Turmeric ( scientific name – Curcuma longa) is a yellow colored Indian spice which belongs to the ginger family and is a native to southwest India. It is added to food to give a yellow color to food (vegetable curry) but the benefits of turmeric are not just limited to color and there are many other benefits of turmeric. Turmeric is antibacterial, antifungal,antiseptic in nature and there are many other qualities associated with turmeric and because of all these qualities, turmeric is in use for medicinal purposes from ancient time ( 3000 B.C ). In this article, we will know about major health benefits of turmeric, but it is also important to note that benefits of turmeric are not just limited to health and there are also some beauty benefits of turmeric
Nutrition Chart of Turmeric
All the health benefits of turmeric are because of the nutrients present in it. Take a look at the below-mentioned chart to know about all the major nutrients present in turmeric, and then we will move forward to know about health benefits of turmeric.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
(1) Turmeric Helps In Preventing Cancer
Cancer is a deadly disease from which millions of people suffer all over the world, and many of these patients lose their battle to cancer and die. As per a report, around 589,430 people died in 2015 because of cancer, and this figure is just of United States. As we all know that prevention is better than cure, so we all should do our best to prevent our self from cancer and turmeric can help you in doing so.
Turmeric is very effective in preventing various types of cancers like colon cancer, skin cancer, and prostate cancer because of the presence of compounds like curcumin in it. These compounds make turmeric beneficial in cancer, not only for preventing cancer but also in stopping the growth of existing prostate cancer cells and in destroying cancer cells.
Other than this, turmeric is also good in protecting our body from radiation-induced tumors and prevents us from tumor cells like T-cell Leukemia, Colon carcinomas, and Breast carcinomas.
As per the study was done by the doctors of UCLA department of Head and Neck surgery, it was found that presence of curcumin in turmeric also block an enzyme that promotes head and neck cancer. In this study, 21 people suffering from head and neck cancers were given two tablets (containing 1000 milligrams of curcumin) to chew and it was found that curcumin inhibited the presence of cancer-promoting enzymes in the mouth of patients, and stopped the advancement of cancer in the patients who had gone through the test.
Other than the curcumin, the presence of a large number of antioxidants in turmeric also plays a big role in preventing various types of cancer as the antioxidants present in turmeric fights with the free radicals of our body and stabilizes them, and in this way prevents them from damaging our body cells which can cause cancer.
( 2) Turmeric Provides Relief From Arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Arthritis.
Joint problems like arthritis, osteoarthritis, and arthritis can be very painful and make normal activities like sitting, standing and walking difficult. Turmeric can help in providing relief from arthritis and other joint problems because of the anti- inflammatory properties of turmeric. The presence of anti-inflammatory compounds in turmeric helps in reducing the inflammation of joints in the patient suffering from arthritis, and thus provides relief from the pain.
Other than this, turmeric is also rich in antioxidants that fight with the free radicals of our body and prevents our joints from the free radical damage and helps in providing relief from rheumatoid arthritis.
Some studies have also found that taking turmeric extract can provide as much relief from osteoarthritis pain as provided by the pain killers like Ibuprofen.
(3) Turmeric Helps In Controlling Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease of modern lifestyle and as per a WHO report of 2014, there are around 347 million people suffering from diabetes worldwide, and this deadly disease is predicted to become the 7th main cause of death in the world ( by the year 2030 ). In 2012, diabetes was the direct reason behind the death of 1.5 million diabetic patients. No doubt, diabetes is a deadly disease and if you are suffering from diabetes then you should do your best to keep your diabetes under control.
When it comes to keeping diabetes under control, turmeric can help a lot as it can be used for the treatment of diabetes by helping in moderating the insulin levels of our body. It also controls glucose level and increases the effect of diabetes medications in controlling diabetes.
Other than this, turmeric is also effective in reducing insulin resistance and may prevent the onset of Type-2 diabetes. One point to remember here is that turmeric combined with stronger medications for diabetes can reduce the blood sugar level to a very low level and cause hypoglycemia. For this reason, it is better to consult a doctor taking turmeric supplements ( like extract or capsules ) along with your regular diabetes medications.
Some earlier studies also suggested that daily intake of turmeric can help in lowering down the risk of developing diabetes.
(4) Turmeric As An Anti-Inflammatory Compound
The majority of us believe that inflammation is bad for our health, but that’s not the case in reality. In fact, inflammation is good and incredibly important for keeping us healthy as it helps the body to fight the foreign invaders and also plays a significant role in repairing damaged cells. Without inflammation, pathogens like bacteria and viruses can even kill us by destroying our body cells. Inflammation turns into a problem when it changes from acute ( short-term ) inflammation to chronic ( long-term ) inflammation. Chronic inflammation is one of the main reasons behind various health problems like heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.
Turmeric is a very strong and natural anti-inflammatory substance can help in controlling inflammation level of our body and provide relief from pain and problems caused by the inflammation like joint pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis etc. As per some studies, it was found that curcumin present in turmeric might ease the symptoms of uveitis, which is a long-term inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. Daily intake of turmeric also helps in providing relief from kidney inflammation because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
It has been found that anti –inflammatory properties of curcumin are as powerful as the anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs, and that too without any side effects.
(5) Turmeric Regulates Cholesterol Level
Bad cholesterol and uncontrolled cholesterol level are one of the major reason behind various cardiovascular diseases and other health problem. It is very important for us to make sure that our bad cholesterol level ( LDL cholesterol ) level stays at a low level and our good cholesterol level ( HDL cholesterol ) level stay at a high level as it helps in reducing the level of bad cholesterol from our blood stream.
Turmeric is very effective in controlling the serum cholesterol ( which consist of HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and Triglycerides ) level in our body, and thus prevents our body from the various cardiovascular problem. Keeping cholesterol level under control helps not only in keeping the cardiovascular problem at bay but also provide many other benefits to our body, like help in making of vitamin D, helps in making of cortisol and aldosterone, improves immunity functions of our body and several other benefits. (source ).
(6) Turmeric As Immunity Booster
Our body is very effective in protecting us from harmful diseases by keeping the diseases causing pathogens away from our body, and even if we get ill or suffer from a disease, our immunity system to do its best to recover us as soon as possible. This is possible only if our immunity system is strong enough to fight the diseases causing pathogens and not when it is weak. A weak immune system can’t fight with pathogens for long and we ultimately get ill and our chances of getting ill also increases.
Turmeric is very effective in boosting our immune system and making it powerful again so that it can fight with the outside invaders and protect it from entering the body and also in killing disease-causing pathogens when we get ill. This immunity-boosting power of turmeric is because of the presence of a substance “lipopolysaccharide “ in it. Other than this, the antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties of turmeric also play an important role in cold, flu and cough.
Adding a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk, and then drinking the mixture can provide great relief to people suffering from cold and flu.
(7) Turmeric Helps In Healing Wounds
Turmeric is very effective in healing wounds because of their strong and natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Because of these properties of turmeric, it can be used as an effective disinfectant and apply turmeric powder or turmeric paste on cuts and wounds can speed up the healing process. Turmeric not only helps in healing wounds but also helps in repairing damaged skin cells, and that’s why it may be used to treat psoriasis and other inflammatory skin diseases.
(8) Turmeric Helps In Weight Loss
One of the major health benefits of turmeric is that helps in getting the ideal body shape and weight by shedding off the extra pounds from our body. Ideal weight is very important for our body as being overweight can give rise to many health problems like cardiovascular problems, diabetes, blood pressure etc. Turmeric powder helps in maintaining the ideal body weight because of the presence of a curcumin in turmeric which increases the flow of bile in our stomach and helps in breaking down of dietary fat.
So, if you are suffering from obesity and wants to lose weight then start taking a teaspoon of turmeric powder with every meal. In many Asian countries, turmeric is used as a spice in food and this way, they get turmeric in their body regularly.
(9) Turmeric Helps In Preventing Alzheimer’s disease
Turmeric is very good for our brain and this health benefit of turmeric makes it very effective in preventing us from Alzheimer’s disease. This benefit of turmeric is because of the presence of ability of turmeric to improve the overall health of our brain by helping in the removal of build up plaque from our brain and by improving the oxygen flow in our brain, which ultimately helps in preventing or slowing down the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.
(10) Turmeric Keeps Brain Healthy & May Improve Memory
Turmeric is good for our brain and helps in protecting us from Alzheimer’s disease. Other than this, turmeric also helps in improving the overall health of the brain and may help in making our memory sharper because of the presence of curcumin in turmeric. Curcumin present in turmeric can increase the level of BDNF ( Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor ) which a growth hormone that functions in the brain. BDNF plays an important role in forming new connections between neurons and also in multiplying and increasing their ( neurons) numbers in certain areas of the brain.
It has been found that many disorders related to the brain are linked with the decreased level of this growth hormone and as turmeric helps in increasing level of this growth hormone in our brain, it helps in keeping it healthy and preventing us from Alzheimer’s disease and many other brain disorders. The reason, it may help in improving memory is because of its property to help in the formation of new neurons connection ( which plays a strong role in how well a person can remember ). Turmeric is also effective in delaying and reversing the brain disorders related to aging.
(11) Turmeric Helps In Improving Digestion
Turmeric is very beneficial in keeping our digestive system healthy because of the presence of curcumin in turmeric that stimulates the gallbladder to produce more bile, which not only improves digestion but also reduces symptoms of bloating and gas, and thus provides relief from IRS ( Irritable Bowel Syndrome ).
Another benefit of turmeric for digestive system is, that it helps in the treatment of various types of bowel diseases caused by inflammation, including ulcerative colitis. However, if you are suffering from any kind of gall balder disease then it is better to not to take turmeric as a dietary supplement as it can worsen our condition. If you are suffering from digestive problem then it is best to consume turmeric in raw form and not in any kind of supplement.
(12) Turmeric Helps In Keeping Heart Healthy
Turmeric is very effective in keeping our heart healthy and in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. This health benefit of turmeric is because of the presence of curcumin in turmeric, which prevents the build-up of plaque that can clog arteries and give rise to stroke and other heart problem like a heart attack.
Turmeric is also effective in keeping our cholesterol level under control which also plays an important role in keeping our heart healthy as bad cholesterol is a major cause of buildup of plaque in arteries and in blocking them. Curcumin present in turmeric also helps in reducing the risk of endothelial dysfunction by improving functions of the endothelium (lining of blood vessels), which regulates blood pressure, prevents clotting of blood in arteries and perform many other functions. All these benefits combined together plays a very important role in keeping our heart healthy and in preventing us from various cardiovascular problems like stroke, heart attack etc.
As a per study conducted on 121 patients who were undergoing coronary artery bypass, it was found that the patients who were given four grams of curcumin every day (few days before and after surgery) had a 65 percent decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack in hospital, as compared to rest of the test group who had been placed on placebo effect.
(13) Turmeric Prevents Liver Disease
Turmeric is very effective in keeping our liver healthy and in preventing us from various liver diseases.Turmeric is a natural detoxifier which means it is very effective in removing toxins from our body and in improving the purity of our blood. Our liver also performs the same function of detoxification of blood through the productions of enzymes. Turmeric helps the liver in detoxification by increasing the production of these vital enzymes. Other than this, turmeric also improves blood circulation which also plays an important role in keeping our liver healthy.
(14) Turmeric Provide Relief from Depression
Turmeric is a natural antidepressant and can provide relief from depression, and that too without causing any side effects.
Turmeric is good for improving the overall health of our brain and in preventing us from Alzheimer’s disease. Other than this, curcumin present in turmeric is also found to be effective in providing relief from depression. In a controlled trial performed on three randomized group of 60 patients, it was found that the first group who took curcumin had experienced the same level of improvement ( from depression) as found in the second group who had taken Prozac ( an antidepressant ). The third group was given both curcumin and Prozac and this group showed the maximum improvement.
Depression can cause serious damage to our brain health as it is linked with reduced level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and shrinking hippocampus ( a brain area that plays an important role in learning and memory ). Curcumin presents in turmeric boost BNDF levels in our brain and there is also evidence that curcumin can boost brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
The curcumin present in turmeric plays a very important role in keeping us healthy as it helps in keeping our heart healthy, regulates cholesterol level, prevents cancer, keep Alzheimer’s diseases at bay, and all the benefits combined together led to longevity. For this reason, curcumin is very popular as an anti-aging supplement.
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as a medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, but I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
P.S- Consider sharing this post, if you find it useful and/or interesting