Turmeric, also called Curcuma Longa, is a spice that is commonly used in Indian cooking. Not only does it add a pungent odour to Indian food, it also flavours it in addition to adding a number of different health benefits to the food you are eating.
Turmeric has so many health benefits it is difficult to list all of them in this article. In fact, there are thousands of published research articles that discuss the health benefits of turmeric. Primarily, the compound contained in turmeric called curcumin is what has been studied extensively.
Turmeric is widely known as one of the most powerful spices in the world when it comes to our health. With it’s benefits being identified over a 1000s of years ago, this spice has been used for it’s medicinal properties for generations.
In this article, we shall take a look at the uses of turmeric spice and how it can improve your health if you make it a part of your daily diet.
- The Basics of Turmeric:
- Health Benefits of Turmeric:
The Basics of Turmeric:
Turmeric is also called Curcuma Longa – the plant that is native to India and many other South Asian countries. It is the root of this plant that is used as turmeric spice.
Turmeric is rich in a compound called curcumin which has been shown through clinical studies to have a number of positive health benefits. The good news is that it hardly has any side effects and can be used in a number of different ways to improve your health.
Now let’s take a look at some of the uses of turmeric.
Health Benefits of Turmeric:
Here are some of the amazing health benefits of turmeric.
Benefits of Turmeric For Joints:
Turmeric possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties. One of the common problems as we get older is increasing stiffness of the joints and joint pains. Conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can set in and can make normal activity quite a task. In fact, as the condition is progress, quality of life can be greatly affected.
Turmeric is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants which can help relieve inflammation that takes place in these joint conditions. The harmful free radicals that are generated can damage the joints and can worsen arthritis. The antioxidant property of turmeric can fight this and can protect the joints.
Do note that turmeric can be useful in only mild joint disorders. In cases where the joint involvement is a lot more significant, medication and other medical treatments may be required.
Benefits of Turmeric For The Brain:
Besides curcumin, turmeric also contains a compound called aromatic turmerone. This compound has been found through clinical research to promote the growth of the building blocks called stem cells within the brain. The stem cells are responsible for the formation of new brain cells that can help hold information, improve memory and enhance concentration. In fact, it is believed that by increasing the formation of the stem cells, conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and stroke can either be prevented or treated a lot more rapidly.
Not just that, curcumin is also believed to help improve memory and can be beneficial for those patients who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Many individuals have a spoonful of turmeric and a glass of water every morning. This may be quite helpful when it comes to enhancing the power of your mind.
Benefits of Turmeric For Cancer:
Curcumin has also got powerful anti-cancer properties. This has been proven through clinical research and as a compound has been endorsed by global cancer organisation such as Cancer research UK.
It is believed that curcumin may be able to kill cancer cells in conditions such as bowel cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer and stomach cancer.
In addition to this, curcumin may be a useful additive in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. Some patients may not necessarily do well with chemotherapy because they are resistant to the medication. This is called chemo-resistance and sometimes curcumin may help break this barrier. This has been particularly useful in the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma which is a severe form of pancreatic cancer.
It is not very clear how exactly curcumin appears to improve and enhance cancer therapy. It is partly understood that curcumin could improve the expression of genes which is essential when it comes to treatment.
In short, curcumin is a very good agent to prevent cancer and turmeric has powerful anti-ancer properties.
Benefits of Turmeric For Stomach:
In India, a large number of individuals suffer from digestive problems. Stomach bloating, hyper acidity, belching and burping, excessive flatulence and loose motions are common health problems that can be rather distressing.
Turmeric juice has been found to be extremely useful in the management of hyper acidity. This is because turmeric itself can stimulate the gallbladder to release powerful digestive enzymes. These enzymes can help improve digestion and reduce the formation of gas and hence reduce bloating.
Benefits of Turmeric For Skin:
If you are looking for skin that grows naturally, try using turmeric as a part of your cosmetic armamentarium. We already are fully aware that turmeric is used in marriage ceremonies in the form of a paste on the face to brighten it up.
The powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin is what helps brighten up the skin. Not only that, it can also improve the skin’s complexion and can rejuvenate dull skin.
When turmeric paste is applied around the eye, it may help in reducing dark circles. If you suffer from acne, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric can help fight bacteria and reduce the redness and swelling that accompanies acne on the face and rest of the body. Combining turmeric with apple cider vinegar may help you in further. Scarring and hyper pigmentation of the skin that accompanies healing of acne lesions can be reduced by applying turmeric paste. You may remember the popular Vicco turmeric advertisement that claimed to help this way.
There are a number of different skin conditions that can cause a great deal of itching, redness and swelling. Psoriasis, a condition that is quite rampant across the world, is characterised by the presence of itchy, scaly skin over the elbows and the legs. Clinical research has found that turmeric can reduce the redness and can calm down the skin inflammation that the company psoriasis and eczema.
With the blistering sun and heat upon as this summer, sunburn is a common problem. Turmeric is nowadays included in many moisturising creams and has been recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology to help prevent the development of brown spots and fine lines that are a result of excessive exposure to sun. Just applying it turmeric based skin ointment can help prevent damage of the skin by ultraviolet rays.
Finally, turmeric can also prevent the appearance of stretch marks. This is because the antioxidant properties and healing properties of turmeric can help rejuvenate skin and regrow healthy cells. The moisturising effect of turmeric can remove dead cells and promote the growth of new ones quickly and effectively.
Related Read: Types of Food that can-do Wonders for you Skin
Benefits of Turmeric On Hair:
A common problem that we face in India is a dry scalp and dandruff. But dry and itchy scalp can be extremely irritating and also rather embarrassing. The antiseptic properties that turmeric possesses can help fight dandruff effectively. Not just that, the anti-inflammatory properties as well can combat dry skin and soften it, reducing dandruff effectively.
Just mixing a small amount of turmeric powder with coconut oil and applying it to your scalp can be quite beneficial in rejuvenating your scalp.
In addition to this repairing the skin on the scalp, experts believe that turmeric can also help prevent hair loss and strengthen hair follicles. Of course, this clinical effect is more often seen in those who have dandruff.
So, the next time you find yourself with an itchy scalp or are worried about embarrassing dandruff, reach for some turmeric and apply it to your scalp with some coconut oil for effective relief.
Benefits of Turmeric On Teeth:
Does turmeric have any role when it comes to the health of your teeth? Well, it is not extremely clear as to how it helps, but according to certain dentists, turmeric can help whiten your teeth. The anti-inflammatory properties may be helpful when it comes to maintaining gum health and may reduce the chance of development of gum disease.
In one clinical study, curcumin was found to prevent a condition called gingivitis which is bad gum disease. This is because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Similarly, other studies have found that it could be useful in the treatment of a condition called periodontitis. There is a possible role in the prevention of oral cancer.
Please note that turmeric should not be used as a primary mode of maintaining dental hygiene. You could however use toothpastes that contain turmeric and other essential elements such as fluoride that are important to maintain good dental health and hygiene.
Benefits of Turmeric For Weight Loss:
We are all looking for the best and easiest way to lose weight. Gaining weight can be quite a problem and is accompanied by a number of different health issues. But when it comes to losing weight, exercise and diet remain the best and most effective way to do so.
That being said, adding on supplements and possibly even a spice such as turmeric may help reduce weight. The problem with excessive weight gain is the accumulation of fat. Fat contains many inflammatory compounds that can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses. The primary underlying process in all these conditions is the development of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is triggered by inflammation of the blood vessels that leads to be deposition of fat and blood cells on the inner lining.
Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin in turmeric may help suppress inflammation within the blood vessels and within fat. Over a period of time, the reduced inflammation may lead to loss of fat cells and reduction in body weight making it one of the best uses for turmeric.
Weight loss with turmeric is not really hearsay. In a clinical study that was performed in 2009, curcumin was found to suppress the growth of fat tissue in mice.
If you do plan to take turmeric for weight loss, make sure you speak to your doctor first. This is because turmeric itself or any supplements that contain turmeric may interact with certain medications. Also, do not expect turmeric to work miracles and help you lose weight dramatically. It should be combined with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.
Related Read: Home Remedies to Reduce Weight
Benefit of Turmeric For Cough:
For generations now, turmeric has been used for it’s medicinal properties. One of the uses of turmeric is in the treatment of cough. Due to the antibacterial properties that turmeric possesses from curcumin, it is useful in fighting simple throat infections that can lead to a cough.
Do bear in mind that it is a useful additive to treatments that are written by the doctor. For example, if you have a bad chest infection, it may help in boosting immunity and reducing cough to a small extent. You will still likely require cough syrups and other allopathic treatments such as antibiotics.
Using turmeric mixed with a glass of warm milk can help treat your cough. Some people combine it with ginger, mint and sugar to make an effective natural solution to treat cough.
It is not just for one reason that turmeric is regarding as one of the best spices in the world. With a host of health benefits, it probably is the most powerful. Curcumin has so many research proven health benefits that even books have been written on them. If you are looking for a natural way to stay healthy and fit, and don’t like taking medicines or seeing the doctor frequently, make sure you reach for a spoonful of turmeric ever day. Mix it in milk of just add it to your curries to give you that health hit your body so deserves!!