Turmeric is a herb you often find in Indian cuisine or sprinkled into Frittatas (if not, seriously try it. It gives them a lovely extra kick) due to its pepper-like aroma, sharp taste and golden color. But, Curcuma longa, as is its latin name, or the 'Queen of Spices', as it has been dubbed, has far more benefits than just being a tasty topping of meals.
Loaded with healthy vitamins and nutrients, such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc, Turmeric can be used to help prevent various illnesses and live a healthier lifestyle. Here we look at 10 health benefits of the wonder herb.
1. Cancer Prevention
The active ingredient in Turmeric is a thing called Curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant, making it one of the best protectors against radiation-induced tumors. It has been shown to stop the growth of existing prostate cancer and even destroy the cancerous cells in some cases.
It can also have a preventive effect against tumor cells such as T-cell leukemia, colon carcinomas and breast carcinomas.
2. Arthritis Relief
The anti-inflammatory properties of Curcumin can great for treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as it reduces swelling in between the joints. The anti-oxidant property also destroys free radicals which can damage body cells. It has been found that those who suffer rheumatoid arthritis who regularly consume turmeric can experience better levels of relief from their pain.
Joint pains and joint inflammations can be lessened to make them more bearable.
3. Control Diabetes
Turmeric can be used to control diabetes as it moderate insulin levels and is effective in helping reduce insulin resistance, which means that it can help prevent the onset of Type-2 diabetes. It is important, however, to be careful if considering taking Turmeric capsules and it is best to always consult a healthcare professional first.
Turmeric improves glucose control and has been known to increase the effect of medications used to treat diabetes but, when taken with stronger medications, it can cause low blood sugar and so making sure you have consulted a physician is vital.
4. Can Help Reduce Cholesterol
A high cholesterol level can lead to other health problems as it can mean that the fat in your blood stream clogs up arteries and contribute to many cardiovascular diseases. Turmeric helps with maintaining these levels and is so effective in doing so that it has been found that just using it as a food seasoning can reduce serum cholesterol levels.
Maintaining a healthy cholesterol is important and takes more than just eating Turmeric every now and then. A healthy lifestyle and exercise are contributing factors to this.
5. Boosts Your Immune System
Lipopolysaccharide is a substance that can be found in turmeric and it has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents that all help boost the immune system which means the likelihood of contracting airborne virus such as colds, flu and coughs become significantly lessened.
If you do contract a cold or flu, mixing in a teaspoonful of turmeric into hot milk and drinking it once daily will help you feel better and aid in your recovery time.
6. Heals Wounds
A natural antiseptic and antibacterial, turmeric can actually be used as a very effective disinfectant and can be sprinkled on cuts and scrapes to help aid in the recovery and healing process, although it may sting a little if you do opt for this treatment.
It can also be used to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and to repair damaged skin.
7. Managing Weight
Managing your weight effectively takes more than just a quick fix and needs to incorporate healthy eating habits with exercise and dietary restraint. Turmeric can, however, help you out with weight management as it helps increase the flow of bile, an important component in the breakdown of dietary fat.
Those wishing to lose weight can benefit from having a teaspoonful of turmeric powder with each meal.
8. Prevention Of Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease is one that often strikes in older age and is the deterioration of brain function that affects memory and motor skills and brain inflammation is one of the leading causes of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Turmeric helps aid in the natural removal of plaque build-up on the brain.
This means that the flow of oxygen to the brain is improved and can help prevent or slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease.
9.Prevent Liver Disease
The liver detoxifies the blood in the body by producing enzymes that help break down harmful toxins and help reduce them in the body. Tumeric increase blood circulation, meaning that these toxins get pumped out sooner, as well as aiding in the production of these detoxifying enzymes.
These factors all contribute to good liver health and help maintain a decent lifestyle. Given all of these benefits, it may well be worth considering adding more turmeric into your diet.
10. Aid Digestion
As previously mentioned, turmeric aids and increases the production of bile which aids in the breakdown of dietary fat and reduces symptoms like bloating and gas and it is best to take turmeric in raw form if suffering from digestive problems but if suffering forms of gallbladder disease, it is best to consult a doctor as dietary supplements may worsen the condition.
The herb can also aid in treating most forms of inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis.