Turmeric — and especially its most active compound, curcumin — have many scientifically proven health benefits, such as the potential to improve heart health and prevent Alzheimer's and cancer. It's a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.
What are the main benefits of turmeric?
In Pakistan, it was traditionally used for disorders of the skin, upper respiratory tract, joints, and digestive system. Today, turmeric is promoted as a dietary supplement for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, digestive disorders, respiratory infections, allergies, liver disease, depression, and many others.
1. Turmeric Gradually Increases Antioxidants in Your Body
The antioxidant effect of turmeric is one of its greatest claims to fame. Oxidative damage is one of the mechanisms responsible for aging and many diseases. Free radicals react with organic substances in the body, which can cause harm. Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that can protect from free radicals by neutralizing them, thanks to its chemical structure. Curcumin also stimulates antioxidant mechanisms in the body.
2. Turmeric Can Help Control Diabetes
Turmeric boosts glucose control and augments the effects of medications that treat diabetes. This powerful herb can supplement mainstream diabetes treatments by helping moderate insulin levels. It also lowers resistance to insulin, which can help to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. However, it is still best to consult a physician before supplementing diabetes treatments with natural options.
3. Turmeric Might Prevent Cancer
There are many types of cancer, but they share common features that curcumin and turmeric could help address. The herb may be able to influence the growth, development, and spread of breast, colon, stomach, and skin cancer cells at a molecular level. Research also suggests curcumin can lower the growth of new blood vessels in existing tumors, prevent metastasis (spread), and possibly contribute to the elimination of cancerous cells.
4. Turmeric Helps Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol has many poor health consequences. Studies show using turmeric to season your food can significantly lower blood cholesterol levels and suppress plaque build-up in the arteries, which are essential to preventing cardiovascular issues and other serious health diseases.
5. Turmeric Can Help Prevent and Treat Alzheimer's Disease
One of the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the world and the leading cause of dementia, Alzheimer's is dreaded by many but still has no known cure. Turmeric reduces inflammation and oxidative damage, which researchers believe plays a role in the development of the disease. Therefore, consuming turmeric could help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's. Curcumin also aids in clearing up amyloid plaques, a key factor in the disease's development.
6. Turmeric Can Treat Skin Conditions
Turmeric offers many benefits for the outside of our bodies, too, including speeding up wound healing and calming the pores to help reduce acne. It can also prevent scarring and helps control psoriasis flare-ups. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties offer many perks, but the bright color can stain the skin, and some people may have allergic reactions to the topical application, so it is ideal to consult a dermatologist first.
7. Turmeric Can Benefit People with Depression
Many studies offer promising results regarding turmeric and the treatment of depression. Research has linked depression to lowered levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factors and neuron loss in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Curcumin can potentially reverse these effects thanks to its ability to enhance BDNF levels. There is also some evidence that curcumin can increase the brain neurotransmitters that produce dopamine and serotonin.
8. Turmeric Can Treat Gastrointestinal Conditions
Often, people with stomach and digestive conditions develop an intolerance to medical interventions. Because the GI tract is already compromised, the introduction of drugs can further damage the mucosal lining. Based on research and analysis, curcumin can help control inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and even Crohn's disease so well that some people have been able to wean themselves off other medications. As an added benefit, curcumin doesn't cause the side effects many people complain of with gastrointestinal medicines.
9. Turmeric Can Help Relieve Arthritis
People suffering from both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis can benefit from using turmeric. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help eliminate free radicals responsible for damaging cells. Anecdotal evidence from people with arthritis who regularly consume turmeric notes relief from mild to moderate joint pains, as well as reduction of joint inflammation.
10. Turmeric Can Help Control Weight
The components in turmeric help calm the low-grade inflammation associated with obesity and promote fat loss. People who would like to lose a couple of pounds may benefit from drinking turmeric tea in addition to following a healthy diet and exercise routine. Turmeric should be used with caution in people with gallbladder disease because it stimulates bile production, which can lead to complications.