Turmeric root has become one of the trendiest spices on the market these days for its flavor, anti-inflammatory properties and nutritional value. You’ve probably encountered it at least once or twice in “golden milk” latte‘s at your local coffee shop or popping up in baked goods at your local bakery. Why are people suddenly obsessed with this bright orange root? What are some of the potential turmeric benefits worth knowing about?
Well, it’s not turmeric’s debut in the culinary or medicinal world by any means. It’s actually been around for quite some time. Its origins in medicine date back 4,000 years to the Vedic cultures of India where it was used in cooking as well as religious practice. Its bright orange yellow color made it useful in religious ceremony as well as the coloring of cheeses, butter and other foods. It was also used to curb pain, ailments of the liver, arthritis as well as digestive issues. It’s a pillar ingredient in Ayurvedic cooking and medicinal practices for its many benefits and potential contributions to a long life, “Ayurveda” translates to “science of long life” in Sanskrit. It’s a common ingredient in curries, sauces and many Southeast Asian dishes, and now in the Western food conscious as well.
Turmeric possesses both gastronomic and medicinal qualities that make it a powerful root on multiple levels, and something worth implementing into your diet in one form or another. Stir it into your coffee, smoothie or protein shake. Take it orally for inflammation or add it to your baked goods for a sweet and spicy flavor twist. When it comes to turmeric benefits, there are many to go over and we want to give you full coverage of this magical root and all of the properties it possesses.
1. Turmeric May Contain Bioactive Compounds
One of the active ingredients in turmeric is curcumin, a bioactive compound alongside other curcuminoids that’s got strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric contains a larger amount per dose of these active compounds than other spices and supplements, making it efficient for your body to digest and absorb the nutrients.
Since curcumin is fat soluble, and therefore absorbs into the body via fat stored in your cells. It might make it more worthwhile to consume turmeric mixed in with other fatty foods like milk, cheese, oil or animal fat.
2. Turmeric May Be Super Anti-Inflammatory
One of the greatest turmeric benefits is its anti-inflammatory property. Inflammation is, on the whole, a useful biological response to protect your body from germs and other foreign invaders. However, if inflammation becomes chronic and persists at low levels for extended amounts of time, research has shown that the consistent attacking of tissues may lead to harmful degenerative conditions.
Turmeric is naturally anti-inflammatory and might even be as effective in reducing potentially harmful inflammation in the body as anti-inflammatory drugs, but without the side effects.
How does it do that, exactly? It blocks a molecule believed to play a large role in chronic diseases called NF-kB. Preventing undue inflammation at the molecular level can have a pretty amazing chain reaction of events within your body and may even prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, chronic pain, arthritis and more.
3. Turmeric May Have Powerful Antioxidant Properties
As your body ages, it goes through a process of oxidative damage which produces free radicals, highly reactive molecules that bond and react with fat, protein and DNA in your cells and cause damage. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent this cellular damage and guess what’s loaded with pro-antioxidant activity? Turmeric. It helps boost your body’s natural antioxidant activity and blocks the free radicals as well. Booyah.
4. Turmeric May Help Lessen Symptoms of Depression
Depression causes a reduction in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activity and may lead to shrinking of the hippocampus, the part of your brain central to memory and the retention of information. Turmeric aids in supporting BDNF levels and potentially could reverse some of this degenerative activity.
There’s also some evidence that turmeric and its active ingredients boost the brain’s production of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, both linked with feelings of happiness and elation.
5. Turmeric May Be Great for Arthritis
This one’s linked to the inflammation point, but the potential positive effects can’t be understated. Rheumatoid arthritis involves inflammation in the swelling and tenderness of the joints, and turmeric’s anti-inflammatory processes may help ease symptoms. In certain studies RA patients who were prescribed turmeric experienced significant improvements in their symptoms with very few adverse side effects.
6. Turmeric May Help Prevent and Treat Cancer
Turmeric’s active ingredient curcumin may help reduce the spread and growth of cancer at the molecular level. Certain studies show that it may kill cancerous cells and reduce the growth of fresh blood cells in tumors. It’s also been shown to reduce the spread of cancer through different parts of the body.
7. Turmeric May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Turmeric may help improve the lining of your blood vessels which in turn aids in heart function through reversing endothelial dysfunction. If your blood vessels can’t regular blood pressure this could lead to blood clotting and a variety of other contributors to heart disease, the primary cause of death across the world. One study found that turmeric was as effective as exercise in improving blood vessel function as well as some prescription-strength drugs.
8. Turmeric May Help Treat and Prevent Diabetes
Although the studies done on diabetes in particular have only been done on animals, and not humans, there are still points worth noting that may point to encouraging benefits to diabetic symptoms. One study found a significant decrease in blood sugar in rats with type 2 diabetes and an increase in plasma insulin.
In addition to this potential positive effect, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties previously discussed may also contribute to a reduction in physical factors that contribute to diabetes.
9. Turmeric May Help Improve Skin Health
Turmeric works at the molecular level as well as skin deep. Turmeric benefits include its anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant properties and antimicrobial capabilities that may make it an effective treatment for many skin conditions. Inflammation of the skin causes acne, psoriasis and eczema, all of which have the potential to benefit from a healthy diet of vitamins and minerals that include turmeric.
10. Turmeric May Be Anti-Aging
Along with all of these potential turmeric benefits comes a potential increase in longevity and long-term health of cells within the body. Through potentially reducing risk factors for heart disease as well as diabetes, reducing the presence of free radicals in the body and reducing inflammation overall — wellbeing and resiliency may be increased.
Here are some supplements and turmeric products worth incorporating into your nutritional and wellbeing routines.
BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin
These turmeric supplements offer one of the highest potencies available and are enhanced with BioPerine. This 1500mg supplement has 95% curcuminoids per serving and 10mg of BioPerine, a compound found in black pepper. This supplement is all natural, non-GMO and contains no fillers, preservatives or binders. It’s made of high-quality ingredients that aid in increased bioavailability and absorption.
FGO Organic Turmeric Root Powder
This organic turmeric powder is 100% raw, harvested from turmeric plants in India and important directly from there. The powder is produced directly from turmeric rhizomes that are packed with curcumin, the key active ingredient with a whole host of potential health benefits. This product is certified USDA organic and comes in 8oz, 16oz and 32oz resealable bags.
Simply Organic Turmeric Root
If you’re interested in primarily using turmeric root in your cooking, this spice format is the way to go. It’s organic Alleppey turmeric with at least a 4% curcumin content inside, filled with nutritional and medicinal properties. It comes in a glass bottle and is certified organic as well as kosher. Simply Organic as a brand is dedicated to supporting sustainably organic farming communities, so you know your purchase is going towards an ingredient that’s good for your body and good for the environment.