What do you know about turmeric? Probably not much, apart from the fact that it is delicious, and it can improve dozens of cooking recipes. But don’t worry, we will tell you everything you need to know about it.
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the roots of a flowering plant that belongs to the ginger family called Curcuma longa – a native plant of India and Southeast Asia.
It has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, one of its main components. Curcumin is also responsible for its famous yellow color. All the benefits of turmeric are essentially due to this incredible element.
In this article, we will tell you about 7 amazing health benefits of turmeric that will instantly convince you to introduce this spice into your diet.
Please note that some of the following claims still need to be scientifically validated through further research!
1. It May Help You Lose Weight
Turmeric can promote weight loss by reducing the inflammation induced by obesity. It won’t make you lose weight by itself, but it can help you slightly during your weight loss journey if you are overweight or if you suffer from a metabolic disorder.
A study published in 2015 in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Studies concluded that a bioavailable form of curcumin (like turmeric) could positively impact weight management in overweight people.
The subjects of this randomized and controlled study shown an enhanced percentage reduction of body fat, increased waistline reduction, hip circumference reduction, and an improved reduction of BMI.
2. It May Treat Joint Problems
Arthritis is a very common and broad condition (there are several different types of arthritis) that is mainly characterized by inflammation in the joints.
This inflammation causes pain, stiffness, and swelling, and it usually has a great impact on the patient’s life. The antioxidant properties of curcumin might reduce all of these symptoms.
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food back in 2016 that analyzed a series of randomized clinical trials concluded that curcumin-enriched extracts (about 1000 mg of curcumin per day) could be effective in the treatment of arthritis. However, the study also points out that more research is needed before validating a definite conclusion.
So, can turmeric help with arthritis? Well, not exactly. The amount of curcumin it contains is probably not enough to have a noticeable effect. Talk to your doctor and ask him if a curcumin supplement could help you deal with your condition.
3. It May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism suggests that curcumin has a moderate hypoglycemic effect.
This means that it may help people with type 2 diabetes bring their high blood sugar levels close to normal values and keep them under control. Moreover, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can also improve insulin resistance, the other main factor that can lead to diabetes mellitus.
4. It May Lower The Risk Of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that is frighteningly common and has no cure. It is currently the leading cause of dementia worldwide.
Turmeric – or curcumin, to be more precise – can increase the levels of a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that is responsible for a few aspects of brain health.
It keeps nerve cells in good shape and regulates the communication between them. Alzheimer’s disease, as well as some other brain-related disorders, is associated with lower levels of the aforementioned protein.
Although there are no studies that can prove that curcumin can slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in humans, the preliminary research on animals is quite promising.
5. It May Lower The Risk Of Heart Disease
The term heart disease is used to refer to a series of conditions that affect your heart. These include coronary artery disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the entire world.
Curcumin may lower the risk of heart disease by improving the function of the endothelium – a layer of cells in the interior of blood and lymphatic vessels that is responsible for regulating blood pressure and blood clotting, among other things.
Many cases of heart disease are precisely linked to a disruption in the endothelium’s function. A study even suggests that curcumin might be as effective as Atorvastatin, a drug used to decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The effect that curcumin has on reducing inflammation and oxidation can also contribute to the prevention of heart disease.
6. It May Lower Triglycerides And Cholesterol Levels
To put it simply, triglycerides are a type of fat present in your blood. When you eat calories that your organism doesn’t need to use right away, it converts them into triglycerides and stores them in fat cells.
If you eat way more calories than you burn, your triglycerides levels will increase over time and contribute to the increasing of the LDL cholesterol, also known as the bad cholesterol. And we all know what high cholesterol can do to your health.
Turmeric seems to lower both triglycerides levels and cholesterol levels, at least in patients with cardiovascular risk factors.
This conclusion is based on research published in the Nutrition Journal in 2017 that analyzed data from several trials. Again, one published paper is not enough to draw a scientific conclusion. But it is a good start.
7. It May Ease The Symptoms Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common digestive problem that affects a considerable amount of people. However, most patients only experience mild symptoms that are easily preventable by managing lifestyle, diet, and stress. Symptoms include abdominal pain and cramps, excess gas, diarrhea or constipation, and mucus in the stool.
Eating turmeric may alleviate some of these symptoms due to the effect of curcumin on the digestive system. There’s even a scientific report that claims that curcumin can be used as an alternative treatment to ulcerative colitis, a more dangerous form of inflammatory bowel disease.