Turmeric ( Curcuma Longa) is a yellow-colored Indian spice belonging to the ginger family and is native to southwest India. It gives a yellow color to the foods such as vegetable curry and provides many health and medicinal benefits. Because of its antimicrobial properties, turmeric is being used for medicinal purposes since 3000 B.C. Turmeric is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other essential compounds that provide many health and beauty benefits.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Some major health benefits of turmeric are as follows.
(1) Turmeric Helps In Preventing Cancer
Turmeric contains powerful antioxidants such as curcumin and other antioxidant compounds such as phytonutrients and polyphenols.
These compounds protect our cells and tissues from free radical damage and reduce the risk of several types of cancers such as colon cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, intestinal cancer, stomach cancer, and prostate cancer, etc.
Free radicals are unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from the neighboring molecules, and doing so causes oxidative damage to them.
Turmeric also protects our cells from radiation-induced tumors and prevents us from tumor cells like T-cell leukemia, Colon carcinomas, and breast carcinomas.
As per a study by UCLA Head and Neck Surgery, curcumin in turmeric blocks the enzymes responsible for causing head and neck cancer.
(2) Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Curcumin in turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound.
It reduces pain and inflammation caused by anti-inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid, gouts, asthma, and bronchial asthma.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric provides relief from joint pain and swelling experienced during arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Studies have found that turmeric extract is as effective as pain killers such as ibuprofen.Source-Pixabay.com
(3) Turmeric Helps In Controlling Diabetes
Turmeric is beneficial for people with diabetes and for those who are at risk of developing diabetes.
It moderates insulin levels in our bodies and controls blood glucose levels.
Turmeric is known for increasing the efficiency of diabetic medications.
It reduces insulin resistance and prevents the onset of type-2 diabetes.
However, it should be noted that taking turmeric supplements ( such as extract or capsules) along with your diabetes medication may drop our blood sugar level below the healthy range. It may cause symptoms such as nervousness, dizziness, excessive hunger, excessive sweating, trembling, weakness, and palpitation.
If you are already taking diabetic medication, it is advised to consult your doctor before taking turmeric supplements.
Regular intake of turmeric reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
(4) Turmeric Regulates Cholesterol Level
Turmeric helps in managing our cholesterol level as curcumin it helps in lowering total cholesterol level, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol.
By reducing LDL cholesterol, prevents the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the arterial walls, and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition that leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the arterial walls. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart stroke, and coronary artery disease.
(5) Regulates Blood Pressure
Turmeric regulates our blood pressure as they contain compounds such as potassium and curcumin.
Potassium is a natural vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and provides relief from hypertension or high blood pressure.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common health condition that affects millions around the world.
It is a leading cause of cardiovascular and other health problems.
Curcumin, a powerful antioxidant in turmeric promotes dilation of blood vessels, increases blood flow, and reduces blood pressure levels.
If you take blood pressure medication, consult your doctor before adding turmeric to your diet to ensure there is no food-drug interference risk.
Taking high doses of turmeric while being on a high potassium diet or blood pressure medication may drop our blood pressure below the healthy range and cause severe headache, chest pain, fatigue, difficulty breathing, confusion, irregular heartbeat, and blood in urine, etc.
(6) Turmeric Benefit Cardiovascular Health
Turmeric improves our cardiovascular health.
Curcumin, a powerful antioxidant in turmeric protects our cardiovascular system from free radical damage.
It prevents the build-up of plaque and fat deposits in the arterial walls and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition that hardens and narrows our arteries due to the accumulation of plaque, and fat deposits in the arterial walls.
It is a leading cause of cardiovascular problems.
Turmeric reduces our total cholesterol, glycerides, and LDL cholesterol.
Potassium and curcumin relax our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and regulates blood pressure levels.
By regulating blood pressure, it reduces the risk of hypertension or high blood pressure, a prime cause of several cardiovascular and other health problems.
In a study conducted on 121 patients who were undergoing coronary artery bypass, it was found that patients who took four grams of curcumin every day ( few days before and after surgery) were 65 percent less likely to experience a heart attack in a hospital in comparison to the other group placed on placebo.
(7) Boosts Immunity
Turmeric boosts immunity and strengthens our immune system, the defense mechanism of the body that helps in preventing and treating microbial infections, diseases, wounds, and injuries, etc.
Curcumin and other antioxidant compounds like phytonutrients in turmeric protect our immune cells or white blood cells from free radical damage.
This strengthens our immune system and reduces the risk of getting a cough, cold, fever, and flu, etc.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin reduces pain and inflammation of the lungs and throat experienced during respiratory problems.
A compound called “Lipopolysaccharide” in turmeric has antimicrobial properties and protects us from bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Drinking a glass of warm milk mixed with a teaspoon of turmeric powder provides relief from cold and flu.
Zinc, iron, magnesium, and potassium, etc in turmeric also play a significant role in strengthening immunity.
(8) Heals Wounds And Injuries
Turmeric is a natural disinfectant that cleans up wounds and injuries when applied as turmeric powder or turmeric paste.
It helps in the quick healing of wounds and injuries and is used as an ingredient in pain-killing ointments and gels.
The antimicrobial properties of turmeric protect the wound from bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound in turmeric reduces pain and inflammation caused by wounds or injuries.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is effective against psoriasis and other inflammatory skin diseases.
(9) Promotes Weight Loss
This helps in getting rid of stubborn fat.
Curcumin in turmeric increases the level of adiponectin, a hormone that regulates metabolism.
Turmeric regulates sugar levels and prevents insulin resistance, and thus contributes to weight loss.
(10) Improves Neurological Health
Turmeric improves our neurological health and is good for the brain.
Curcumin and other antioxidants in turmeric protect our brain cells or neurons from free radical damage.
It reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amnesia, and dementia, etc.
Turmeric removes the build-up plaque from our brain and improves oxygen flow to the brain.
This slows down the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin increases the level of BDNF ( Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), a hormone that helps in forming new connections between neurons.
It also helps in multiplying and increasing neurons in some areas of the brain.
By increasing neurons, improves our neurological health and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.
Iron, potassium, magnesium, and folate, etc in turmeric also plays a significant role in improving neurological health as they provide cognitive benefits such as sharper memory, better focus, improved concentration, enhanced memory, and so on.
(11) Good For Digestive Health
Turmeric benefits our stomach and improves our digestive health.
Curcumin and other relevant compounds like phytochemicals, etc in turmeric protects our digestive system from free radical damage.
It reduces the risk of several cancers such as colon cancer, abdominal cancer, intestinal cancer, and pancreatic cancer, etc.
Curcumin stimulates the gallbladder and increases bile production.
Increased bile in the stomach promotes digestion and reduces symptoms of bloating and gas.
It provides relief from Irritable bowel syndrome.
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric provide relief from inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative colitis.
Avoid turmeric if you suffer from gall bladder diseases as it may worsen your condition.
Overall, turmeric is good for digestive health. But, if you are already on medication for treating the digestive disorder, consult your doctor before adding turmeric to your routine. Ensure that there is no food-drug interference risk.
(12) Good For Liver
Turmeric helps in maintaining our liver health.
The liver is a vital organ responsible for detoxification, and many other functions such as the production of bile juice, producing proteins for blood plasma, the production of cholesterol and vitamin D, the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, etc.
Antioxidants such as curcumin and other antioxidant compounds like phytonutrients, etc in turmeric protect our liver from free radical damage and increase its efficiency.
Turmeric is a natural detoxifier that removes toxins, pollutants, and other impurities from our system.
By helping with detoxification, turmeric reduces the burden of detoxification from the liver to some extent and allows it to focus on other functions it needs to perform.
Turmeric enhances the production of enzymes that improve liver health.
(13) Reduces Stress And Anxiety
Unmanaged stress can harm our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Turmeric is a natural antidepressant that reduces stress and anxiety and improves psychological wellbeing.
Curcumin turmeric increases BDNF ( Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), a hormone that forms a new connection between neurons. It reduces the shrinking of the hippocampus ( a region in the brain that handles learning and memory).
Curcumin enhances neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
These are the feel-good hormones that calm our nervous system and provide relief from stress and anxiety.
Studies have found that the antidepressant effect of curcumin is as effective as commercial antidepressants such as Prozac.
(14) Delays Aging And Fight Age-Related Chronic Disorders
Curcumin in turmeric is a powerful antiaging agent that delays the signs of aging.
It is a powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from free radical damage and reduces the risk of various cancers.
It protects our skin cells from free radical damage and reduces fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, and other signs of premature aging.
Turmeric improves our neurological health and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and other age-related disorders.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.