Turmeric – sometimes referred to as “Indian saffron” because of its bright orange/yellow color, has a range of amazing health benefits. As far as spices go, it should be considered a super-spice. Not only is it an essential ingredient of any good Indian curry, but it’s also a dye used for coloring fabric, and is also famously used as body paint in Indian marriage ceremonies.
The versatility of Turmeric
Turmeric adds a slightly earthy, bitter, and peppery taste to foods and sauces. It is also added to different types of mustard to give it its vibrant yellow color. It contains a substance known as Curcumin, which is the source of its many health benefits. It’s been traditionally used in Indian cuisine, Ayurvedic medicine, and ancient Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and we’re about to take a look at a few of those awesome health benefits we mentioned earlier.
Reasons why you should eat Turmeric daily # 1 – Soothes IBD
Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and can be used to soothe a number of inflammatory conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These diseases include things like Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
Reasons why you should eat Turmeric daily # 2 – Helps to control weight
It has been suggested that Turmeric may be able to help with weight loss, if you’re a little heavier than you want to be and are looking to trim down. The Curcumin it contains has the ability to stimulate the gallbladder and to increase bile production. Bile helps to digest fats, and many nutritionists and dieticians are suggesting that this can be used to aid with weight loss, and keeping your weight under control.
Reasons why you should eat Turmeric daily # 3 – Lowers Cholesterol and prevents heart disease
Eating Turmeric regularly can also help to prevent the onset of heart disease. The Curcumin that Turmeric contains is thought to be able to significantly reduce, or even prevent, the oxidization of bad cholesterol (LDL), which, if left unaddressed leads to plaque forming in blood vessels, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, (click on this link and then click on “show abstract” to read details) Curcumin not only reduces bad cholesterol levels by up to nearly 12%, but it’s also increases the levels of good cholesterol by 29%.
Turmeric also contains vitamin B6, which is known for being able to manage the levels of Homocysteine, a substance which promotes Methylation, a process that damages the walls of blood vessels.
Reasons why you should eat Turmeric daily # 4 – Helps to prevent cancer
Curcumin also has powerful antioxidant properties that are able to protect the colon from the damage that can be inflicted by free radicals. The cells in the colon are known to replicate very quickly, and because of this, mutations can proliferate, leading to the formation of cancerous cells. Curcumin can help to destroy these cancerous cells, stopping them from spreading through the body and causing tumors.
Curcumin may also be able to help prevent prostate cancer, which is the second most common cause of cancer death in US males. The non-scientific evidence offered is the fact that prostate cancer is very rare among men in India who consume regular amounts of Curcumin through the Turmeric that is a main ingredient of the curries they eat.
On a more scientific basis, tests carried out on laboratory mice showed a significant ability to retard the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Reasons why you should eat Turmeric daily # 5 – May prevent Alzheimer’s
In light of the belief that Curcumin may be able to delay, or ward off, the onset of Alzheimer’s; thanks to the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics that it contains, the Alzheimer’s research center at the University of California has announced it is planning to carry out human trials. They will be looking for signs that the same properties that provide Curcumin with its ability to break up and remove the build-up of plaque in the body’s blood vessels, will work on the plaque that builds up in the brain; a plaque which contains a substance called Amylon-B. With Alzheimer’s it’s these plaques that form between neurons in the brain, that block off their ability to interact with each other. It’s already been shown in the test tube (and in mice), that Curcumin binds to Amylon-B, preventing it from clumping and forming plaque platelets.
Another active ingredient that Turmeric contains is something called Bisdemethoxycurcumin which can boost what is known as macrophage activity. In people without Alzheimer’s, macrophage activity serves to seek out and eradicate abnormal cells. In people with Alzheimer’s, this activity becomes suppressed. Bisdemethoxycurcumin is able to return macrophage activity back to normal in those with Alzheimer’s.
Reasons why you should eat Turmeric daily # 6 – Reduces the effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Once again it’s the power of Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties that are highlighted. Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating autoimmune disease that affects millions of people the world over. In trials carried out in 2012, it was found that Curcumin significantly reduced what they referred to as the (Disease Activity Score – DAS). You can follow this link through to an abstract of the research report on the greenmedia.com website.
Reasons why you should eat Turmeric daily # 7 – Anti diabetic characteristics
Curcumin also plays an important role in relation to diabetes, because it’s helps to lower the levels of sugar in the bloodstream, meaning that there is a significantly reduced chance of developing type II diabetes.
We’ve already discussed the fact that turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory capabilities, and the reduction of inflammation in fat and liver tissue is another important factor in helping to prevent diabetes.
Reasons why you should eat Turmeric daily # 8 – Boosts liver’s detox capability
Turmeric may also be able to improve liver function by helping your liver to detox. Although I don’t like referring to tests carried out on laboratory animals too often, they are often the first and only facts we have to go on regarding the properties of various substances. In the case of Turmeric and liver function, when rats were given a Turmeric extract (as reported in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology), it sped up their liver’s detox capability.
Reasons why you should eat Turmeric daily # 9 – Enhances general health and well-being
Within the alternative medical fraternity, Turmeric is highly regarded as being able to improve the quality of life in terms of any holistic health lifestyle. It is said to be able to boost energy levels, detox the blood, soothe digestive disorders, dissolve gallstones, and prevent cancer.
It has been recommended as an alternative to many NSAIDs but unlike some, has no known undesirable side effects.
Let’s not forget about Turmeric’s other nutritional goodies too
With all the attention given to turmeric’s anti-inflammatory characteristics, its antioxidant capabilities, and its antiseptic and antibacterial content, it’s easy to lose track of the fact that it is also has a rich cache of nutritional components including vitamins B6 and C, fatty acids such as omega-3 and 6, and the minerals iron, manganese, and potassium. And of course, as we mentioned earlier, it’s an essential ingredient of any good Indian curry, or curry paste. It can also be added to casseroles and stews too.
Tips for getting your daily ration – of Turmeric that is!
Turmeric, with its unique blend of health benefiting ingredients is one of the great super-spices that promotes health and well-being, and of course a holistically healthy lifestyle. Making sure you eat a little Turmeric every day is a great way of enhancing your overall wellness. Of course that doesn’t mean to say that you’ve got to eat Indian curries all the time; you can use Turmeric as a condiment, sprinkled over any sort of foods, and you can also make tea with it, and here’s a link to an article by Megan Telpner about Turmeric tea with a couple of great recipes you can try out.
So there’s no excuse for not getting your daily dose of Turmeric one way or another. Follow this link to the University of Maryland webpage which contains daily dosage advice.
All you’ve just got to do now is to make sure you got always got some in your spice shelf.