Turmeric, traditionally known as Indian Saffron, is an aromatic powder obtained from the rhizome of a plant of the ginger family. Its yellowy-orange color comes from a trio of chemicals known as “curcuminoids,” the most commonly known being curcumin. Turmeric is used as flavoring in cooking and for color in fabric and textile dyes. It’s the main spice in curry, and is arguably one of the most powerful herbs on the planet when it comes to fighting and potentially reversing chronic conditions and disease. Its nutritional profile shows that turmeric is an excellent source of both iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, and potassium. It’s also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, calcium, copper, magnesium, and zinc.
Its nutritional profile shows that turmeric is an excellent source of both iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, and potassium. It’s also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, calcium, copper, magnesium, and zinc.
Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor with a hint of orange-ginger fragrance. Aside from cooking, it’s long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide variety of conditions from flatulence, jaundice, menstrual issues, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, arthritis, to colic.
Relief From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Studies have shown that Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant so it helps reduce inflammation. As an antioxidant, curcumin can neutralize free radicals that can travel through the body and cause significant amounts of damage to healthy cells and cell membranes. Free radicals are responsible for the painful joint inflammation and eventual damage to the joints in diseases such as arthritis. The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in turmeric explains why those with joint disease find relief when they used turmeric regularly. A recent study of people with rheumatoid arthritis showed that curcumin produced improvements in shortened duration of morning stiffness, reduced joint swelling, and extended walking time.
Improves Brain Function
The neurons in the brain are capable of forming new connections and in some areas multiplying in number. One of the main drivers of this process is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. Many common brain disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease, have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone. Interestingly, curcumin which is found abundantly in turmeric, can increase brain levels of BDNF. This action increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.
Studies have shown curcumin is a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. Curcumin antioxidant action can protect cells from free radicals that damage cellular DNA. Curcumin can also inhibit the synthesis of a protein, reduce the growth and spread of new blood vessels and blood supply in tumors, as well as contribute to the death of cancerous cells at the molecular level. Curcumin also assists the body in destroying mutated cancer cells, so they don’t spread through the body and wreak more havoc. One major way to accomplish this is by enhancing liver function.
As we age, many people will have less cognitive function which includes memory loss, diabetes, and dementia. Although there are many reasons for these debilitating neurodegenerative diseases and conditions, our focus is to find ways to improve our memory and mental faculties. Researchers suggest that early intervention, including supplementing with turmeric, might lessen the prevalence of those conditions and blunt their effects in those who develop them. One study of elderly patients showed that those who included turmeric in their diet, had very low levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Other studies have suggested that curcumin, protects against Alzheimer’s disease by turning on a gene that codes for the production of antioxidant proteins.
Aids in Weightloss
The epidemic of obesity and being overweight is a major problem because of the surplus of health and economic issues they generate. Obesity creates a low-grade inflammation in the body which puts you at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Curcumin can step in and suppress inflammatory messaging in pancreatic, fat and muscle cells, which in turn can help curb insulin resistance, high blood sugar, high cholesterol levels, and other metabolic conditions resulting from obesity. When your body isn’t fighting so much inflammation, it’s easier to focus on weight loss. Although turmeric may help with inflammation and fat cell expansion, you still need to eat consciously. So how much turmeric should be eaten daily? The following is from the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Adult Dosage only!
- Cut root: 1.5 to 3 g per day
- Dried, powdered root: 1 to 3 g per day
- Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 to 600 mg, 3 times per day
- Fluid extract (1:1) 30 to 90 drops a day
- Tincture (1:2): 15 to 30 drops, 4 times per day
Research has proven that you can reduce serum cholesterol levels simply by using turmeric as a food seasoning. It is a known fact that high cholesterol can lead to other serious health problems. Maintaining a proper cholesterol level can prevent many cardiovascular diseases.
Turmeric antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents help strengthen the immune system. It also contains a substance known as lipopolysaccharide, which also helps stimulate the body’s immune system. A strong and healthy immune system lessens the chance of getting ill. If you start feeling under the weather, try mixing one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk or juice daily.
Because of turmeric’s natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, it can be used as an effective disinfectant. If you have a cut or burn, try sprinkling some turmeric powder on the afflicted area to speed up healing. Turmeric also helps repair damaged skin and may be used to treat psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Dealing with acne, wrinkles, scars and dark circles under the eyes can lower anyone’s self-esteem. These problems are not only unattractive, they also damage your skin. There are a plethora on lotions and potions on the market promising you the fountain of youth. How about looking no further than your kitchen cupboard for ingredients that will enhance and heal your skin. One of those ingredients is turmeric. Its antibacterial properties kill the bacteria that causes acne. Its anti-inflammatory action reduces swelling and pain. There are plenty of facial mask recipes that include turmeric on the web that you can look up and create.
I could go on and on about this mighty little spice, but in the end, adding turmeric to your diet daily will help you feel better and grow healthier. I’m unable to find the actual root where I live, so I supplement with an organic turmeric powder. Because the taste can be a little offputting, I add it to my smoothie every morning.