Indian Saffron or Golden Spice are the terms used to describe Turmeric (Haldi). This is a herbaceous and perennial plant, which grows up to about three feet and has leaves that resemble grass and greenish-yellow flowers. The Turmeric rhizome when dried and ground into a powder has a bright yellow-ochre color – this is due to the presence of compounds known as curcuminoids. Most of the health benefits of Turmeric come from the most important compound and most active ingredient – curcumin, a potent antioxidant. Turmeric powder also contains manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. With so much natural goodness jammed into this one ingredient, is there any wonder that there is a range of health benefits of Turmeric – as a tea/powder/whole spice! Here is our top 10 list of benefits – this is not an exhaustive list.
1. Prevents Inflammation
Used for centuries in Ayurveda, Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that heal both internal and external inflammation. In every household, the elders would and continue to recommend a cup of hot milk mixed with the goodness of turmeric powder, especially when someone is ill or has inflammation due to being hurt/falling/accidental bruising.
2. Relieves Pain
Another health benefit of turmeric is its ability to relieve pain. Turmeric is known for relieving arthritic pain and studies show that it is as effective as painkilling drugs that arthritic patients use. The dosage of turmeric as medicine would of course be decided/recommended by a medical practitioner.
3. Improves Liver Functioning
Elevating the functioning of the liver is another health benefit of turmeric, given the antioxidant properties derived from curcumin. It is reputed to prevent damage to the liver especially in those people with various ailments, who may be on highly potent drugs that could potentially damage the liver.
4. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Curcumin is now being actively studied for its potential benefits to reduce the risk of cancer. Studies show that this component of Turmeric could effectively fight some cancers (prostate, pancreatic, and plasma cells cancers).
5. Improves Digestion
The bioactive compounds in Turmeric, especially curcumin, make it fat-soluble, which makes it a great supplement to meals that are highly fatty or rich in oil. The health benefit of turmeric in this case is its ability to act as a digestive and healing agent. Breaking down the fats in foods alleviates gut permeability and inflammation. It is also being studied to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.
6. Antioxidant in Nature
Given its antioxidant properties, turmeric is said to combat oxidative damage that can potentially damage the body. This damage is caused by aging and several other diseases. These antioxidant properties protect the body from free radicals by neutralizing them – curcumin has a particular chemical structure that enables these properties and makes it a potent antioxidant.
7. Improves Brain Health
Curcumin is known to elevate neurotrophic factor that is derived from the brain or brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF. This is the main driver of the process of development and also for producing a protein that promotes the longevity of neurons. The BDNF helps memory and learning and a decrease of this protein leads to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and even depression. Another health benefit of Turmeric is therefore its ability to act as an antidepressant and reverse some of the effects of these ailments.
8. Reduces Aging
The compound Curcumin is also known to delay aging and combat chronic ailments brought about by aging.
9. Improves Heart Health
Curcumin is being studied for its possible effects on reversing the progression of heart disease. This in turn helps to alleviate other complications and illnesses that come about as a result of heart diseases. The compound, Curcumin, improves the functioning of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. The malfunctioning of the endothelium causes irregular blood pressure, blood clotting, and other heart-related issues.
10. Increases Immunity
Curcumin is being studied for its positive effects on the immune system. At low doses, the compound curcumin can elevate the response of antibodies, which in turn helps to fight viruses. Based on early research on this health benefit of turmeric, it is one of the recommended ingredients to help alleviate some symptoms of COVID-19.
There are several external health benefits of Turmeric as well – because of the anti-inflammatory properties it makes a highly effective acne cleanser and is widely used in face beauty products.
Turmeric is one of nature’s best healers and is proven to alleviate a host of health issues and promote wellness. However, for it to have the desired effect, check with your medical practitioner on dosage and the best form of intake. The amount of turmeric or curcumin required by an individual varies and would be dependent on the health condition and the genetic makeup of a person. The health benefits of Turmeric have made it one of the most popular spices and ubiquitous in almost every kitchen. Consuming turmeric in food, or mixed with warm milk, or as a tea – are just some of the ways that this miracle spice can elevate the quality of health.
Wishing you great health!
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