Turmeric is a bright yellow-hued herb containing a variety of nutrients and is closely related to ginger. In the Western world, turmeric was initially used for dyeing fabric. However, in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, it is deeply rooted in food and medicine.
Turmeric contains proteins, fiber, and carbohydrates, along with minerals including manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. Studies have shown that turmeric has numerous beneficial effects on the human brain and body. Some of these effects include the following:
Contains Bioactive Compounds
Turmeric contains bioactive compounds called curcuminoids, which possess unique medicinal properties and is a very powerful antioxidant. The content of curcumin is around 3% of the weight of turmeric.
Unfortunately, curcumin is not readily absorbed in the blood. Therefore, it is advised that turmeric should be consumed with black pepper, which aids in the absorption into the blood. Since curcumin is also fat-soluble, consuming turmeric with a fatty meal can also increase the absorption of curcumin in the blood.
Possesses Anti Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is the body’s first line of defense against foreign invaders as it helps to protect your body from infection, illness, or injury and is a signal that something’s wrong. When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues to protect it from foreign substances. This increases the blood flow to the area and subsequently, could cause redness and warmth. Sometimes there may be swelling, but the important thing to note is that inflammation is a protective process that fights dangerous bacteria. Without inflammation, bacteria can take over your body with potentially fatal consequences.
Low-level chronic inflammation plays an important role in the development of various health conditions. This includes cancer (especially pancreatic cancer), Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and heart diseases.
The bioactive compounds present in turmeric play an important role in controlling inflammation. They are crucial in preventing and treating conditions associated with chronic inflammation. Curcumin functions at the molecular level and turns on genes related to inflammation; thus, it is known to be one of the best anti-inflammatory medicines without any side effects.
Improves the Antioxidant Capacity of the Body
Highly reactive molecules with an unpaired electron, known as free radicals present in the body are known to be the cause of many age-related diseases and conditions. These free radicals react with proteins, DNA and fatty acids. The presence of antioxidants protects the body from free radicals and protects against age-related health conditions.
The bioactive compounds in turmeric possess strong antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals. As a result, regular use of turmeric can help prevent many illnesses associated with old age.
Reduces the Risk of Heart Diseases
Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of death around the world. Our lifestyle and diet have greatly influenced our cardiac health. Turmeric, the golden spice, is one of the best herbs to prevent heart diseases.
Here curcumin comes to our defense again as It strengthens the inner lining of the blood vessels, which results in the regulated flow of blood. The effects of consuming turmeric on cardiac health are similar to the impact of exercise. Additionally, curcumin reduces inflammation and oxidation, two leading causes of heart disease.
Can Help Prevent Cancer
A research team at Washington State University used turmeric in cancer research. The study indicated that the use of turmeric successfully prevents the growth of cancer cells.
Again the bioactive compound, curcumin is known to affect cancer cells. According to research, curcumin hinders the spread of tumors by reducing the growth of blood vessels in the tumor.
Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease, meaning that it slowly breaks down the brain cells (AKA neurons), which then inhibits communicaition between these cells, causing cognative degeneration.
Unfortunately, the condition has no medical cure; however, researchers are aware of the causes of Alzheimer’s and one of the leading causes is chronic inflammation,which has a negative effect on the brain cells. Another potential cause of this illness includes the buildup of a protein called amyloid plaques.
As mentioned, the bioactive compounds present in turmeric are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it is beneficial against clearing up these plaques. Therefore, regular use of turmeric can help minimize the chances of developing Alzheimer’s’ disease. It also helps in controlling the symptoms once the condition has been developed.
Beneficial Against Depression
Turmeric is known to be effective against treating depression. Chronic inflammation can also affect the brain. It can lead to a decrease in the level of serotonin and dopamine. It can also result in the degeneration of certain parts of the brain. The powerful anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin can help restore the neurotransmitters which can also help in protecting the brain against degenerative changes, which eventually helps improve mood and other depressive symptoms.
Turmeric is an exceptionally beneficial nutritional supplement that can protect against heart diseases and Alzheimer’s. The bioactive compound present in turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidants which can help relieve symptoms of arthritis and other age-related disorders. It also plays an important role in preventing and possibly treating certain types of cancer and depression. Until we find more concrete research, it is ideal to rely on fresh and powdered forms of turmeric. With more research, it will possibly be considered safe to consume over-the-counter turmeric supplements in the future.