16 Surprising Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

Turmeric Health Benfits and Uses

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric originally belongs to the ginger family and is used worldwide as a flavouring agent in the powdered form in the food. It had its origin in the South East Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, India, Myanmar and China. It has become worldwide famous for the curative and remedial properties it possess. It has been found in the scientific studies and researches that turmeric can cure several harmful diseases if taken regularly as per the prescribed quantity. Not only does it have a high nutritional value, but it does not even have any side effects if taken in a controlled and regulated manner.
Though turmeric is packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins, potassium, magnesium and minerals, it has Curcumin as its main component which has been found highly beneficial from the point of view of health.

Curcumin Benefits

The major component of turmeric is Curcumin which is 3% by weight. Curcumin is the most powerful anti-inflammatory agent in turmeric as it is rich in anti-oxidants which are of utmost importance in providing nutrition to the body. As Curcumin is fat soluble, it helps in the absorption of fats in the body. Scientific studies on Curcumin have proven that it is a compound having medicinal properties. Its daily intake can give you a good health and keeps you away from such harmful ailments as high cholesterol levels, high blood sugar, inflammatory diseases, gastrointestinal problems, skin diseases, disorders of brain, arthritis, obesity and even cancer.

Turmeric for Inflammation

The magical herb turmeric contains 3% of Curcumin which is scientifically tested for its anti-inflammatory properties. Though inflammation is a natural function of the body but the problem arises when inflammation goes out of control due to one reason or other. Reduced inflammation in the body is guaranteed if Curcumin makes its way to our body through food. Thus adding turmeric to the meal is highly recommended considering its anti-inflammatory value.
Turmeric fights inflammation without doing any harm to the body whereas medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen adversely affect kidney or liver in the long run. Excessive inflammation can trouble one in multiple ways i.e. as joint inflammation, swelling, gastrointestinal diseases, etc. Daily intake of turmeric either in food or in health drinks will help in reducing the inflammation to the desired level.

Rich Source of Antioxidants

Turmeric is universally acknowledged as a super food because it is packed with anti-oxidants which are of utmost importance in ensuring good health. Anti-oxidants boosts the immune system of the body thereby enabling it to fight a wide range of harmful ailments. Unrestricted growth of free radicals in the body can damage organs. The oxidative damage is done to the organs by the uncontrolled growth of free radicals. It is the anti-oxidants which inhibit the growth of free radicals and can help in developing the resistance of the body to fight diseases. Curcumin, the compound of turmeric, has been recognized as a powerful anti-oxidant neutralizing free radicals.
Turmeric is high on anti-oxidants which makes it a must have ingredient in one’s daily diet. Not only does it prevent oxidative stress but also improves memory retention mainly due to its anti-oxidant properties.

Turmeric for Arthritis

As turmeric is rich in anti-oxidants and has Curcumin which is an anti-inflammatory agent, it is highly effective in the treatment of arthritis. As it prevents the growth of free radicals which do a lot of harm to one’s body, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can be cured by incorporating turmeric in the day-to-day diet. Its daily intake relieves joint pains and inflammation.
A study was made on the patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and it was found that curcumin was even more effective than some anti-inflammatory medicines in treating this form of arthritis.

Alzheimer’s Disease

This disease is a type of brain disorder caused by the deficiency or reduced growth of the much needed hormone ‘Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor’ or BDNF. Alzheimer’s disease is the result of the degenerative processes of the brain caused by the decreased growth of the neurons affecting the functioning of the brain.
Curcumin has been found highly effective in increasing the growth of BDNF which makes brain function properly. Thus the patients suffering from the Alzheimer’s disease can show positive results if Curcumin is incorporated into their medicines and diet.

Brain Protection

Turmeric also contains aromatic Turmerone which boosts memory and empowers brain. Scientific researches have shown that this component of the turmeric can effectively repair the weak cells of the brain.
Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF is a hormone conducive to the desired growth of brain. The reduced levels of this hormone lead to a number of disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease. It is worth-mentioning here that Curcumin has been found effective in the growth of BDNF. Curcumin not only sharpens the memory but also treats the brain disorders if made an integral part of the day-to-day diet. The best way to increase the intake of Curcumin is by adding turmeric in the food. One can also go in for turmeric tea to enhance the regenerative processes in the brain.
Not only is turmeric helpful in curing a harmful ailment like Alzheimer but also sharpens memory and mental alertness.

Turmeric for Diabetes

People who are diabetic can benefit a lot from taking turmeric on a regular basis as it is rich in anti-oxidants and Curcumin. Taken on a day-to-day basis, it can help control blood sugar level. Turmeric has been found highly effective in dealing with type 2 diabetes. It works effectively if taken side by side with medicines prescribed for curing diabetes. Nonetheless you must consult your doctor before combining it with your medicines.
Diabetes is closely related to obesity, high cholesterol levels and high blood sugar. As the regular intake of curcumin helps in the shedding of weight and lowering the levels of cholesterol, diabetes can be kept in check by adding turmeric to food.

Reduced Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol level can be kept in check if turmeric is taken on a regular basis as per the prescribed quantity. It is said to reduce the LDL or bad cholesterol which gets accumulated in the arteries in the form of plaque and increases the risk of cardiac arrest and heart blockage. The anti-oxidants in the turmeric helps in keeping the cholesterol level under control.
The drugs usually prescribed for lowering cholesterol can have harmful side effects on kidneys, liver and other organs. Statins such as atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, etc. bring down the cholesterol level. The Statins are not able to treat oxidative stress which is the root cause of the high cholesterol level.
A recent study has shown that curcumin reduces the oxidative stress and inflammation which causes the increased cholesterol levels in human beings. This study was done in the wake of an experimental study done on animals.

Turmeric for Skin

Turmeric can help you get rid of the blemishes, acne, scars and dark circles on the face if it is applied in the form of a face mask. The anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents like curcumin contained in turmeric can enliven the dead cells of the face thereby rejuvenating your skin. Its regular intake as per the prescribed quantity can cleanse and detox your body which also helps in imparting a glow and brightness to the skin. You can buy a ready made turmeric mask from the market to apply on the face.
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric helps in the treatment of Psoriasis. Make a paste of the powdered turmeric and gently apply it on the face to the psoriasis lesions. Keep it as it as till it gets dried. Wash your face with lukewarm water. This way, turmeric can be used to treat Psoriasis.
Turmeric also helps in the treatment of acne. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties reduces acne.
Turmeric delays skin-aging by reducing melanin from skin. It also lowers the effect of Ultra Violet rays and makes skin wrinkle free.
As turmeric has anti-septic properties, its usage helps in soothing burns. Powdered turmeric can be used as a paste to relieve the pain caused by burns.
Turmeric also works like an astringent to cleanse the skin of its impurities. It also lowers the sun tan. Turmeric is now increasingly being used as an important ingredient in facial products which impart a glow to the skin.
Thus the medicinal properties of turmeric make it really effective at removing the impurities of skin.

Turmeric for Heart

One can ensure a healthy heart by incorporating turmeric in the dietary routine. If taken on a regular basis, turmeric acts as a fat burner and lowers the risk of heart diseases and cardiac arrest. Not only does it reduce the LDL level but also purifies blood which travels through the arteries to the heart. The anti-oxidants present in turmeric make heart healthy by reducing the serum cholesterol levels.
Curcumin is a compound effective in the treatment of heart disorders. It ensures the proper blood supply to the tissues in the heart. It regular usage removes the blockage of arteries caused by the build up of plaque in them. Turmeric used in the meal as one of the ingredients increases the blood supply to the heart which reduces the chances of the heart attack.

Lowers the Chances of Depression

Turmeric has been rightly recognized as a super food which assists in our overall well being if consumed in right quantity as per the directions of the physician. It works as an antidepressant to help one get rid off the disease called depression.
A study was done on the three groups of patients for 6 weeks.. The first group was treated with Prozac and the patients of the second group were given a gram of Curcumin. The third group of patients was kept on both Curcumin and Prozac. After the expiry of 6 weeks, it was found that the patients of the third group taking both Prozac and Curcumin improved the most, whereas the first and the second group fared equally well in the treatment of depression. This small study has proven turmeric containing Curcumin as an antidepressant.

Relieves Pain Naturally

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric has been acknowledged as a natural pain reliever. It is due to the presence of the compound Curcumin that turmeric becomes a natural reliever of pain.
Curcumin is used in the treatment of patients with joint pain, swellings, burns and inflammatory diseases like arthritis and Prostatitis which cause a lot of physical pain to the individual suffering from this condition. Pain can be reduced considerably because of the anti-inflammatory properties of Curcumin.
Turmeric also contains ‘Sodium Curcuminate’ which is also a compound like Curcumin though the content level is much less than that of Curcumin. It has been found effective in relieving pains of the gut system. This way, turmeric reduces the pain caused by gastrointestinal diseases.

Reduces Obesity

Obesity has emerged as a major health problem in the modern world. As per the data provided by World Health Organization in 2014, 600 million people in the world are obese. Obesity is a medical condition in which an individual gains an extra weight due to the accumulation of fats in the body. It further leads to such harmful health problems as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and the constant risk of the heart attack. However it is worth mentioning here that obesity can be treated by changing life style. Nutritious diet and daily exercise are quite helpful in tackling this problem.
By losing weight, one can get rid of obesity. Turmeric is a magical herb that is found highly effective in cutting down extra weight. Its compound Curcumin has lots of health benefits one of which is its effectiveness in reducing weight.
The journal ‘Biofactors’ published a study a few years back showing the effectiveness of Curcumin, an anti-inflammatory agent, in reducing the growth of fat cells causing obesity. The anti-inflammatory properties of Curcumin.

Prevents Blood Clots

Formation of blood clots prevents the profuse bleeding in case of an injury and thereby helps in the healing of the wound. But blood clots can be extremely harmful if there is a formation of clots in the blood stream without any injury.
Clots can prevent the natural flow of blood from the body to the heart which can be life threatening and can create such complications as heart diseases, pulmonary embolism or stroke.
As turmeric is a medicinal herb which acts as a natural anticoagulent due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s regular intake ensures the desired blood flow to the heart. A study made in the year 2012 substantiated that Curcumin works effectively as an anticoagulent to prevent the formation of blood clots in blood vessels. Unlike medicines meant for treating blood clots, turmeric does not have any side effects.

Turmeric for Cancer

The medicinal properties of turmeric are time-tested and well proven. Its potential in curing such a harmful disease as cancer has been acknowledged by one and all. Its regular intake prevents the growth of cancerous cells in the long run. The presence of anti-oxidants enables the body to fight cancer and the presence of curcumin makes it effective in the treatment of cancer Turmeric boosts the immune system and the side effects caused by chemotherapy can be treated considerably by adding turmeric to one’s dietery routine.
Cancer is the unrestricted and uncontrolled growth of cancer causing cells. Turmeric has come to be recognized as a herb capable of reducing the cancerous cells. Cancer has always been viewed as incurable and man has been trying to find the treatment of this pernicious disease since times immemorial. The recent studies on turmeric have shown that its compound Curcumin is effective in the treatment of cancer at the molecular level.
As per the recent scientific studies Curcumin not only controls metastasis i.e. the growth of cancerous cells but also reduces the chances of angiogenesis which is a situation of the excessive increase of tumour causing blood vessels.
The anti-cancerous properties of turmeric needs to be ascertained though several laboratory tests conducted on animals have proven that Curcumin reduces the growth of cancerous cells. However, turmeric is being increasingly viewed as an anti-cancerous herb.

Turmeric for Weight Loss

Turmeric is not merely useful in spicing up the food but also a proven cost effective way to reduce the extra weight. If you are afflicted with obesity and diabetes caused by inflammation, your body weight is sure to be on the higher side and there is an urgent need for you to shed the extra kilos causing countless health related problems in the long run. Turmeric can help you lose weight as its anti-inflammatory properties makes it highly effective in fighting high blood sugar, high cholesterol level and obesity all of which result in the increased physical weight.
Turmeric also contains anti-obesity properties which helps in the suppression of the production of fat. It also reduces cholesterol level which helps one in losing weight. It prevents the undesirable growth of the proteins leading to the production of fat which causes weight gain.
Turmeric controls the sugar levels which helps in keeping the weight under control. Regular intake of turmeric helps in the increased bile production which helps in the proper digestion of food. This way, one can effectively keep physical weight under control.

Aids in Detoxification

Given the polluted atmosphere all around us throughout the day and night, we keep ingesting harmful chemicals, additives, pesticides and heavy metals all the time. It is the task of the liver to drive out these toxic substances from our bloodstream. Turmeric has become a subject of increased studies due to its effectiveness in detoxifying body.
A Scientific Study was done in the University of Maryland Medical Center in which it was found that Curcumin contained in turmeric aids in the production of bile by the gallbladder. Bile works as a rejuvenating substance used by the liver to drive out toxins. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years to treat liver disorders and digestion.

Naturally Treats Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The anti-inflammatory properties of Curcumin compound makes turmeric a great herbal plant. Turmeric can cure inflammation of the bowels naturally without doing any harm to the organs in the long run whereas medicines usually prescribed for treating bowel diseases may lead to chronic side effects.
Scientific studies on the ability of Curcumin to boost digestive system by regulating the inflammation have found Curcumin effective in dealing with such inflammatory bowel diseases as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
A small study was done on the effects of Curcumin combined with Mesalzine, the latter being the medicine normally prescribed for treating bowel diseases. Patients were divided into two groups. One group was given Curcumin plus Mesalzine whereas the second group was treated with Placebo coupled with Mesalzine. The patients taking Placebo plus Mesalzine exhibited poorer results in recovery than the ones taking Curcumin and Mesalzine.

Turmeric Side effects

Though turmeric is a herb without any major side effect, it heavy intake is to be avoided as it may lead to a number of health related issues such as diarrhea, nausea, greater risk of bleeding, reduced blood pressure, etc. Excessive intake of turmeric or Curcumin for a longer period may upset stomach leading to such harmful situations as ulcer and gastrointestinal issues. Heavy dose of turmeric often causes mild fever, and kidney stone. Therefore a proper caution is to be taken before its regular use. One will do better by consulting a doctor to avoid any unsavoury situation later on.

Turmeric Recipes

Turmeric is worldwide famous as an indispensable ingredient of food. It is used as an integral component in most of the recipes as a flavouring and colouring agent. Its pungent, earthy and bitter taste impart a distinctive and unique taste to the food. The food cooked without the addition of turmeric is found to be lacking in something essential. When it comes to the Indian food, turmeric cannot be dispensed with. Indian have become so habituated to the taste of turmeric in food that they will not eat anything without a tinge of turmeric in their meals.
Turmeric is also used in drinks now, thanks to the ever increasing use of turmeric in powdered form for health drinks. Not only does it have lots of health benefits but it also enhances the taste of the drinks. It is mixed with milk to make a health drink known as golden milk. It is also used for making smoothies, soups, tea and other tasteful drinks.

Turmeric Supplements

The best way to use turmeric is to add it to your food. Combined with black pepper, turmeric becomes an effective fat burner. As turmeric contains 3% Curcumin by weight, increased Curcumin intake can be ensured by going in for a health supplement containing a higher quantity of Curcumin. There are some high quality supplements which contain up to 95 Curcumin.
Curcumin is also easily available in the form of capsules and pills. You should buy fermented turmeric capsules or pills as they are more easily absorbed. A good turmeric supplement containing black pepper is to be preferred.

Turmeric is also available in the form of oil. It can be used as a substitute for powdered turmeric or can be used along with it as a health supplement. The liquid turmeric is easily dissoluble in water or milk.

When to take Turmeric

A suitable turmeric supplement can be taken at any time of the day and does not cause drowsiness or sleepiness as it does not contain any sleep inducing ingredient. However, one can take turmeric supplement either in the morning or at bed time.

Conclusion

The increased researches on turmeric have proven it as a powerful medicinal plant having anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Turmeric has gained worldwide popularity due to the countless health benefits it provides. Not only does it cure several diseases but also enhances the taste of food. By making it an integral part of your dietary routine, you can prevent yourself from the onslaught of harmful ailments.

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