9 Surprising Health Benefits of Turmeric

Posted by Mike Miryala on

One of the most nutritional supplements you can find in existence is Turmeric.  This bright yellow-orange spice is commonly used in sauces and curries. It has been widely used for its medicinal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties for thousands of years. 

Below are some major health benefits of turmeric, which is backed by many high-quality studies.

 

1. Turmeric contains beneficial bioactive compounds

Science has backed the fact that turmeric contains compounds with huge medicinal value. The compounds are known to have curcuminoids and the most important of them is curcumin. 

Curcumin, which is the main ingredient in turmeric is a very strong antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. The curcumin content in turmeric is around 3% by weight.

However, most studies use turmeric extracts with curcumin dosages of more than 1 gram per day. And this can be difficult to attain just by using the turmeric spice in your food. 

So, to enjoy the full effects of turmeric, you need supplements that contain a significant amount of curcumin. But, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. That’s more reason why black pepper, which contains piperine, is often consumed with it to boost the absorption of curcumin by 2000%.

You can also take curcumin with a fatty meal because it is fat-soluble. 

 

2. Turmeric helps to prevent oxidative damage

The antioxidant properties of turmeric make it suitable to counter oxidative damage, which is believed to trigger aging and many diseases. 

The free radicals produced in the body tend to react with organic substances like proteins, fatty acids, or DNA. But the curcumin content in turmeric is a potent antioxidant that helps to neutralize the effect of these free radicals. 

More so, curcumin supports the activity of the antioxidant enzymes of your body.  This way, curcumin blocks the action of free radicals directly and stimulates the antioxidant defenses of your body.

 

3. Turmeric offers anti-inflammatory effects

The curcumin content of turmeric is strongly anti-inflammatory and it’s as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs, but without any side effects. 

Although acute, short-term inflammation helps the body tackle foreign invaders and repair damages, it can become a problem when it becomes chronic and begins to attack your body’s tissues.

Studies have shown a link between chronic, low-level inflammation with chronic, Western diseases, including metabolic syndrome, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and various degenerative conditions.

 

4. Turmeric helps to lower the risk of brain diseases

Brain neurons are capable of forming new connections and multiplying to increase in number. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a growth hormone, is mainly involved in this process. 

However, many brain disorders are caused by a decrease in the level of this hormone, including Alzheimer’s disease and depression.  But curcumin, the rich content of turmeric- has been found to increase brain levels of BDNF.

Curcumin helps in reversing or delaying many brain diseases and age-related declines in brain function. More so, given its effect on BDNF levels, it may improve your memory and make you smarter.

 

5. Turmeric is a good anti-cancer agent

Cancer, which is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth, is a deadly disease and comes in different forms. However, curcumin supplement has been studied to show anti-cancer properties. It has been found to disrupt cancer growth, development, and spread. 

Also, studies have shown that it reduces angiogenesis (new blood cells forming in tumors), metastasis (spread of cancerous cells), and contributes to the death of cancerous cells at the molecular level.

 

6. Turmeric may help lower the risk of heart disease

The number one cause of death worldwide is heart disease. It is a complicated condition that can be caused by many factors. However, the curcumin present in turmeric may help lower the risk of this condition. 

Perhaps curcumin works to support heart health by improving the function of the endothelium – the lining of your blood vessels. 

Heart diseases are usually caused by endothelial dysfunction- a condition where the endothelium loses the ability to regulate blood pressure and blood clotting. 

But curcumin has been studied to improve endothelial function. One study shows that it’s as effective as the drug Atorvastatin. 

 

7. Turmeric may help treat Arthritis and slow down the process of aging

The curcumin content of turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, and it may help with arthritis. A study showed that when curcumin was given to people with rheumatoid arthritis, it produced a greater effect than an anti-inflammatory drug. 

Many studies took notes of the effects of curcumin on arthritis and noticed improvements in various symptoms. 

More so, inflammation and oxidation have a huge role in aging, but curcumin may play a crucial role in slowing down this process. Besides, it helps to fight age-related chronic diseases

 

8. Turmeric may be useful in treating and preventing Alzheimer’s disease

The leading cause of dementia in the world is Alzheimer’s disease, but unfortunately, there’s no good treatment available. So it is important to know how to prevent this condition in the first place. 

Curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. More so, studies found that curcumin helps to clear amyloid plaques- the buildup of protein tangles, which is a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease. 

However, more studies are still ongoing to determine whether curcumin slows down or reverses the progression of this condition.

 

9. Turmeric helps in treating depression

Studies have shown that the curcumin in turmeric is effective as an antidepressant. Depression has been linked to a shrinking hippocampus (the region of the brain involved in learning and memory) and reduced levels of BDNF. But curcumin boosts these BDNF levels, reversing some of these changes. 

More so, curcumin has also been shown to boost the brain's neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. 

 

Final Remark

Turmeric is one of the best spices with huge health benefits. Its most active compound curcumin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that helps to prevent a number of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease. It also helps to delay aging, boost memory, and treat depression amongst other benefits. So you can get a turmeric supplement and enjoy these benefits.