Turmeric, also known as curcuma longa, is a very common herb. Often referred to as the “Queen of Spices,” its main characteristics are a pepper-like aroma, sharp taste and golden color. People across the globe use this herb in their cooking.
According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society, turmeric contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
It is also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. Due to all these factors, turmeric is often used to treat a wide variety of health problems.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of turmeric.
1. Prevents Cancer
Turmeric can help prevent prostate cancer, stop the growth of existing prostate cancer and even destroy cancer cells. Multiple researchers have found that the active components in turmeric makes it one of the best protectors against radiation-induced tumors. It also has a preventive effect against tumor cells such as T-cell leukemia, colon carcinomas and breast carcinomas.
The anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric are great for treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, turmeric’s antioxidant property destroys free radicals in the body that damage body cells. It has been found that those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis who consume turmeric on a regular basis experience much relief from the moderate to mild joint pains as well as joint inflammation.
3. Controls Diabetes
Turmeric can be used in the treatment of diabetes by helping to moderate insulin levels. It also improves glucose control and increases the effect of medications used to treat diabetes. Another significant benefit is turmeric’s effectiveness in helping reduce insulin resistance, which may prevent the onset of Type-2 diabetes. However, when combined with strong medications, turmeric can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It is best to consult a healthcare professional before taking turmeric capsules.
4. Reduces Cholesterol Level
Research has proven that simply using turmeric as a food seasoning can reduce serum cholesterol levels. 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.
5. Immunity Booster
Turmeric contains a substance known as lipopolysaccharide, which helps stimulate the body’s immune system. Its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents also help strengthen the immune system. A strong immune system lessens the chance of suffering from colds, flu and coughs. If you do get a cold, a cough or the flu, you can feel better sooner by mixing one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk and drinking it once daily.
6. Heals Wound
Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent and can be used as an effective disinfectant. If you have a cut or burn, you can sprinkle turmeric powder on the affected area to speed up the healing process. Turmeric also helps repair damaged skin and may be used to treat psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
7. Weight Management
Turmeric powder can be very helpful in maintaining an ideal body weight. A component present in turmeric helps increase the flow of bile, an important component in the breakdown of dietary fat. Those who wish to lose weight or treat obesity and other associated diseases can benefit from having one teaspoon of turmeric powder with every meal.
8. Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease
Brain inflammation is suspected to be one of the leading causes of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric supports overall brain health by aiding in the removal of plaque build-up in the brain and improving the flow of oxygen. This can also prevent or slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
9. Improves Digestion
Many key components in turmeric stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile, which then improves digestion and reduces symptoms of bloating and gas. Also, turmeric is helpful in treating most forms of inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis. However it is important to bear in mind that people suffering from any kind of gallbladder disease should not take turmeric as a dietary supplement as it may worsen the condition. It is best to consume turmeric in raw form when suffering from a digestive problem.
10. Prevents Liver Disease
Turmeric is a kind of natural liver detoxifier. The liver detoxifies the blood through the production of enzymes and turmeric increases production of these vital enzymes. These vital enzymes break down and reduce toxins in the body. Turmeric also is believed to invigorate and improve blood circulation. All of these factors support good liver health.
Given the numerous health benefits of turmeric, adding this powerful herb to your diet is one of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your life. You can add turmeric in powder form to curries, stir fried dishes, smoothies, warm milk and even to spicy salad dressings. Turmeric can be taken in pill form also. However, turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction.