the entire body could make it useful both therapeutically and as a daily supplement to combat disease.’NDTV Foods further states that according to Nicholas, "This study suggests that we have identified a better and more effective way to deliver curcumin and know what diseases to use it for so that we can take advantage of its anti-inflammatory power." In the study, curcumin powder was mixed with castor oil and polyethylene glycol in a process called nano-emulsion, creating fluid teeming with microvesicles that contain curcumin. This process allows the compound to dissolve and be more easily absorbed by the gut to enter the bloodstream and tissues.Researchers tested their theory on mice and found that curcumin stops recruitment of specific immune cells that, when overactive, are linked to such problems as heart disease and obesity. The study also found that nano-emulsified curcumin halted the recruitment of immune cells called macrophages that "eat" invading pathogens but also contribute to inflammation by secreting pro-inflammatory chemicals.Researchers found that in cells isolated from human blood samples, macrophages were stopped in their tracks. According to Young, "This macrophage-specific effect of curcumin had not been described before. Because of that finding, we propose nano-emulsified curcumin has the best potential against macrophage-associated inflammation."
Others seem to agree:
"Studies continue to reveal new sides of its mode of action and its interaction with the immune system is emerging as an important contributor to its anti-cancer properties. The need for tumour cells to avoid the immune system during successful tumour progression in the body is now considered to be a new hallmark of cancer. Various studies in the past decade have gradually established curcumin as a potent immune-modulator. Although some reports have suggested a general immunosuppressive role of curcumin and its ability to reduce cell proliferation in immune cell in isolation; specific reports suggest that curcumin boosts anti-tumour immunity through various mechanisms, as discussed in this review. Thus modulation of the immune system seems to be another important strategy by which curcumin counteracts cancer development. This further asserts its effectiveness as an anti-cancer agent and points out the need to develop it as an adjuvant chemotherapeutic agent. This necessitates the development of nano-based strategies for proper delivery and increased bioavailability of curcumin, which may finally lead to its use as a proper chemotherapeutic agent."
Turmeric Could Help To Balance Hormone Levels
"Antioxidants are key to the topic of cancer resistance. With more than 100 types of cancer affecting an alarming percentage of the population every year, the American Cancer Society estimates one out of every four deaths can be attributed to this disease.
Pharmaceutical companies promote chemotherapy products that can be effective but have debilitating side effects, so the natural remedies community has studied natural alternatives that can prevent the development of cancer and potentially even kill cancerous cells completely.
Among its many benefits, Turmeric has been one of the natural remedies studied and has produced nearly miraculous results.Combating chronic inflammation, a known contributing factor to the development of cancer, turmeric promotes the body’s ability to fight the spread of cancerous cells. Its potent antioxidants support the body’s natural immunity to oxidative changes—changes that can cause cancer to develop and progress.
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has worked extensively to study the effects of turmeric on cancer development and has deemed it to be “one of the most effective cancer combatants,” as reported in Clinical Cancer Research.
With the simple addition of 1 tablespoon of turmeric per day, you can naturally and effectively help to keep your body and mind clear of cancer."
Turmeric Could Prevent Hair Loss
"Hair loss can almost always be attributed to a nutritional deficiency. Whether the deficiency is due to a poor diet, lifestyle choices, or hereditary conditions, the failure of the body to absorb and utilise essential nutrients can adversely affect multiple physical processes, including the production and retention of hair.
The hair follicles can be compromised, leading to a minimal production of new hair growth and inability to retain existing hair. Over-the-counter products that promise to prevent hair loss often include harsh chemicals and synthetic additives that can agitate the skin and inhibit the healthy, natural retention of hair.
Surprisingly, using turmeric is one of the natural approaches to preventing hair loss.Because it contains a number of nutrients that help the skin achieve an optimal level of health, turmeric extract and supplements can be used in both internal and external applications to ensure the scalp remains healthy and hair continues to grow.
Fighting free-radical damage that can leave the scalp riddled with health issues, turmeric’s beneficial polyphenols help to counteract the health issues and conditions that can cause hair loss."
Turmeric Could Encourage Proper Digestion
"One way that turmeric benefits the body is by aiding the digestive system. Your digestive system consists of multiple parts that work together to move and process the food you eat. From the saliva in the mouth (which starts the dissolution of food) to the muscle movements of the esophagus (which pull food into the intestines) to the release of bile by the gallbladder (which breaks down food), digestion is an intricate process.
Because there are so many organs and functions involved in digestion, the process can easily be disrupted, especially if you don’t get enough of the vitamins and minerals that are necessary to support those organs and their functions. The enzymes, acids, and excretions that are needed for digestion to be performed properly are only produced when adequate amounts of the nutrients they depend on are provided in the diet.
Since most people find it difficult to adhere to a squeaky-clean diet of whole fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and grains to ensure maximum nutrient availability, you will be happy to discover that turmeric can help.With turmeric’s assortment of fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds, it can deliver the precise nutrition the digestive system needs to support enzymatic reactions, acid production, muscle movement, and optimal nutrient absorption.
Just add 1 tablespoon of grated, powdered, or liquid turmeric extract to one of your dishes every day. All of turmeric’s benefits combine to create the perfect digestive system elements that promote optimal (and regular!) digestion each and every day!"
Turmeric Could Cleanse The Liver
"Your liver is tasked with the difficult job of cleansing your body’s fluids of toxins, pollutants, and irritants. The liver therefore plays a major role in maintaining the body’s immunity and its ability to fight infection and preserve overall health.
If the liver itself is compromised with toxins derived from the diet, environment, or lifestyle choices, it functions poorly, and that can lead to catastrophic consequences that can adversely affect your body and mind. With a focus on healthy living and by taking advantage of turmeric’s many benefits, anyone can reverse damage done to the liver, improving its health and productivity.
According to Conscious Lifestyle Magazine with a fully functioning, healthy liver, the body and mind can thrive, free of oxidative properties and free radicals that can run rampant, killing or mutating cells throughout the body. (Oxidation is a process that produces harmful and potentially dangerous “free radicals” that can move throughout the body via the bloodstream and tissues, causing potentially harmful changes to cells.)
Turmeric’s cleansing phytochemicals, including curcumin, act as powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, protecting and cleansing the liver and the entire body!"
Turmeric Could Promote Fat Loss
"All of these benefits lead to increased fat burn, as verified in a Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry article in 2015! You can be sure your systems are optimised by incorporating turmeric into your day. With turmeric’s blend of vital vitamins, miraculous minerals, and potent phytochemicals, the body’s natural processes involved in fat burning are supported and optimised.
Turmeric tastes great in teas, smoothies, snacks, and meals, so it’s a very versatile and delicious ingredient that can maximise flavour and fuel fat burn. So, if you’re hoping to lose fat without the pills, potions, and products that promise but don’t deliver, opt instead for the natural doses of turmeric and its associated health benefits that can help you lose fat fast and healthfully!"
Turmeric Could Lower Cholesterol
"Turmeric seems to lower levels of blood fats called triglycerides."
Turmeric Could Aid
According to WebMD, research shows that taking turmeric extract daily for 7 days before a menstrual period and continuing for 3 days after the period ends improves pain, mood, and behaviour in women with PMS.
Turmeric Could Aid Osteoarthritis
"Some research shows that taking turmeric extracts, alone or in combination with other herbal ingredients, can reduce pain and improve function in people with knee osteoarthritis. In some research, turmeric worked about as well as ibuprofen for reducing osteoarthritis pain."
Turmeric Could Help With
"Research suggests that taking turmeric by mouth three times daily for 8 weeks reduces itching in people with long-term kidney disease. Also, early research suggests that taking a specific combination product (C3 Complex, Sami Labs LTD) containing curcumin plus black pepper or long pepper daily for 4 weeks reduces itching severity and improves quality of life in people with chronic itching caused by mustard gas."
Turmeric Could Assist Inflammatory Bowel Disease (ulcerative colitis)
According to WebMD, some research shows that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, by mouth or as an enema, along with conventional treatments, improves symptoms and increases the number of people who go into remission. For people already in remission, turmeric increases the likelihood of staying in remission when used in combination with conventional treatments.
Turmeric Could Improve Your Mood
"A study conducted on 30 participants, administered a standard cognitive test at the beginning of the trial and then repeated the process every 6 months.At study baseline, all participants underwent standard cognitive tests, and these were repeated every 6 months throughout the study, as well as at the end of the study.The 15 subjects who received curcumin had additional PET scans of their brains at the beginning and the end of the study.Additionally, 30 of the subjects — 15 of whom who were receiving curcumin — had positron emission tomography (PET) scans of their brain at the beginning and end of the study.
These scans were taken to assess the levels of the beta-amyloid and tau, two proteins that are considered the hallmark of Alzheimers disease. The levels of these proteins is known to rise 15 years before the onset of alzheimers symptoms. Hence observing these proteins could give an early warning of the incoming disease.
Results revealed that the subjects who took curcumin twice daily demonstrated a 28 percent improvement in memory tests over the course of the study, while those who took the placebo showed no significant memory improvements.Subjects who received curcumin also experienced slight improvements in mood, unlike those who took the placebo.What is more, participants who took curcumin also had lower levels of beta-amyloid and tau in the hypothalamus and amygdala brain regions, which are regions that play key roles in memory and emotion.
"These results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years."Dr. Gary Small, first author"
- Boosts stress tolerance
If you feel stressed, adaptogens should be your new best friend! In herbal medicine, some botanicals are termed “adaptogens”, which means they have the ability to modulate the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. This can help you adapt better to physical and emotional stress and be more resilient to anything that comes your way. They also help to keep your hormones balanced.
The curcumin in turmeric is a known adaptogen that has the ability to decrease the secretion of stress hormones in the body (17). In 2011, researchers in India found that turmeric had several adaptogenic properties that help with body weight, memory, blood sugar, and moreover that it helps the body maintain healthy stress hormone levels (18).
- Has powerful medicinal properties-
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color.
It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb.
Recently, science has started to back up what Indians have known for a long time — it really does contain compounds with medicinal properties (1).
These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high. It’s around 3%, by weight (2).
Most of the studies on this herb are using turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day.
It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in your foods.
Therefore, if you want to experience the full effects, you need to take a supplement that contains significant amounts of curcumin.
Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000% (3).
The best curcumin supplements contain piperine, substantially increasing their effectiveness.
Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.
SUMMARYTurmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Most studies used turmeric extracts that are standardized to include large amounts of curcumin.
- Improved brain function and lower risk of brain disease-
Back in the day, it was believed that neurons weren't able to divide and multiply after early childhood.
However, it’s now known that this does happen.
Neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in certain areas of the brain they can also multiply and increase in number.
One of the main drivers of this process is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain (20).
By doing this, it may be effective in delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function (25).
SUMMARYCurcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in your brain.
- Lower risk of heart disease
Researchers have studied it for many decades and learned a lot about why it happens.
Unsurprisingly, heart disease is incredibly complicated and various things contribute to it.
Curcumin may help reverse many steps in the heart disease process.
Perhaps the main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of your blood vessels.
It’s well known that endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of your endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors (29).
Several studies suggest that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function. One study found that it’s as effective as exercise while another shows that it works as well as the drug Atorvastatin (30, 31).
In addition, curcumin reduces inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above), which play a role in heart disease as well.
One study randomly assigned 121 people, who were undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, either a placebo or 4 grams of curcumin per day, a few days before and after the surgery.
The curcumin group had a 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack in the hospital (32).
SUMMARYCurcumin has beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease. It improves the function of the endothelium and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.
- Help prevent or treat cancer
Cancer is a terrible disease, characterized by uncontrolled cell growth.
There are many different forms of cancer, which still have several things in common. Some of them appear to be affected by curcumin supplements (33).
Curcumin has been studied as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment and been found to affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level (34).
Studies have shown that it can contribute to the death of cancerous cells and reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and metastasis (spread of cancer) (35).
Whether high-dose curcumin (preferably with an absorption enhancer like piperine) can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be studied properly.
However, there is evidence that it may prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system like colorectal cancer.
In a 30-day study in 44 men with lesions in the colon that sometimes turn cancerous, 4 grams of curcumin per day reduced the number of lesions by 40% (38).
Maybe curcumin will be used along with conventional cancer treatment one day. It's too early to say for sure, but it looks promising and is being intensively studied.
SUMMARYCurcumin leads to several changes on the molecular level that may help prevent and perhaps even treat cancer.
- Preventing and treating depression
Curcumin has shown some promise in treating depression.
In a controlled trial, 60 people with depression were randomized into three groups (45).
One group took Prozac, another group one gram of curcumin and the third group both Prozac and curcumin.
After 6 weeks, curcumin had led to improvements that were similar to Prozac. The group that took both Prozac and curcumin fared best (45).
According to this small study, curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant.
Depression is also linked to reduced levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory.
Curcumin boosts BDNF levels, potentially reversing some of these changes (46).
SUMMARYA study in 60 people with depression showed that curcumin was as effective as Prozac in alleviating symptoms of the condition.
- Arthritis patients respond very well to curcumin supplements
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries.
There are several different types, most of which involve inflammation in the joints.
Given that curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory compound, it makes sense that it may help with arthritis.
Several studies show this to be true.
In a study in people with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug (42).Arthritis is a common disorder characterised by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.