Health Benefits of Turmeric
The health benefits of turmeric are directly related to its main active ingredient – curcumin. Curcumin is a “superfood” with medicinal properties. I know from personal experience that turmeric supplements compete very well with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (pain relievers). In fact, my aunt drinks this basic turmeric tea and says that it is just like taking a pain reliever.
In addition to being an excellent pain reliever, curcumin is a potent antioxidant. Therefore, the health benefits of turmeric are directly related to properties related to it being (1) a potent anti-inflammatory and (2) a powerful antioxidant.
- Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. However, bioperine, a substance found in black pepper increases its absorption by 2,000 percent! So, the best turmeric curcumin supplement will contain bioperine.
- Curcumin is fat soluble, so it will be absorbed better with something fatty. So, keep your eyes open for a variety of turmeric drink recipes.
- The curcumin content of turmeric is only about 3%. Therefore, most health-related studies are performed using a turmeric curcumin extract. I have had great success with taking multiple turmeric capsules throughout the day to remedy a severe pain that had me near tears. So, I know that it works really well for inflammation and the associated pain!
Turmeric PlantPhoto Credit: Sengai Podhuvan
Food really is medicine. Like many other awesome foods that we take for granted, turmeric is the root of a plant. If you have studied pharmacology, you learned that many drugs are extracts from nature that have been attached to a man-made chemical. So, I say – why not grab it from the natural source?
Photo Credit: Sengai Podhuvan
1. Weight Loss
One of the health benefits of turmeric is that it reduces fat cell growth. It does so by increasing the flow of bile that is produced by the liver. Bile is responsible for breaking down dietary fats that we eat. So, the active ingredient found in turmeric can help us use fat for energy more effectively instead of storing it. In addition, when used as a spice, turmeric is low carb. One teaspoon equals 2 grams of carbohydrates.
2. Improves Cognitive Health
Another one of the health benefits of turmeric is that it protects brain cells. It does so by helping rid the body of abnormal proteins that affects our thinking ability. One study relates that turmeric helps improve depression.
3. Stimulates The Immune System
Turmeric contains a substance called lipopolysaccharide. This substances is known to help stimulate the immune system. Therefore, turmeric can help of fight off the cold and flu virus.
4. Fights Inflammation Throughout The Body
As mentioned, one of the two most popular health benefits of turmeric is its potent anti-inflammatory properties. Simply put – turmeric is a superb pain reliever! So, whatever you would normally need a pain killer for, turmeric is good for that. Therefore, turmeric can help ease aches and pains related to arthritis. However, studies show that turmeric also relieves bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, and other chronic inflammatory conditions. Since cystic fibrosis is a disease that cause lung inflammation, turmeric can help improve breathing.
5. Relieves Stomach Pain
Health benefits of turmeric include both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, turmeric can be an excellent solution for stomach pain. However, turmeric’s cousin ginger is hands down the best digestive remedy. Again – I speak from personal experience!
6. Reduce Risk of Cancer
As a really potent antioxidant, an extremely noteworthy health benefit of turmeric is its ability to stop cellular and DNA damage that can lead to some cancers. Studies have shown that the active ingredient in turmeric reduces a child’s chance of getting leukemia and can retard leukemia cancer cell growth. In addition, curcumin hinders the growth of prostate cancer cells in men and reduces the risk of colon cancer in men and women.
Polyps are cancer precursors. Colon-related studies show that colon polyp size decreased by over 60% simply by consuming curcumin. In this way, the risk of getting colon cancer is reduced. The National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health (NIH) reports that turmeric can reduce the skin irritation that often occurs after breast cancer radiation treatments.
7. Reduce Cholesterol
Curcumin works along well with liver fat cell communication. One of the things it does is stop the liver from creating too much bad cholesterol (LDL). However, it gets even better. This compound in turmeric also instructs the liver to create good cholesterol (HDL)! Remarkable –
8. Improves Heart Health
When bad cholesterol levels increase, the risk of oxidation also increases. Oxidation causes hardening and narrowing of the veins and arteries. This is not a good thing because: (1) the hardened, narrowed blood vessel prevents blood flow, and (2) the plaque can break off and stop blood flow to the heart or brain. Therefore, improving the cardiovascular system is another one of the wonderful health benefits of turmeric.
9. Lower Blood Pressure
Bad cholesterol can oxidize and cause plaque to build up in the blood vessels. As the flow of blood is hindered, blood pressure increases. Plaque build up can lead to blood clots and blockages that can make it difficult to reduce high blood pressure. Because of turmeric’s ability to reduce cholesterol, it can also lower blood pressure.
10. Improves Liver Health
With so many chemicals in prescribed medications, the liver is often overworked. People that have been on prescribed medications for many years can have liver problems. Why? Because, after the body uses the active ingredients, the liver is left with chemicals that cannot be metabolized properly. And as a result, a person can end up with medication induced cirrhosis. Studies have shown that curcumin can actually prevent liver cirrhosis.
Like its cousin, ginger, turmeric is a spice that can be used regularly (unless contraindicated). Here are a variety of low carb turmeric teas that you may enjoy: Turmeric Three Root Tea, Lemon-Lime Golden Tonic, or Chamomile Fields of Gold Tea. You may also enjoy reading about black pepper health benefits. or trying this low carb golden turmeric milk recipe. There is also a delicious low carb turmeric latte recipe in this edition of SIMPLE. What kind of turmeric drinks do you enjoy? Please leave a comment below. This concludes the health benefits of turmeric.