Did you know about the wonder spice that has been used as a powerful and versatile herbal medicine since 3000 B.C.? The golden spice, turmeric has been an intrinsic part of traditional cultural remedies in many countries. Though this plant requires specific temperatures and conditions to grow, it is exported to be available in almost all over the world.
Turmeric is a rich source of magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamin B6 and vitamin C, but curcumin is its most versatile and highly effective component. This rhizome is known for its wound-healing, protective as well as disease preventive qualities. So, let’s go ahead and explore the amazing health potentials of this wonder spice.
7 Powerful Health Reasons to Start Using Turmeric
Cancer is a word that is enough to scare anyone anywhere in the world. This is mostly because the outcome of its treatment is like the result of a game of roulette – ‘unpredictable’ at best. Though the efficacy of unconventional modes of treatment for this ailment is still questionable, there are quite a few natural ways to prevent or at least delay its onset. The curcumin content of turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that directly interferes with the protein vital for tumor growth. This discourages metastasis of cancer.
It also specifically inhibits colon cancer cell growth. Including turmeric in our daily diet is an effective way of creating a hostile environment for cancerous growths in the body.
Cholesterol management and heart health:
In today’s high-stress poor-lifestyle world, unhealthy cholesterol levels and weak blood vessels are a couple of the most common culprits affecting heart health. Turmeric helps in reducing bad cholesterol and triglycerides when taken regularly. The curcumin present in turmeric keeps the cholesterol level in our body well balanced.
It also improves the overall functioning of our heart by keeping the endothelium or blood vessel lining in shipshape. The endothelium keeps a tab over our blood pressure, clotting and more. Curcumin helps reduce inflammation helping in conditions like cardiac fibrosis, myocarditis, cardiotoxicity and more. However, people with diabetes should use it cautiously as it might decrease blood sugar. Researches also have corroborated the efficacy of turmeric for heart health when taken regularly.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-oxidant. It helps our lymphatic system remove toxins from the body efficiently. This in turn ensures reduced toxicity of the liver and thus fewer liver problems. It’s anti-inflammatory properties reduce liver damage. Curcumin also lowers the chances of liver fibrosis by helping manage liver stellate cells better. As we have already noted turmeric promotes a healthy cholesterol level in the body, it thus lowers chances of fatty liver disease. It encourages bile production to better metabolize fat, boosting better fat elimination from our body.
Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory properties that help whether applied topically or ingested. Thus, it is very useful for common stomach problems like cramping, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, indigestion, loss of appetite and more. Curcumin encourages absorption in the intestine helping with problems like bloating and indigestion.
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric help manage irritable bowel syndrome symptoms better. It improves digestion, while it’s magnesium and potassium content keeps dehydration at bay during a bout of diarrhea. Including turmeric in your daily diet or taking a pinch of this spice in a cup of warm milk every day can ensure a healthy digestive system and a happy gut.
Dealing with depression:
Dopamine (also known as happy hormone) is our brain’s weapon against depression. Noradrenaline and serotonin brain chemicals encourage the production of dopamine. And you guessed it right…curcumin present in turmeric enhances these chemicals and also boosts BDNF levels. Reduced BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factor is directly connected with depression. Curcumin also encourages nerve growth in parts of the brain used for learning and memory. Thus, acting directly at root level, turmeric helps keep depression at bay.
Managing age-related brain issues:
Long-term oxidative stress and plaque build-up in the neural pathways promote many age-related psychological issues like Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive decline and more. Decreased levels of BDNF hormone or brain-derived neurotrophic factors also is one of the major players in promoting these issues.
Curcumin content of turmeric has been shown by many studies to be very effective not only in improving our cognitive ability but also dealing with amyloid plaque that is a key indicator of Alzheimer’s. Curcumin can also cross the blood-brain barrier, reduce inflammation and oxidative damage as well as help increase BDNF hormone levels. These all go a long way in dealing with and slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s among other brain issues.
Free radicals and anti-oxidative damage visually manifest as ageing. They also cause many other diseases, but are most notable as signs of ageing. We have all heard of these terms connected with the scores of anti-ageing products available around us, haven’t we?
Turmeric comes in handy in keeping both free radicals and other oxidative damages under control. As already mentioned, curcumin has superb anti-oxidant properties. Thus, it also helps with slowing down the appearance of signs of ageing. It not only neutralizes free radicals, but also enhances the functioning of body’s inbuilt antioxidant enzymes. Turmeric helps slow down both visible and psychological effects of ageing.
Turmeric offers an abundance of health benefits ranging from purely cosmetic to intrinsically medical. The most versatile and universally effective component of turmeric is curcumin that has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-carcinogenic and other highly desirable qualities. However, our body is not wired to absorb this efficiently. Studies have shown that the piperine in black pepper increases absorption of curcumin by a whopping 2000%. So if planning to take turmeric for medical reasons, take it with black pepper to enhance its efficacy.
Like any other thing, moderation is the key. There can also be side effects like dizziness, diarrhea or nausea depending on the body’s inherent capacity to handle changed conditions. Turmeric has been used for ages in many traditional medicines for ailments ranging from arthritis to Crohn’s disease, cholesterol, skin infection, bladder inflammation and more. Going back to nature for cures can seem to be quite time-consuming, but they are definitely gentler on our overall health.
Have you tried taking turmeric for its medicinal potentials? How do you like to include this flamboyant spice in your daily life?
Warning: Pregnant or lactating women shouldn’t take medicinal amounts of turmeric. People with gallstones, bile duct obstruction or diabetes should consult a physician before using turmeric for medicinal purposes.
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