A member of the ginger family, this plant is native to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The part of the plant that is used for culinary, medicinal, and spiritual purposes are the rhizomes.
Containing a natural anti-inflammatory compound known as curcumin, there have been promising studies displaying the potential efficacy of turmeric in relation to a long list of health conditions.
Let's take a look at ten benefits of incorporating turmeric into your diet.
1. It's Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation is your body's natural response to metabolic, microbial, autoimmune, or physical transgressions. This means that it can be a pivotal aspect of your body's ability to heal itself. When inflammation becomes chronic rather than acute, though, it can lead to a long list of diseases.
Low-level, chronic inflammation plays a role in conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis occur because chronic inflammation can be destructive to the body rather than healing.
Curcumin, the anti-inflammatory chemical compound present in turmeric, has been found to be just as effective as some other anti-inflammatory medicines but without the same side effects. Known to suppress many molecules that are understood to play a vital role in inflammation, curcumin is believed to have the potential to help prevent a long list of chronic, Western diseases.
2. It Might Protect Against Heart Disease
The number one cause of death in the world is heart disease.
It is believed that curcumin could potentially reverse steps in the process of developing heart disease. One of the most promising benefits of curcumin in relation to heart disease is its ability to improve endothelium function. Since endothelium dysfunction is one of the major drivers of cardiac disease, it's believed that taking curcumin could be a step towards avoiding heart disease.
3. It Might Prevent and Maybe Even Help Treat Cancer
There are a lot of different types of cancer, but in general, it is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells. Curcumin might be able to help treat and prevent cancer.
One study found that at the molecular level, the growth, development, and spread of cancer is impacted by curcumin. Others have found that it can help to kill cancerous cells as well as reducing the spread of cancer and the appearance of new blood vessels in tumors.
4. It Might Prevent and Help to Treat Diabetes
Research on the effect of curcumin on diabetes is incomplete. Many of the studies done regarding the impact of curcumin on diabetes have only be done on animal subjects and not human subjects.
That being said, the studies that have been done have been promising. Curcumin appears to be able to improve many of the contributing factors to diabetes, including high blood sugar, hyperlipidemia, and insulin resistance.
5. It Might Help to Delay or Reverse Alzheimer's Disease
Another benefit of incorporating turmeric into your diet is that it could potentially delay or reverse Alzheimer's disease. Some studies have shown that turmeric can increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels. BDNF is a protein located in both the spinal cord and brain that plays an important part in the health of nerve cells.
Many of the studies regarding the relationship between turmeric and Alzheimer's disease have been done in mice. Researchers believe that more studies need to be done in order to confirm the efficacy of turmeric for this particular purpose.
6. It May Help to Treat Depression
Depression is associated with lower BDNF levels just like Alzheimer's disease. Researchers believe that turmeric displays promise as an anti-depressant because of its ability to raise BDNF levels.
One human study found that patients had comparable results after six weeks when given curcumin or fluoxetine (the common brand name for which is Prozac.) More studies need to be done in order to understand the potential for turmeric to treat depression, but it's promising for people that are looking for natural health solutions to mental health and mood disorders.
7. It Might Help Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder. It most commonly affects an individual's joints, but it sometimes will spread to other parts of the body such as the heart, skin, lungs, eyes, and blood vessels. People with rheumatoid arthritis experience painful joint swelling which can lead to bone erosion, deformities, and physical disabilities.
Because of turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties, it is believed that it might help improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. One study saw that a group of patients given curcumin saw significant improvements in swelling and tenderness of the joints compared to a group taking a prescription anti-inflammatory.
8. It Might Help Alleviate Osteoarthritis Symptoms
Some studies have been done that show that curcumin might be an effective and safe long-term treatment for osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis affects millions of people around the world and is the most common form of arthritis. It's caused by the cartilage around the ends of your bones wearing down and can cause damage to any joint.
9. It May Help Make Your Skin Healthier
Since turmeric has properties that are anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antimicrobial, it might be helpful in treating different skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and photoaging. There has yet to be enough research on this topic, but one study has suggested that it could be effective in treating psoriasis.
10. It Might Help Prevent Eye Degeneration
One of the leading causes of blindness in people over 60 years old is glaucoma. Some preliminary research suggests that curcumin might help prevent eye degeneration when applied topically.
How to Incorporate Turmeric Into Your Diet
Tumeric is a vital ingredient in many dishes from Asia. It's also used regularly across the Middle East and South Asia.
There are a lot of delicious and healthy ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet. Some of those include:
Adding Turmeric to Rice
The bright yellow color of turmeric can add a splash of color to a boring pot of rice. This is commonly done in South Africa and serve alongside a spiced minced meat and egg dish known as bobotie.
Adding it to Roasted Vegetables
Turmeric has a peppery and warm flavor that compliments vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, and root vegetables in general. Mix turmeric with olive oil, cumin, ginger, and black pepper. You can then pour this mixture over vegetables before roasting at 400 degrees.
Adding it to Frittatas and Egg Scrambles
If you're looking for a way to incorporate turmeric without being overpowered by the flavor, try adding it to an egg dish. The color and the flavor will be subtle, so your kids might not be so bothered by it.
Sauteeing it With Greens
Eating dark leafy greens is an essential part of a healthy diet. Try adding some turmeric to braised or sauteed greens like collards, kale, swiss chard, or cabbage.
Throwing Some into Smoothies
You can use the fresh root or the ground spice in smoothies. This is another great way to mask the taste if you or your family members find it to be too strong.
Using it in Soups
Turmeric can add a wonderfully comforting and warm flavor to soups. Consider adding some to chicken soup or vegetable soup. You can make a delicious carrot, ginger, and turmeric soup as well, which is perfect for a cold winter night.
One common way of ingesting turmeric is by making golden tea. You can make golden tea by heating milk on your stove and stirring in turmeric, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and honey. If you're eating a dairy-free diet, you can use a dairy-free milk substitute.
Remember, whenever you're incorporating turmeric into your diet in order to gain its health benefits, you should also add some black pepper. This is because the bioactive compound known as piperine in black pepper enhances your body's absorption of curcumin by up to 2000%.
Turmeric is also fat-soluble. This means that ingesting turmeric along with fats might also make curcumin more bioavailable.
Incorporating Turmeric Into Your Diet Might Help Prevent and Treat a Long List of Health Conditions
There is still a lot of research to be conducted regarding the efficacy of curcumin in treating a variety of long-term health conditions. However, there is evidence to suggest that incorporating turmeric into your diet is good for your overall health. The absence of negative turmeric side effects makes it one of the promising natural remedy.
Are you looking for natural health solutions? Check out our Numedica products.
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
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The average American eats just under two cups of dairy products every day. But you're not the average American.
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