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What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is commonly known as a spice. It is a member of the ginger family and has long been grown in tropical regions. It’s a perennial plant derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant.
It is commonly used to flavor and color curry powders, mustards, and other foods. It has long been used in Asian, Indian, and Caribbean cultures for its medicinal properties. It grows best in tropical climates and can grow over three feet tall. The leaves are either dark green or purple, and the flowers are white.
Curcumin vs. Turmeric
Curcumin is a compound in turmeric that provides most of the plant’s medicinal properties. More than 100 different curcuminoids can be found within this spice, but only one has been shown to have a medicinal effect on humans. Its bioavailability isn’t very high so it may take some time before you feel any effects from taking supplements or consuming large quantities over meals.
The main reason curcumin has such a low bioavailability in the human body is its poor solubility and stability in water, which causes it to break down quickly.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric can have a positive impact on the stomach by preventing ulcers and reducing acid reflux. The spice has proven to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to better nutrient absorption.
Curcumin may lower the risk of heart disease
Curcumin gives turmeric its yellow pigment and is known to lower the risk of heart disease. It reduces inflammation and prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) in the blood. It also helps to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and high-density lipoproteins (HDLs).
Studies show curcumin can lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as increase HDL cholesterol levels. It also has antioxidant properties that may help prevent oxidative damage to cells.
It’s been shown to improve the function of your blood vessels and reduce inflammation, which can play a role in cardiovascular disease. Studies have found that it decreases the risk of hospital-associated atrial fibrillation by 65%.
Curcumin may help prevent cancer
Studies have shown that curcumin, the major biologically active component of turmeric, may help prevent cancer. It is a strong inhibitor of NF-κB and reduces the production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
How does turmeric help with brain-derived neurotrophic factors?
Curcumin can turn into an active antioxidant form that protects the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation. It’s been shown to enhance brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is the “protein of thoughts.” It supports the growth of new neurons and protects brain cells.
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory
Its anti-inflammatory properties are due to its active component, curcumin which may be beneficial in treating many inflammatory conditions. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties may also be due to its ability to inhibit cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase enzymes. These enzymes are responsible for the synthesis of inflammation-causing chemicals, such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes.
Turmeric can relieve pain
It can relieve pain by decreasing inflammation in the body. Turmeric has been used to treat many conditions, including arthritis and other inflammatory diseases of the joints, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis.
It’s antioxidant properties help to destroy free radicals in the body, molecules that can damage cells.
Curcumin may be useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease
Curcumin may be useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease. It appears to stabilize brain cells damaged by the beta-amyloid protein, which causes plaque deposits in the brain.
A review article published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports that curcumin has the potential to minimize or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin has benefits against depression.
Curcumin also protects against stress-induced neuronal damage and may be a potential treatment for depression.
Curcumin may help delay aging and fight age-related chronic diseases
Turmeric benefits for health and well-being most notably come from curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric.
Studies have shown that consuming a diet rich in curcumin can help prevent or delay the onset of age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease.
Side effects of turmeric
Turmeric can also have negative side effects. It may upset the stomach and cause nausea or vomiting if taken in large doses, as it is a potent detoxifier. Turmeric has also been proven to cause gallstones in some people, so it’s always best to talk with your doctor before starting any new medication.
Ways to Prepare and Take Turmeric
Many people enjoy turmeric and it can be consumed in many different ways.
You may take it in the following forms:
Turmeric supplements – The best turmeric supplements contain patented turmeric extract formulations and ingredients that increase the absorption of curcuminoids.
Turmeric powder – The yellow powder of turmeric is known to have potent anti-inflammatory activity and decrease cholesterol’s arterial-clogging properties.
Turmeric tea is brewed using grated turmeric root or pure powder, considered one of the most effective ways to consume the spice.
- Add it to your favorite dish for a flavorful boost
- Mix with yogurt or applesauce, then stir in honey for an easy snack.
- Add to your soups and stews for an extra taste and flavor.
- Mix it with salt and pepper to make a tasty rub for your chicken, pork, or beef before cooking them in the oven.
- Adding turmeric as a spice mixture such as curry or barbecue rub
- Making a homemade dressing using part oil, part vinegar, and seasonings, including turmeric
Turmeric is not just for Indian cooking anymore. The spice that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 3,000 years can drastically improve your health and well-being.
When taken in small doses, turmeric can help prevent ulcers, heartburn, and other gastrointestinal problems. It’s also shown to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, leading to better nutrient absorption.
As a powerful antioxidant, it may help prevent heart disease, lower blood sugar levels, fight cancer cells by boosting the immune system, treat Alzheimer’s disease symptoms like memory loss, and anxiety disorders like depression or OCD with no side effects.