Turmeric is a type of long-leaved plant in the ginger family. Found in Asia 1000s of years ago, many curries, soups, stews, and sauces use the powder for flavor. Besides satisfying your taste buds, there are many health benefits found in turmeric.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
#1 – Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Turmeric lowers the risk of heart disease by reducing arterial cholesterol and plaque. The results of a study conducted by French medical researchers support this benefit. The study involved mice and curcumin, Turmeric’s primary polyphenol compound. The researchers fed a group of 20 mice curcumin over a three-month period. The control group of 20 mice ate a traditional non-curcumin diet over the same period.
After three months, researchers analyzed the mice’s cholesterol levels. As it turns out, the mice in the curcumin group had 26 percent less cholesterol than mice in the control group. This suggests that turmeric’s main antioxidant could lower the risk of heart disease.
#2 – Protection From Joint Pain
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric make it an effective inhibitor joint pain. Studies show that turmeric is as effective as ibuprofen at treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis pain. The curcumin in turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling in joints that would otherwise cause pain and mobility problems. But unlike ibuprofen, curcumin won’t cause ulcers, stomach bleeding or other intestinal problems.
#3 – Stronger Immune System
Turmeric strengthens the immune system. Thus, you may experience fewer viral and bacterial infections when taking turmeric. When your immune system believes that an infectious-causing germ is trying to invade your body, it attacks with white blood cells and inflammation.
Turmeric supports the immune system by regulating its inflammatory response. Aside from reducing inflammation, turmeric has natural antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. These properties further protect you from infectious illnesses.
#4 – Improved Digestion
Up to 60 million Americans suffer from some type of digestive disorder. Also, it helps with common digestion issues such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, and gas. One study found that people suffering from IBS experienced less stomach pain after taking turmeric for eight weeks. Turmeric helps balance your gut biome. It encourages the stomach muscles to relax while balancing your body’s gut flora in the process.
#5 – Better Mood and Mental Health
Medical experts are still learning about turmeric’s effects on the body. Recent findings suggest that it may improve mood and mental health. According to a meta-analysis published by the National Institute of Health (NIH), curcumin is effective at relieving symptoms of depression.
A separate study published by the NIH found that curcumin enhanced the effects of prescription antidepressants. It’s unknown how curcumin improves mood. However, some experts believe it’s related to the plant’s anti-inflammatory effects.
When you suffer from high inflammation, your brain will produce more stress-inducing chemicals like cortisol and quinoline. While at the same time, the brain produces less mood-enhancing chemicals like melatonin and serotonin. Turmeric prevents this from happening by suppressing inflammation in your body.
Benefits of Turmeric
#6 – Clearer, Healthier Skin
Turmeric can even help you achieve clearer, healthier skin. Inflammation causes most skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, hives. and acne. With psoriasis and eczema, for example, the immune system believes the skin is being attacked by an invader, so it attacks the skin with inflammation-causing chemicals.
With acne, bacteria and dead skin cells become trapped inside a pore, at which point the immune system responds by attacking it with inflammation-causing chemicals as well. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties can protect against common skin problems.
#7 – Better Memory
If your memory isn’t as sharp as once was, turmeric may help. According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, curcumin in turmeric improves memory.
For the study, researchers recruited 40 middle-aged men and women. They gave half of the participants a curcumin supplement once a day. The other half was a placebo. Researchers tested the cognitive abilities of participants at the beginning of the 18-month study and again at the end.
After analyzing the results, they found that participants who took the curcumin supplement scored 28 percent higher than the control group on the memory recall.
#8 – Controls Blood Sugar Levels
There are other ways to control your blood sugar levels besides cutting out carbs and sugar. According to a study published in the medical journal Metabolism, curcumin in turmeric helps to lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it simultaneously protects against insulin resistance. Both are key risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Whether you’re looking to prevent diabetes or manage diabetes, you should consider trying turmeric.
#9 – Higher-Quality Sleep
Statistics show that one in three Americans gets an insufficient amount of sleep. If you’re among this crowd, turmeric may help. Sleep disorders, like skin problems, are often attributed to chronic inflammation.
Inflammatory chemicals in your body cause stress that hinders your ability to fall and stay asleep. But turmeric reduces inflammation, thereby reducing stress and allowing you to sleep more at night.
#10 – More Energy
It may not offer the same satisfaction as a cup of freshly brewed caffeinated coffee, but turmeric can still boost your energy nonetheless. Again, this is because turmeric reduces inflammation to maintain a delicate balance of neurotransmitters and hormones in your body.
If left unchecked, inflammation will cause an imbalance of these chemicals, which manifests as fatigue and stress. By taking turmeric, your body will maintain a proper balance of neurotransmitters and hormones that boost your energy levels and prevents midday tiredness.
In a world where the term “alternative medicine” is thrown around, it’s hard to believe that so many health benefits can come from a plant. See for yourself by adding turmeric to your daily regimen. With it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it can reduce inflammation and fight free radicals to improve your health. The benefits of turmeric seem endless.