Turmeric, commonly found in curry, is an increasingly popular spice. Not only is it delicious, it’s also effective in maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy body.
Best of all, it’s easy to grow, making it much easier to access than pharmaceuticals and just as effective.
Below are 10 ways your body benefits from adding as little as half a teaspoon of turmeric in your meals every day.
1. Fights Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to bacteria, trauma, toxins or heat (1). Cells damaged by these factors release histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins. These chemicals cause swelling.
An article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine states: “Curcumin has been demonstrated to be safe in six human trials and has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity” (2). Research suggests that turmeric’s anti-inflammatory capacities function by inhibiting inflammatory molecules.
2. Boosts Antioxidant Power
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant in and by itself (3). It helps fight oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals. This is important to detoxify the body and help it repair itself.
Curcumin also boost the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
3. Improved Brain Function
Your body produces a hormone called BDNF, or Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (4). This plays an important role in the division and multiplication of neurons.
BDNF production decreases with age and stress. Turmeric can reverse the effects of age-related cognitive decline by boosting hormone function and production (5). This in turn improves memory and increases brain capacity.
4. Fights Brain Diseases
Brain diseases such as Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are associated with low levels of BDNF (6).
As mentioned previously, turmeric can help boost BDNF, which can effectively protect you against brain disease.
5. Lowers Risk Of Heart Disease
Heart disease is related to the health of blood vessel lining, called endothelium . Oxidative stress and cholesterol can reduce the elasticity of this lining and that can lead to serious health problems.
Turmeric provides beneficial results in preventing heart disease. In fact, it’s comparable to the drug atorvastatin. It’s also as effective as exercise in maintaining optimal endothelium health (8).
6. Prevents Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is linked to the formation of amyloid plaques that make their way into the brain. A study concluded by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center states that: “These plaques are believed to cause the loss of cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”
Turmeric helps treat Alzheimer’s by clearing amyloid plaques (10). This is done by improving the uptake and ingestion of the plaques by macrophage.
7. Fights Chronic Disease
Short-term inflammation is important to fight and prevent disease. However, long-term inflammation can cause diseases (11) and lead to early death.
By decreasing inflammation, turmeric prevents and treats symptoms of chronic diseases.
8. Helps Treat Arthritis
Arthritis refers to the inflammation of the joints.
By fighting inflammation, turmeric can decrease pain and help patients regain mobility (12). Best of all, it doesn’t have all the negative side-effects of prescription medication, making it a safe long-term solution to this painful disease.
9. Prevents Cancer
Turmeric is effective in preventing cancers of the digestive system (13).
It does so by blocking the spread of tumour cells through suppression of NF-κB and STAT3 pathways. Whole turmeric is actually more cancer preventive then its active compound, curcumin – which is often isolated in supplements (14).
10. Treats Depression
Most medication to treat depression can have severe side-effects, including suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders.
Turmeric actually only has positive effects on mental health. It’s also just as effective as Prozac, a commonly prescribed anti-depressant.
Turmeric make a great addition to spice mixes, but it can also make a great herbal tea. Drink it up as golden milk for a tasty and healthy treat!