Turmeric is a spice that comes from the Curcuma plant, a native southwest Indian species that is used in a wide range of cuisines. It is made from the root and has a brown appearance. It can also be used as a health supplement, providing a wide range of health benefits and ‘cures’ to a number of issues.
If you’ve never really cooked with turmeric much, or considered taking turmeric supplements, take a look at these top reasons why you should be taking turmeric!
It reduces your risk of heart disease
Heart disease is becoming a bigger and bigger problem across the world, and on top of living a generally healthy lifestyle, exercising and eating well, you can use turmeric to help reduce your chances of having cardiovascular problems. Studies have shown that turmeric is not only effective at helping avoid cardiovascular disease in the first place, but it can even reverse a number of problems relating to the heart.
It helps prevent some cancers
Obviously we don’t have a cure for cancer yet, but turmeric can in fact help reduce your chances of developing some kinds of cancer. In particular, some studies have suggested that the active ingredients found within turmeric can actually help reduce the chances of men developing cancer in the prostate.
Turmeric can also help reduce the chance of developing cancers based on radiation exposure – not that you are likely to be exposed to all that much in the grand scheme of things! Particularly, it can reduce the chances of developing breast and colon cancer, as well as leukaemia.
Eases pain of arthritis
Turmeric won’t completely cure arthritis of course, but it can help ease the pain that comes with the condition. Rheumatoid arthritis causes problems with joints, from the shoulders to the finger knuckles, causing disfiguration and pain.
Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory properties and compounds, helping ease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
It’s full of antioxidants
Antioxidants are essential for healthy growth in the body, cell health and proper cell regeneration. Without consuming antioxidants, your body cannot protect itself against free radicals and oxidation.
There’s quite a surprising amount of antioxidants in turmeric, making it one of the healthiest spices you can buy. The antioxidant properties of the spice are considered so powerful that they can help slow down the visible signs of ageing and keep you looking younger for longer.
It increases your antioxidant capacity
As well as being full of antioxidants, turmeric can actually boost the activity of the enzymes in your body which naturally fight against oxidation. By boosting your body’s ability to fight free radicals, which react with fatty acids, DNA and proteins in your body, you will be able to ensure that all your body’s cells are protected and healthy.
Curcumin is by nature an effective antioxidant thanks to its unique chemical structure, and by combining its rich antioxidant offering with boosted antioxidant enzymes in your body, you’ll find it much easier to stay healthy overall.
It improves your brain function
As well as tasting great, turmeric can help the brain function – allowing you to remember things more easily, think more clearly and prepare better for examinations. Turmeric is able to increase the levels of BDNF in the brain. This is the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, a hormone that the brain requires to grow, regenerate and stay functioning properly.
Lots of conditions have been found to be linked with a low amount of this hormone in the brain, including depression – and the more of it you have, the healthier and more effective the brain remains. Curcumin root can help increase the amount of BDNF in the brain, helping avoid depression, maintain proper brain function and even helping fend off things like Alzheimer’s disease.
With an increased level of BDNF in the brain, you will be able to grow new neurons, remember things more accurately and stay alert throughout the day without losing track as often
It helps control diabetes
Turmeric is slowly becoming recognized as a surprisingly effective natural supplement to help control diabetes. Turmeric plays a role in diabetes control by offering anti-inflammatory properties, and helping prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Some studies have even shown that turmeric can be used to help treat Type 1 diabetes. For instance, a study in Japan looked at the effect that turmeric has on hyperglycemia, and found that turmeric helped activate a receptor that anti-diabetic medications often target, too. Activating this receptor allowed the body to reduce its insulin resistance by killing of cells that caused associated problems.
The study involved mice, but showed that it is feasible that turmeric could provide the same function in humans, helping activate receptors that allow blood sugar levels to remain stable.
It helps reduce cholesterol
Turmeric can help reduce your bad cholesterol levels in a number of ways. One of the primary ways in which it works is by preventing the oxidation of your good cholesterol.
When LDL cholesterol oxidizes in large amounts, it gradually builds up in the blood and forms plaque, which then begins to harden and eventually narrow the arteries. This causes high blood pressure, cardiovascular conditions and can ultimately cause heart attacks.
With its antioxidants, turmeric can help stop this oxidization and allow cholesterol to be transported throughout the body without forming as plaque on the inside of your blood vessels.