Health benefits of turmeric that you probably didn’t know about
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in Asia gives curry its yellow colour. It has been used in India for thousands of years as both a spice and medicinal herb and for skin care too.
These compounds are called curcuminoids. The most important one is curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
Here are some of the evidence-based health benefits of turmeric that you probably didn’t know about.
Turmeric contains bioactive compounds with medicinal properties
Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin is also fat soluble, which means it breaks down and dissolves in fat or oil. That’s why it may be a good idea to take curcumin supplements with a meal that’s high in fat.
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory compound
Although acute, short-term inflammation is beneficial, it can be a concern if it becomes chronic and attacks your body’s own tissues.
That’s why anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is potentially important in preventing and helping treat these conditions.
While the topic of inflammation is multilayered and there’s likely no simple answer, the key takeaway regarding turmeric is that, it is a bioactive substance that can fight inflammation.
Turmeric can increase the antioxidant capacity of the body
Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases.
It involves free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals tend to react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA. The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial is that they protect your body from free radicals. Turmeric is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure.
Turmeric can boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor
The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a gene that’s involved in making a protein responsible for promoting the life of neurons. The BDNF protein plays a role in memory and learning, and it can be found in areas of the brain responsible for eating, drinking, and body weight.
Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of BDNF protein, including depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly, studies have found that turmeric increases brain levels of BDNF. By doing this, it may be effective in delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function. It may also help improve memory and attention.
Turmeric may lower your risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world. Researchers have studied it for many decades and learned a lot about why it happens. Unsurprisingly, heart disease is incredibly complicated and various things contribute to it. Turmeric may help reverse many steps in the heart disease process.
The main benefit of turmeric when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium and the lining of your blood vessels.
Turmeric may help prevent cancer
Cancer is a disease, characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. There are many different forms of cancer that appear to be affected by turmeric supplements.
Turmeric has been studied as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment and been found to affect cancer growth and development Studies have shown that it can contribute to the death of cancerous cells, reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and reduce metastasis (spread of cancer).
Turmeric may be useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to up 70% of dementia cases. While treatment exists for some of its symptoms, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s yet. That’s why preventing it from occurring in the first place is so important.
There may be good news on the horizon because turmeric has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. It’s known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, and turmeric has beneficial effects on both. In addition, a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of protein tangles called amyloid plaques. Studies show that turmeric can help clear these plaques.
Arthritis patients respond well to turmeric supplements
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are several different types of arthritis, most of which involve inflammation in the joints.
Given that turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory compound, it makes sense that it helps with arthritis. In a study in people with rheumatoid arthritis, turmeric was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug. May other studies have looked at the effects of turmeric on arthritis and noted improvements in various symptoms.
Turmeric has benefits against depression
Turmeric has shown some promise in treating depression. According to this small study, turmeric is as effective as an antidepressant. Depression is also linked to reduced levels of BDNF and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory. Turmeric can help boost BDNF levels, potentially reversing some of these changes.
There’s also some evidence that turmeric can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Turmeric may help delay aging and fight age-related chronic diseases
Since turmeric can really help prevent heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, it also has benefits for longetivity as well. This suggests that turmeric has potential as an anti-aging supplement.