Turmeric has wonderful health-boosting properties, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential. There are endless health benefits of turmeric or curcumin. Turmeric is in use for centuries in India, where it is not only used as a condiment in conventional foods but also used as a medicine in combating minor ailments.
Turmeric is obtained from turmeric plant and is converted into powdered form, usually yellowish golden in colour. This article discusses all the benefits you may have came to know about turmeric use.
Medicinal properties of Turmeric (Curcumin)
Turmeric contains various curcuminoids, including “curcumin,” being the main active ingredient having most of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers. These curcuminoids are the backbone behind all the benefits of turmeric or curcumin that you experience after the use of curcumin milk or turmeric supplements.
For obtaining full benefits of curcumin, it must be concentrated to provide a sufficient dose as prescribed by your doctor. To foster its benefits, turmeric supplements containing enough amount of curcumin and piperine (bioavailability booster) are used. You must ask your doctor before starting any therapy as he knows best.
Health Improving Benefits of Turmeric
Curcumin is a Powerful Antioxidant
Oxidation is a process that causes ageing, wrinkles, general weakness, and the formation of harmful “free radicals” in the body.
Antioxidant benefits of turmeric help fight these free radicals and safeguard the body against oxidative damage to cellular structures, proteins, and DNA.
There exists a powerful antioxidant property in curcumin that neutralizes the free radicals and make them inactive. This prevents them from damaging the delicate cellular functions and promotes slow ageing, fewer wrinkles, better general health, vigour, and longevity.
It is important to acknowledge that antioxidants in Turmeric provide health benefits to the overall body; hence it helps to attain good general health.
Curcumin not only acts as an antioxidant itself but is also proved to aid the body’s natural antioxidant production.
Turmeric as a Natural Anti-inflammatory Medicine
Inflammation is a characteristic response of our body against damaging pathogens. It also serves its function in repairing damage at cellular levels.
Acute inflammation is a natural homeostatic response of the body. However, when inflammation becomes long-lasting or chronic, it can certainly cast damage to the body at cellular levels.
Constant cellular damage by inflammatory molecules causes various diseases.
A study came out with information that chronic inflammation is potentially harmful to the body as it can lead to various problems lately, including cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, and even cancer.
Fortunately, curcumin found in Turmeric can help to keep chronic inflammation at bay. Curcumin’s natural anti-inflammatory potential is even comparable to some anti-inflammatory drugs.
Chronic inflammation is believed to be associated with a substance called Nuclear factor NF-kB which is basically a protein present in cellular nuclei during inflammation.
Curcumin inactivates the NF-kB pathway and hence stops the chronic inflammation. In this way, curcumin ultimately helps to prevent the onset of many diseases associated with the presence of chronic inflammation like depression, headache, cardiac diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease.
In Indian culture, Turmeric is widely used instead of conventional NSAIDs to treat headaches, body aches, and myalgia since it comes without harmful side effects.
Turmeric Prevents Heart Diseases
Cardiovascular diseases contribute to the most number of deaths around the globe than any other disease. There are many influencing factors related to poor heart health. However, curcumin is known to repair the damage to heart cells caused by various processes like chronic inflammation and endothelial damage.
Curcumin is believed to restore endothelium (cells found in the interior heart). A study has shown curcumin being as effective as a drug named Atorvastatin. Surprisingly, curcumin mimics the positive effects of exercise that contribute to heart health.
A study conducted on coronary artery disease patients suggests that curcumin consumption reduced the risk of heart attack by up to 65% as compared to the placebo group in clinical settings.
Turmeric Improves Brain Health
The brain is a complex vital organ that performs unlimited tasks and processes all the time. Neuronal structures constitute the brain, and these neurons can get damaged over time. For this, nature has kept the capability for neurons to generate new connections.
Surprisingly, neurons can also increase in number in some parts of the brain where they regenerate themselves.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) have a major role in nourishment and repair of neuronal connections in the brain.
Deficiency of this factor leads to various mental illnesses, including neurodegenerative disorders, anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.
Curcumin present in Turmeric can naturally increase the levels of BDNF in the brain and hence prevents the onset of many mental illnesses.
Curcumin also slows down the age-associated decline in brain function.
Turmeric supplements are also used as a memory booster that helps improve cognition and the logical response of the brain.
Turmeric Helps Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints. It becomes more problematic in old age. Since curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent, it can help relieve or reduce the symptoms of arthritis that include pain and inflammation at the joints.
A study has shown that curcumin can prevent the body from attacking its own cells around joints and causing unnecessary inflammation, as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis.
Curcumin Promotes Negative Aging
Ageing is a natural decline in the normal physiology of the body. Ageing cannot be stopped; however, it can be delayed.
Many diseases contribute to the ageing process and make us close to death. Curcumin is an antioxidant (anti-ageing) compound that prevents the onset of diseases beforehand and promotes longevity.
Curcumin can also help in reducing wrinkles, dark circles, muscle loss, poor skin, and body weakness as we age.
Regular use of curcumin not only helps in achieving longevity but also helps to live a disease-free life period.
Curcumin is a Natural Anti-depressant
WHO has declared depression a worldwide epidemic. Depression is linked to chronic stress as the brain’s normal functions decline due to chronic stress that leads to depressive thoughts.
A study in controlled settings involved three groups with one group having more than 50 patients administered one gram curcumin, the second group-administered Prozac in combination with curcumin, and the third group was administered the Prozac only. After six weeks, results showed comparable efficacy of Prozac and curcumin while the combination group showed the best results.
This proves the grounds for the health benefits of turmeric in reducing depression effectively and naturally. Read 15 health benefits of walking.
Turmeric Checks Cholesterol levels
Turmeric helps to reduce the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in blood. This LDL is bad cholesterol is not good for the heart since it accumulates in vessels and blocks the blood supply to the heart causing heart attacks and other heart problems.
The health benefits of turmeric for hypercholesterolemic patients include not only reduction of blood cholesterol levels naturally also the prevention of the associated heart problems arising due to high cholesterol levels.
A study suggests that curcumin may be as effective as a drug named Atorvastatin in reducing cholesterol levels.
Turmeric Reduces Chronic Gastric Diseases
There are gastric benefits of curcumin as well. Turmeric can help reduce the symptoms of a chronic gastric disease called Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS symptoms include chronic abdominal pain. Turmeric is also believed to be helpful in managing diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
Curcumin supplements can reduce abdominal inflammation and pain and improves patient’s quality of life.
Turmeric masks are widely used by people not only to give a natural glow skin but also to fight stubborn acne. In Indian culture, turmeric mask is a must-have among skincare products.
Turmeric’s natural antibacterial properties serve this purpose. There are also well-known benefits of turmeric milk for acne.
Cancer incidence is increasing day by day. With extreme pain associated with cancer itself, cancer treatment also comes with extraordinary pain and discomfort on the patient’s side. There are also very low chances of full recovery because of eng stage diagnosis.
However, we can reduce the chance of cancer onset and also reduce its aggravation after onset using natural supplements like curcumin.
Curcumin consumption helps in checking cancer growth, development, and proliferation at the cellular levels.
Cancer cells generate their individual blood capillaries by angiogenesis and propagate to different body parts by metastasis.
Curcumin contributes to the killing of cancerous cells by preventing angiogenesis and metastasis.
Although there needs more research on curcumin’s potential in cancer treatment, it can, however, prevent the onset of cancer in the first place.
A study involved 44 people with the occurrence of colonic lesions turning into cancerous cells randomly. They were administered with four grams of curcumin daily for one month. After the trial period, there was a 40% decline in the number of lesions.
Our body is under the constant influence of free radicals that are produced via air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, UV rays, and other radiation sources.
These free radicals start settling in the body and can cause damage to cells forcing them to redivide abnormally. This also promotes the growth of cancerous cells.
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant, fights off these free radicals and prevents normal cells from turning into cancerous ones.
Using turmeric supplements can reduce the incidence of cancer naturally, but this aspect needs more clinical research to justify the exact mechanisms about cancer-killing benefits of turmeric.
Turmeric is loaded with benefits provided by mother nature.
The world is now coming back to herbs in the treatment of various diseases due to their no to little side effects as compared to allopathy.
Health benefits of turmeric and curcumin have no denial, and it’s true that natural products have fewer side effects. However, care must be taken while using natural supplements during a particular disease while taking more than one medicine simultaneously and during pregnancy.
Natural herbs taken in medicinal amounts should be administered in recommended dosings.
Overdosage of natural supplements can also cause side effects.
Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers should consult their doctors prior to starting any natural supplements.