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What Are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?

What Are the Health Benefits of Turmeric

Also known by its scientific name of Curcuma Longa, turmeric is an herb that belongs to the ginger family. It is normally grown in countries in Southern and Southwestern Asia. Turmeric has been used for centuries in India and China as part of various medical treatments. Having been available for consumption for around 4,000 years, turmeric is known as the “cleanser of the body” in India and trees containing turmeric can grow as tall as 3 to 5 feet in height.

Turmeric is highly nutritious, having a high concentration of pyridoxine (or vitamin B6), containing 1.80 milligrams or 138% of you RDA. It is also a rich source in Vitamin C, containing 25.9 milligrams (43%), Vitamin E at 3.10 milligrams (21%), and Vitamin K at 13.4 milligrams (11%). The health benefits of turmeric serve the human body exceptionally well.

Turmeric Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Curcumin is a very powerful component of turmeric. This is important because curcumin is strong in the anti-inflammatory department. It is so strong that it matches some of the well known anti-inflammatory drugs out there. Turmeric actually has a long history of being used in Ayurvedic medicine, as it contains 3 curcuminoids; curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Curcumin effectively blocks NF-kappa B, which turns on genes that encourage inflammation, allowing it to fight swelling at a molecular level.

Turmeric has the Potential to Help in the Treatment of Cancer

Over the last half century turmeric, being a polyphenol, has been found to have the potential to both prevent and treat cancer. The curcumin in turmeric has the ability to suppress proliferation of various tumor cells, minimize the effectiveness of NF-kappa B, AP-1 and EGR-1, which are harmful protein complexes. Turmeric serves as an anti-invasive and anti-metastatic agent in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo, which means that it inhibits cancer cell migration and invasion by manipulating several signaling pathways that attempt to develop cancer. Turmeric has been found to be very safe to take, and even taking as little as 10 grams of turmeric a day can potentially help fight against cancer.

Turmeric May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease produces a list of symptoms including: inflammation, oxidative damage and the formation of beta-amyloid plaques. Those who are in their elder years will be glad to know that the consumption of turmeric has the potential of treating this disease. Being a powerful antioxidant, turmeric promotes metal chellation by chellating Iron, Copper and Zinc. By doing this, turmeric can help in reducing the beta-amyloid plaques, decreasing the proliferation of neuroglial cells and improving the neurological defecit that many elderly people suffer from. According to a study held by Nanjing Medical University in China, turmeric consumption provided the elderly brain some additional health benefits, such as reducing unnecessary water retention.

Turmeric is Heart Healthy

Turmeric is used in traditional medicine to improve the function of the endothelium (the lining of blood vessels). Endothelial dysfunction is a major component of heart disease as it is the inability of the body to regulate blood pressure and clotting. The protective effects of turmeric help to directly combat this problem. In one study, 32 postmenopausal women were separated into 3 different groups and were tested over the course of 8 weeks to determine what was the best measure to take to regulate blood flow. The group of women that were in the curcumin group saw more benefits than those in the control and exercise groups as flow-mediated dilation increased with curcumin consumption.

Amazing Health Benefit of Turmeric: an Uveitis Aid

Uveitis is a disease where there is inflammation of the eye’s iris, and is linked to macular degeneration. Turmeric consumption has been found to be just as effective in treating Uveitis as corticosteroids. One study involved 36 patients being divided into 2 groups, one that took turmeric tablets and the other that cortical therapy. In 42% of patients who suffered from occular pain and blurred vision there was more significant improvement with the turmeric tablets and there were no side effects.

Another study had 53 patients with Chronic Anterior Uveitis take a dose of turmeric, 375 milligrams 3 times a day for 12 weeks. 32 of these patients experienced significant improvement in their vision as a result.

Turmeric Battles Depression

Major Depressive Disorder is a serious issue many people have a hard time addressing. It turns out that  turmeric comes in handy in reinvigorating the depressed. In one study 60 patients with depression were separated into 3 different groups of treatment. One group took only 20 milligrams of fluoxetine (Prozac), another group took only 1,000 milligrams of curcumin. The last group took both Prozac and curcumin. Results revealed that the last group fared the best by showing the most improvement.

Turmeric is a safe and effective alternative to antidepressant medications. Depression occurs when the hippocampus, an area of the brain that stores learning and memory, starts shrinking. Curcumin enhances neurogenesis, promoting growth in the frontal cortex and hippocampal regions.

Turmeric is a Reliable Sleep Aid

There are few things that effect a persons overall wellbeing as much as a good night’s sleep. One study involved 72-hour sleep deprivation, which causes weight loss, increased anxiety, impaired locomotor activity and oxidative damage. In a span of 5 days after curcumin extract was regularly consumed, test results suggest that many sleep deprivation effects can be reduced with turmeric. Biochemically speaking, curcumin restores glutathione and catalase activity. 

A simple way to create Turmeric Milk, a drink to make one sleep, would include 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 2 cups of almond milk, 2 teaspoons of carcamom and 1 teaspoon of either honey or a general sweetener product. If you can add drops of magnesium oil to this recipe, then this drink would really help you sleep.

Turmeric Promotes Weight Loss

If you are looking for an ideal spice to add to your favorite salad when dieting, turmeric is a great option. Curcumin reverses the body’s resistance to insulin and fights against obesity. The nutritional analysis of turmeric shows that 100 grams of this spice amounts to 354 kilocalories, 10 grams total fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 38 milligrams of sodium, and 2,525 milligrams of potassium. Better proof of turmeric being a great spice for dieting would be its 65 grams of total carbohydrates, 21 grams of dietary fiber, 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of sugar. Consumption of turmeric induces the expression of hemeoxygenase by activating in pancreatic cells, providing help in the survival of these cells. A dieting tip to consider would be to have a healthy meal combining turmeric along with butter oil, which is known to promote weight control.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.