Turmeric belongs to the Curcuma genus and the ginger family. It is the rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant. It is native to southern Asia, with India as the significant producer. For thousands of years, the plant has been used for varied medicinal purposes in India and China. It is an ancient spice of vibrant orange color, inexpensive and possesses health benefits in the body for nearly every system. It has a bitter, peppery and warm taste with the smell similar to ginger.
Curcuminoids are the important phytochemicals present in the spice giving it its impressive and wide range of benefits: demethoxycurcumin, diferuloylmethane and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Apart from this, tumerone is the important volatile oil found in the roots of turmeric. Its nutrient composition includes fiber, vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folates, B12, choline, betaine, C, E and K), electrolytes (sodium and potassium) and minerals (selenium, copper, calcium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus and iron). The numerous health benefits of turmeric in the body are discussed below.
- Great antioxidant – turmeric is a great antioxidant and protects our body from free radicals. Apart from this, it also boosts the functioning of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
- Heals wounds – being an antibacterial and antiseptic agent, turmeric is also an effective disinfectant. Thus, applying the turmeric powder on the wound or burns will immediately start repairing the affected skin area. This power-packed spice can also cure other skin conditions like psoriasis.
- Cancer blocker – curcumin reduces metastasis, angiogenesis, and kills the cancerous cells. Thus, it affects the growth and development of cancer and contributes in inhibiting its spread at molecular level. Therefore, at first place, it is capable of preventing from cancer and treating it as well.
- Anti-inflammatory properties – curcumin compound in turmeric is as strongly anti-inflammatory that it mimics the effect of some anti-inflammatory drugs and fights at molecular level. Although inflammation is important to fight foreign invaders and protect the body, turmeric helps fighting against chronic, low-level anti-inflammation.
- Optimizes and regulates cholesterol – using turmeric in food will help in lowering of serum cholesterol levels. With healthy cholesterol levels, various cardiovascular diseases can be prevented.
- Fights heart diseases – the major driver of heart diseases is the endothelial dysfunction. This dysfunctioning of the endothelial can be cured by turmeric. Curcumin in turmeric improves the functioning of endothelium, the lining of the blood vessels, improving the activity of blood pressure regulation, blood clotting, etc. It can reduce the heart attack risk by almost 60%.
- Relieves arthritis – arthritis is the most common problem in elder people. Curcumin in turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and fights against chronic inflammation in the joints.
- Cures diabetics – curcumin delays the blood vessels damage in Type 2 diabetics. Being a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it helps in curing diabetes by reversing the insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. It is more potent than diabetes drugs in activating AMPK, further improving insulin sensitivity.
- Benefits in depression – depression is caused by shrinking hippocampus and reduced BDNF levels. These changes are potentially reversed by curcumin by boosting BDNF levels in the brain. Curcumin also triggers and boosts the two neurotransmitters in the brain: dopamine and serotonin. Hence, it is also an active anti-depressant.
- Soothes digestion – digestion problems occur when gallbladder produces less bile causing gas and bloating. These symptoms can be reduced by stimulating bile production gallbladder by simply having turmeric daily in any form you like. Inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis can also be treated by turmeric use. However, if you are suffering from any digestive problem, then prefer to take raw form rather than its supplement.
- Boosts immunity – turmeric possess antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, all of which help in strengthening the immune system. It contains lipopolysaccharide – it stimulates the immune system. Thus, a healthy and strong immune system is less prone to infections. Drinking daily a glass of warm milk with a spoonful of turmeric will further enhance the body’s immune system functioning.
- Prevents Alzheimer’s disease – the most common neurodegenerative disease is Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to dementia. This disease is caused because of oxidative damage and inflammation. Both the problems are acted upon and cured by curcumin in turmeric. In addition, it clears the amyloid plaques formed by the disease.
- Prevents liver disease – turmeric energizes and improves blood circulation. It stimulates the production of vital enzymes that help the liver in detoxifying the blood. Thus, it improves and maintains liver healthy.
- Lowered risk of brain diseases – curcumin boosts the brain hormone BDNF levels and hence new neurons growth increases. This helps in fighting against degenerative processes in the brain.
- Delays aging – because of its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin has effects that go way away from the disease and has longevity benefits.
Other health benefits of turmeric include cystic fibrosis, promotes balanced mood, encourages healthy blood sugar, relieves headaches and body pain, helps in leprosy, prevents stress, relieves from discomfort and aches, helps in menstrual problems, heals itchy skin, water retention, prevents urinary bladder inflammation, cures colds and fever, soothes irritated tissue, inhibits ulcer formation in stomach, reduces the risk of developing childhood leukemia, treats gastrointestinal problems, etc. Include this incredible spice to your diet and improve the quality of your life.