Turmeric is one of the most popular spices in the world. This popularity is evidenced by the fact that you can find a selection of organic turmeric powder in many store shelves worldwide. It is best known as a favorite spice in the Indian cuisine, which infuses that bold color and flavor to popular dishes such as curry. As impressive as turmeric is for its culinary applications, it is even more impressive in terms of the array of health benefits it can offer.
Throughout history, turmeric has earned its nickname as the Indian Saffron or the Golden Spice. But what few people know is that it has a 4,000-year history when it comes to medicinal use that is as prized as its potent flavor!
What is Turmeric and Curcumin?
Turmeric is a perennial herb that belongs to the ginger family. This herb is native to India. The rhizome of the plant is used for producing this spice, which is dried before it is processed into powder form used in cooking. The smell of turmeric is comparable to that of mustard but the taste is similar to pepper. Curcumin is the active ingredient that is present in this “super herb”.
Health experts believe that curcumin is the most important ingredient found in turmeric that enables it to offer several health benefits. It is also an ingredient present in the best turmeric supplements found in the market today. Discover the evidence-based health benefits that these two are known to deliver, in case you want to incorporate it into your dietary routine.
Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
These are some of the proven health benefits that you can get from this spice:
- Curcumin, which is found in turmeric, contains natural anti-inflammatory properties. This is an important ingredient that enables your body to repair damage while fighting pathogens like bacteria. With regular intake of turmeric pills or adding this spice to your diet, you can effectively treat and prevent diseases.
- Turmeric is rich in antioxidants that slow down the aging process of the human body. Oxidative damage is cited as the primary cause of aging and other diseases associated with natural aging. Regular consumption of turmeric helps to fight free radicals and flush them out from your system. The curcumin found in turmeric can also enhance the body’s own antioxidant enzymes to improve its natural defense mechanism.
- The intake of curcumin can improve brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This substance can lower risk for brain disease and improve brain function. When there is lack of BDNF, a type of growth hormone in the brain, it can cause a variety of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Intake of curcumin can therefore reverse that and sharpen your brain function.
- Consuming at least 500 mg of curcumin per week is linked to higher lipid profile (such as HDL or good cholesterol). For this reason, turmeric and curcumin can be attributed to lowering risk of heart disease. Curcumin is also linked to boosting endothelium (lining of blood vessels) function.
- Turmeric can provide relief against arthritis. This is one of the most common conditions plaguing individuals across all age groups. The anti-inflammatory compound present in curcumin (which is an active ingredient of turmeric) can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis more effectively than some types of anti-inflammatory drugs, studies have shown.
- Turmeric can help treat cystic fibrosis. This is made possible by the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties found in curcumin. The intake of turmeric as part of your diet or through supplements is often recommended for those suffering from chronic respiratory infections.
- There are some scientific studies that support turmeric’s ability to prevent (and to some extent, treat) cancer. In particular, studies have shown that curcumin can stop the spread of cancer and the growth of new blood vessels in cancerous tumors. More studies are currently being done to support this claim but it would not be a surprise to see turmeric and curcumin being integrated into cancer treatments in the future.
Can You Take Turmeric and Curcumin as Supplements?
As the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin become widely known, there is also an increase in the supplements available in the market. If you are looking for the best turmeric supplement, make sure you carefully read labels.
Check to see the amount of turmeric powder and curcumin compounds to ensure that you are getting the benefits that these substances have to offer. Aside from taking them in pill form, it is also possible to find organic turmeric and curcumin powder that you can sprinkle onto your food if you want to enjoy its benefits and flavor.