Turmeric is a precious spice that has become popular in many Asian countries since ancient times. Specifically, it belongs to the ginger family and is a valuable ingredient of the culinary traditions of Asian cultures.
The turmeric root supplies the spice that is ground into powder or produced in a form of paste. The spice provides the dishes with vibrant flavor.
Moreover, curcumin is actually the main active ingredient found in turmeric, which has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin also acts as a powerful antioxidant, so that it blocks harmful chemical reactions. In addition, turmeric is packed with potassium, manganese, iron, fiber and Vitamin B6.
The Medicinal Properties of Turmeric Include:
Provides Joint Pain Relief
Arthritis sufferers experience joint stiffness, pain and swelling. But, turmeric has an ability to alleviate all these unpleasant symptoms triggered by arthritis. Additionally, it can also enhance mobility.
According to studies, curcumin can act as effectively as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but without triggering any adverse side-effects. It may be as effective as the following drugs: Advil, aspirin, Celebrex, and Tylenol. That’s not all, curcumin can also reduce the side-effects of prolonged NSAID use, like nausea, vomiting, ulcers, internal bleeding, headache, dizziness, and liver damage.
Prevents the Development of Cognitive Disorders
The regular consumption of the spice can help in the prevention of dementia as well as Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, sticky protein plaques lead to the development of these cognitive disorders. As aging, they build up between nerve cells and prevent nutrients from penetrating brain cells. It results in impaired memory and brain function. But, turmeric can help in the dissolution of these damaging proteins, thus promoting cell regeneration
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Curcumin has an ability to lower triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels in the blood. On the other hand, high bad cholesterol can harden and narrow the arteries, thus leading to poor blood circulation, and raising the possibility of stroke and heart attack.
Also, triglycerides are blood fats derived from the consumed food. The body uses them to create energy. But, high levels of triglycerides can thicken artery walls, which may increase the risk of developing heart disease.
As mentioned above, curcumin can reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides, thus preventing any cardiovascular injury. It prevents platelets from sticking together, which reduces the risk of blood clotting.
Plus, turmeric is high in Vitamin B6, which can decrease homocysteine. It is an amino acid and a protein metabolism byproduct. In addition, high homocysteine levels can thicken blood vessel walls. However, this vitamin present in turmeric can prevent this condition.
Insulin is a hormone that helps the body utilize the glucose from the food. Turmeric can decrease insulin resistance, keep optimal blood sugar levels and increase the effectiveness of diabetic medication.
Curcumin helps the gallbladder release bile as well as break down fat. It is an interesting fact that in Germany, turmeric is usually prescribed to fight digestive issues. Namely, it can lower the frequency of colitis flares because it reduces intestinal inflammation. Also, it can alleviate heartburn as it neutralizes stomach acid.
Supports Weight Loss
Turmeric can reduce triglycerides, bad cholesterol, glucose, and liver fat, thus shrinking fatty tissue density and slowing fat cell growth. Plus, it can also accelerate the process of burning fat for body temperature regulation. Moreover, it can also lower the level of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. In this way, it speeds up the process of losing weight.
According to a 2013 study, the regular turmeric intake can help fight depression. To be more specific, it elevates the levels of the mood-stimulating chemicals norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. It is good to know that serotonin boosts memory and mindset, dopamine increases pleasure, whereas norepinephrine promotes sleeping, learning, and alertness.
Strengthens the Immune System
Turmeric possesses lipopolysaccharide that fights any germs and boosts the immune system. In short, it can destroy fungi, viruses, and bacteria. So, in case you notice the first symptoms of a common cold, prepare and consume homemade turmeric tea. In this way, you can reduce the duration and severity of your cold.
Normalizes Blood Pressure
There is no doubt that turmeric serves as an exceptional natural diuretic since it eliminates the excess fluid and sodium from the body. It can also reduce high blood pressure due to its excellent blood-thinning capabilities. It is a fact that you can regulate your blood pressure levels by reducing cholesterol and keeping healthy arteries. Also, curcumin can dilate blood vessels, boost blood circulation and support good heart function.
Helps Fight Cancer
According to a recent review of about 700 clinical trials, curcumin may be compared to the conventional drugs for treating lung, liver, colon, breast, esophagus, and prostate cancer. Curcumin has been found to inhibit cancer cell growth and promote cancer cell death. Actually, it can shut down the blood vessels, which feed tumors.
Turmeric can also suppress the synthesis of a protein included in the formation of tumors, thus preventing cancer. The researchers form the University of Texas are examining the effectiveness of turmeric on fighting pancreatic, skin and oral cancer.
How to Use Turmeric:
You can find turmeric in a form of a ground spice, extract, tincture or capsule. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends the following therapeutic doses of turmeric:
- Spice (Half a teaspoon added to food, prepared as tea or paste)
- Tincture (15-30 drops, 4 times daily)
- Curcumin capsules (500 mg, 3 times daily)
- Fluid extract (30-90 drops on a daily basis).
How to Increase the Bioavailability of Turmeric:
In order to increase the curcumin’s bioavailability, i.e., the absorption of curcumin, you should mix it with some black pepper. It has been found that this combination increases the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%. Therefore, all you need to do is combine some turmeric with 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Also, the effectiveness of this remedy can be further enhanced by adding a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. In other words, the oil carries the compound into the bloodstream as curcumin dissolves in fat very quickly.
You can add the resulted mixture of turmeric, olive oil, and black pepper to:
- Egg dishes
However, in case you opt for a supplement variety, buy the supplement that contains 95% curcuminoids, piperine or black pepper extract.
Prior to using turmeric, consult your physician in case you:
– Have an upcoming surgery – 2 weeks before undergoing a surgery, you should stop taking turmeric since it may thin the blood. Plus, it may elevate the possibility of bleeding as well as interfere with the effects of anticoagulant medication like aspirin, Pradaxa, Plavix, and Coumadin.
– Suffer from gallstones – Although turmeric can prevent the development of gallstones, but in case you already have gallstones, the elevated motility may cause them to lodge in the bile duct.
– Suffer from diabetes – You should create a balance between turmeric and diabetic medication to prevent low blood sugar.