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Turmeric: 10 Important Health Benefits

Published December 04, 2018
Elisa Silva

Written By: Elisa Silva

Elisa has over 10 years of experience in recipe writing and has written multiple cookbooks over the last year

<article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">Where does Turmeric Come From?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">Benefit #1: Turmeric as an Inflammation Fighter</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Benefit #2: Turmeric’s Effect on Alzheimer’s</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Benefit #3: Tumeric’s Ability to Regulate Blood Sugar</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Benefit #4: Turmeric to Relieve Stomach Pain</a></li> <li><a href="#section6">Benefit #5: Turmeric for Fat Loss</a></li> <li><a href="#section7">Benefit #6: Turmeric to Combat Nausea</a></li> <li><a href="#section8">Benefit #7: Turmeric as a Hunger Buster</a></li> <li><a href="#section9">Benefit #8: Turmeric to Boost Energy</a></li> <li><a href="#section10">Benefit #9: Turmeric to Manage Arthritic Pain</a></li> <li><a href="#section11">Benefit #10: Turmeric Reduces LDL Cholesterol</a></li> <li><a href="#section12">Forms of Turmeric</a></li> <li><a href="#section13">Things to Consider Before Buying Turmeric Supplements</a></li> <li><a href="#section14">The Bottom Line</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Lack of energy</a>, chronic digestive issues, nausea, and out of control blood sugar, these are the consequences of the modern Western diet. There are countless over-the-counter medications and health products designed to alleviate these problems, many with questionable results. Yet a powerful way to deal with these issues has been around for thousands of years―it’s that bright-yellow root spice turmeric. In this article, we’ll discover the power of this amazing spice with the top ten benefits of adding turmeric to your diet.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section1"> <header>Where does Turmeric Come From?</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="turmeric-powder"> </picture> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Turmeric</a> (or <i>Curcuma longa</i>) is a perennial herbaceous plant that is closely related to ginger. It is native to the southwest of India and has been a staple of Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) medicine for the past four thousand years. The spice arrived in China around 700 C.E. and then slowly made its way to the West. Only in recent times, however, have Americans come to appreciate the natural health benefits of turmeric and its active compound curcumin. In the last twenty-five years, there have been more than three thousand studies<sup>1</sup> published that reveal the many benefits of this amazing food. Here are ten of the top findings: </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section2"> <header>Benefit #1: Turmeric as an Inflammation Fighter</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="knee-brace"> </picture> <p><Inflammation causes pain and discomfort to millions of people every minute of the day. Many people choose to treat it with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, yet these treatments carry all sorts of health risks. Turmeric, which contains the anti-inflammatory substance curcumin, has been found to be completely free of side effects and is the logical choice for those wanting to experience the health benefits of an effective inflammation fighter. </p> <p>There are chemical compounds in turmeric that act along with vitamins and minerals in the body to fight inflammation. As we’ve mentioned, the most important is curcumin<sup>2</sup>. Curcumin is what gives the spice its yellow-orange color. It is also what gives it its anti-inflammatory properties. According to a 2014 article in <i>Clinical Interventions in Aging</i>, curcumin is able to provide inflammation-boosting effects that are equal to those provided by synthetic alternatives. </p> <p>Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, the medical director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, wrote a paper for the Academy of Integrative Pain Management<sup>3</sup> in which he discussed the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin. Dr. Horwitz stated, “Turmeric is one of the most potent anti-inflammatories available.” </p> <p>Turmeric can be used as both a topical or an oral inflammation treatment. Powdered turmeric can be applied to an area of swelling with a compress. When taken orally, as either a powder or capsule, it prevents inflammation in cells, tissues, and muscles. Applied topically, it can even bring relief to sprains, joint inflammation, and delayed-onset muscle soreness.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section3"> <header>Benefit #2: Turmeric’s Effect on Alzheimer’s</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="neuron-connection-LR-0028.jpg"> </picture> <p>Alzheimer’s disease affects some forty-four million people around the world. It has a debilitating effect on the brain, devouring brain tissue and severely damaging the nervous system. There has been some exciting recent scientific research showing that all-natural phytochemicals (chemical compounds found in plants and food) such as curcumin can relieve symptoms of Alzheimer’s with fewer side effects and better results than conventional treatments. </p> <p>The blood-brain barrier is what separates the blood that circulates around the body from the brain fluid that flows through the nervous system. The blood-brain barrier stops potentially damaging molecules from interfering with the functioning of the brain. Conventional medical treatments are not able to pass through the blood-brain barrier, but curcumin, this amazing phytochemical contained in turmeric, <i>can</i> pass through that barrier. This allows curcumin to travel directly to the areas of the brain where it is needed to fight the effects of Alzheimer’s. </p> <p>Once in the brain, curcumin clears out the harmful protein deposits that have been associated with Alzheimer’s-related neurological deterioration. A 2008 metastudy<sup>4</sup> that was published in the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology concluded, after analyzing a large number of studies, that . . .</p> <p><i>“...curcumin will lead to a promising treatment for Alzheimer's disease [AD]. The clinically studied chemical properties of curcumin and its various effects on AD shows the possibility to do further research and develop better drugs based on curcumin for treating AD.”</i></p> <p>Taking just one teaspoon of turmeric each day, either grated as a food, or powder form, will provide a dose of curcumin to give you a great boost in your fight against Alzheimer’s.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section4"> <header>Benefit #3: Tumeric’s Ability to Regulate Blood Sugar</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="measuring-blood-sugar"> </picture> <p>Maintaining a steady, consistent rate of blood sugar is essential to virtually every function, process, and procedure in your body. Erratic blood sugar levels cause us to feel anxious, kills our energy levels, and makes it impossible for us to focus. A lot of research has gone into determining whether the main chemical compound in turmeric, curcumin, is able to create health benefits such as regulating blood sugar levels. The results are quite conclusive that it can. </p> <p>In a study that was published in Diabetes Care magazine, 240 patients who had been diagnosed with prediabetes were given 300 milligrams of curcumin per day. None of the study participants who took curcumin developed diabetes, while 16 percent of those in a placebo group did.</p> <p>The recommended dosage of curcumin to regulate blood sugar is 300 milligrams per day.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section5"> <header>Benefit #4: Turmeric to Relieve Stomach Pain</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="gut-bacteria"> </picture> <p>Whether from food you’ve eaten, or another cause, stomach pain can range from slight queasiness to intense cramping. While severe pain requires treatment by a medical professional, mild pain can be treated with turmeric. That’s because the spice contains compounds, such as curcumin, that are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antiparasitic. These compounds are able to provide health benefits such as alleviating your stomach pain naturally and without any side effects.</p> <p>Turmeric has also been shown to be an effective treatment for diarrhea due to the variety of vitamins and phytochemicals within it that improve digestion as well as the minerals that help relieve dehydration and improve fluid balance. Take one teaspoon of turmeric three times daily to help alleviate diarrhea.</p> <p>An effective treatment for mild stomach pain is to combine a tablespoon of grated turmeric with eight ounces of hot water. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section6"> <header>Benefit #5: Turmeric for Fat Loss</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="measuring-tape"> </picture> <p>In order to burn stored body fat, the body needs to increase its metabolism, control blood sugar levels, keep such fat-retaining hormones as cortisol in check, and improve communication between the brain and your digestive system. Turmeric has been shown to do all of these things. As a result, your ability to burn fat will be enhanced when you take this super spice. </p> <p>A study<sup>5</sup> performed at Tufts University subjected mice to a high-carb diet in order to gain weight. Half of the mice were given a turmeric supplement. This group ended up 10 percent slimmer than the control group. Lead study conductor Mohsen Meydani, DVM, PhD, concluded that the turmeric-supplemented mice were benefiting from a faster metabolism, stating that “the mice were burning the fat more quickly.”</p> <p>Adding turmeric to your fat-burning smoothies, or sprinkles on top of other food you eat, is a great way to boost your fat loss with this special spice. Just add a teaspoon of powdered turmeric to your smoothie mix.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section7"> <header>Benefit #6: Turmeric to Combat Nausea</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="stomach-ache"> </picture> <p>There are a number of conditions that can lead to nausea. This makes it difficult to identify the cause, and therefore, to treat it. Most over-the-counter medications are filled with unsafe synthetic ingredients. </p> <p>There are a number of conditions that can lead to nausea. This makes it difficult to identify the cause, and therefore, to treat it. Most over-the-counter medications are filled with unsafe synthetic ingredients. Turmeric is one of the most effective natural treatments, thanks in large part to the curcumin that <a target="_blank" href="">combats inflammation, bacteria</a>, and viruses. All these things are potential causes of nausea. </p> <p>Turmeric provides a combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that work together to improve brain health and to provide antioxidant protection. As such, turmeric combats both the mental and physical causes of nausea. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section8"> <header>Benefit #7: Turmeric as a Hunger Buster</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="protein-shake"> </picture> <p>There are three key phytochemicals in turmeric that increase feelings of satiety. These are curcumin, quercetin, and p-Coumaric acid. In addition, the large number of vitamins, minerals, and fiber in the spice improve neurological and digestive processes, allowing us to get more from our foods so that we feel fuller longer. Adding turmeric to your meals will allow you to beat between-meal hunger pangs.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section9"> <header>Benefit #8: Turmeric to Boost Energy</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="adenosine-triphosphate-molecules"> </picture> <p>Our bodies produce energy by breaking down carbohydrates and fats into the components of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The better the body is at this breakdown process, the more energy it will be able to produce. Thermogenic foods are those that are able to increase the body’s temperature, requiring extra energy to return the temperature to normal. This forces the metabolism to work harder, which results in a greater caloric burn. </p> <p>Consuming turmeric will allow you to boost your energy output in three ways:</p> <ul> <li>It is filled with B vitamins that help the brain make energy-sustaining biochemicals.</li> <li>It improves the body’s immunity to protect you from energy-depriving illness.</li> <li>It controls blood sugar to prevent energy crashes so that your levels remain stable.</li> </ul> <p>Here's a great energy-boosting tropical turmeric energy drink: </p> <p><i>In a blender, combine 1 cup of coconut milk, ½ cup of chopped pineapple, one banana, one teaspoon of turmeric, and half a cup of ice. Blend for thirty seconds and enjoy.</i></p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section10"> <header>Benefit #9: Turmeric to Manage Arthritic Pain</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="injured-elbow"> </picture> <p>Arthritic joint pain afflicts millions of people around the world. Turmeric can help sufferers find relief safely and naturally. In a 2014 study published in Clinical Interventions in Aging, patients with knee osteoporosis were given 1,500 milligrams of turmeric daily. A placebo group was given 800 milligrams of ibuprofen daily. The turmeric group showed significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic results over the ibuprofen group. </p> <p>Turmeric helps to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis while also treating the root cause: inflammation. At the same time, the phytochemicals clean the blood of impurities. Turmeric will also improve liver functioning, eliminating the toxins that can cause arthritic flare-ups. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section11"> <header>Benefit #10: Turmeric Reduces LDL Cholesterol</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="cholesterol-in-artery"> </picture> <p>When low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol builds up in your blood, it ends up sticking to the inner lining of your arterial walls. This results in blockages that can prevent blood flow. Turmeric has been shown to be a terrific aid in reducing LDL cholesterol levels.</p> <p>A 2008 study<sup>6</sup> which was published in the <i>Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry</i> revealed that the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber in turmeric promote the functioning of the digestive, cardiovascular, and lymphatic systems so that bad cholesterol is absorbed rather than ending up on the walls of the arteries.</p> <p>The curcumin contained in turmeric works in three ways to lower LDL levels. It improves liver metabolism of cholesterol, more effectively removes cholesterol from the blood, and increases fat metabolism, which prevents cholesterol buildup within cells.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section12"> <header>Forms of Turmeric</header> <section id="section12.1"> <div class="sub-head">Raw Turmeric</div> <p>Naturally, turmeric in its raw state is the purest form of the spice. When eaten raw, none of the curcumin has been lost. The most popular way to consume raw turmeric is to grate it over a salad or add it to your meal as diced cubes.</p> <section id="section12.2"> <div class="sub-head">Ground Turmeric Powder</div> <p>Ground turmeric powder can be purchased either as a bagged powder or as a capsule. This makes it more convenient to take than in its raw form. However, some of the purity is reduced in the process with about 5 percent of the curcumin content being lost. Turmeric powder is great for use in recipes.</p> <section id="section12.3"> <div class="sub-head">Turmeric Essential Oil</div> <p>When made into an essential oil, turmeric is in the least pure of any of its forms. In fact, only about 7 percent of the product is raw turmeric. However, turmeric oil is an effective relaxant that has a very pleasing odor. It also has antibacterial and antiallergic properties. You can apply essential turmeric oil directly to your skin or use it to make a mask.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section13"> <header>Things to Consider Before Buying Turmeric Supplements</header> <section id="section13.1"> <div class="sub-head"><i>Make sure that your turmeric supplement is 100% pure...</i></div> <p>It must not contain any fillers or binders. Fillers and binders are often added to supplements to make the main ingredient go further. So, look for 100 percent pure labeling.</p> <section id="section13.2"> <div class="sub-head"><i>Make sure that it is manufactured in the USA...</i></div> <p>When a supplement is manufactured in the USA, you are guaranteed that it has gone through a certified Good Manufacturing Process (GMP). Imported supplements are often manufactured in substandard facilities. In the case of turmeric, many of them will not follow the recommended ratio of 10:1 (turmeric to curcumin). This will severely reduce the health benefits. USA-based manufacturing processes guarantee quality control and hygienic manufacturing.</p> <section id="section13.3"> <div class="sub-head"><i>Check whether the supplement contains Curcumin C3 Complex.</i></div> <p>Some conventional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause gastrointestinal side effects. However, by including the clinically proven Curcumin C3 Complex that acts as an effective bio protector, you will be able to remove the unpleasant side effects that you may experience if using supplements that do not contain this additive.</p> <section id="section13.4"> <div class="sub-head"><i>Does the supplement contain piperine?</i></div> <p>Piperine is an extract that comes from a black pepper in southern India. Piperine has been extensively studied in the United States. It has been proven to dramatically increase the absorption of curcumin extract. When added to a turmeric curcumin supplement, it allows curcumin to be more readily absorbed into the body. Without piperine, the absorption of the supplement into your body will be negatively affected. Much of the turmeric will pass right through your system, preventing you from benefiting from its many health-giving properties. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section14"> <header>The Bottom Line</header> <p>The ancient Eastern practice of using turmeric as an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving remedy has been resoundingly verified by recent medical studies. Turmeric is an all-natural remedy for common ailments, a reliever of the symptoms of chronic illness, and a general health and energy booster. All of this makes getting into the daily turmeric habit one of the best health decisions you can make. </p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Effects of Curcumin">Potential Therapeutic Effects of Curcumin</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin">Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Academy Integrative Pain Management">Academy Integrative Pain Management</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="effect of curcumin">The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer's disease</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="The science behind turmeric">The science behind turmeric and other so-called miracle foods</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Role of curcumin">Role of curcumin in health and disease</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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