Turmeric is more than just a popular and potent spice. Turmeric may just be the most effective nutritional supplement that exists today within the realm of holistic health. Numerous studies have shown that turmeric provides your brain and body with major health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and that having just a little bit of turmeric per day can provide you with significant health benefits.
The health benefits of turmeric are vast, and it’s very easy and convenient to integrate turmeric into your daily routine without any side effects. The following are the top 10 evidence-backed health benefits that turmeric may provide for you.
1) There Are Bioactive Compounds in Turmeric That Have Powerful Medicinal Characteristics
Turmeric is a popular spice world-wide. If you have every enjoyed curry, turmeric is what makes curry yellow. In India, it has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb and a spice. Science has recently started backing up what people in India have known for a very long time – that turmeric contains compounds with powerful medicinal properties that work as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The anti-inflammatory properties within its compounds make turmeric stand out as a crucial spice for those interested in natural medicine.
Those compounds are called curcuminoids, with curcumin being the most important one. Turmeric and curcumin go hand in hand as curcumin is turmeric’s main active ingredient. It is a strong antioxidant and provides potent anti-inflammatory effects. However, there is not a very high curcumin content in turmeric alone. By weight, it is only at about 3%.
A majority of the studies that have been conducted on the herb use turmeric extracts containing mainly curcumin, with the dosages often being in excess 1 gram a day. It can be difficult to reach those curcumin levels by only using turmeric as a spice in your food. So, in order to experience the full effects of the properties within turmeric, you must take a supplement containing a high amount of curcumin if you want to receive the full turmeric benefits.
The bloodstream, unfortunately, does not absorb curcumin very well. Consuming black pepper along with turmeric does help as the active ingredient in black pepper is piperine. Curcumin contains the natural substance, piperine, which helps to enhance curcumin absorption by as much as 2,000%. Piperine is contained in the top curcumin supplements, which increases its effectiveness substantially. Curcumin is fat-soluble as well, so taking it with a fatty meal can be beneficial for those wanting to receive the health benefits of turmeric at the highest level. Adding turmeric into a meal is a great way to start, but piperine is essential for the absorption of the turmeric health benefits.
2) Curcumin is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Substance
Inflammation is critical. It helps your body fight off foreign invaders and plays a role in repairing the damage. If there was no inflammation, pathogens, such as bacteria, could overtake your body easily and kill you. Although short-term, acute inflammation is highly beneficial, it also can become a serious problem when it becomes chronic and attacks the tissues of your own body inappropriately.
Scientists currently believe that low-level, chronic inflammation plays a significant role in nearly all chronic Western diseases. That includes various degenerative conditions, Alzheimer’s, metabolic syndrome, cancer, and heart disease.
That means that anything that might help to fight chronic inflammation is potentially important in helping to treat those diseases. Curcumin is highly anti-inflammatory. It is actually so powerful that it is just as effective is some of the anti-inflammatory drugs that are available, without any negative side effects. It blocks the molecule NF-kB, which travels into the nuclei of the body’s cells and the turns on the genes that relate to inflammation. It is thought that NF-kB plays a significant role in numerous chronic diseases.
Without getting into all of the details (since inflammation is very complex), the main point is that curcumin is a type of bioactive compound that fights inflammation on the molecular level, which may help those who deal with the side effects of inflammation.
3) Turmeric Significantly Increases the Body’s Antioxidant Capacity
Oxidative damage is thought to be among the leading mechanisms behind numerous diseases and the aging process. It involves highly reactive molecules called free radicals with unpaired electrons. There is a tendency for free radicals to react with major organic substances, like DNA, proteins, or fatty acids. The main reason why antioxidants are highly beneficial is that they help to protect your body against free radicals.
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, and based on its chemical structure, it has the ability to neutralize free radicals. Curcumin also boosts antioxidant enzyme activity inside your body. This results in curcumin giving free radicals a one-two punch. It directly blocks them and then stimulates the antioxidant defenses of your own body, which can significantly help with issues like chronic pain and rheumatoid arthritis.
4) Curcumin Gives the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor A Boost, Which is Lined to Lower Risk of Brain Disease and Improved Brain Function
In the past, it was thought that neurons could not divide and multiply past early childhood. However, it is known now that this does occur. Neurons can form new connections. However, in certain parts of the brain, they are also able to increase in number and multiply.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is one of the major drivers of the process. This growth hormone functions inside the brain. Numerous common brain disorders are linked with decreased levels of the hormone, including Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Curcumin can increase the levels of the hormone inside the brain, which means that curcumin may prevent or delay these issues.
The benefits of turmeric may be effective in reversing or delaying numerous brain diseases along with age-reductions in brain function. It might also make you smarter and improve your memory, which does make sense given the effects it has on brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels. However, in order to confirm this, controlled studies on humans are needed.
5) Curcumin Can Help Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
The world’s leading cause of death is heart disease. For many decades researchers have been studying it and have learned a great deal about why it occurs. Heart disease is highly complex and there are a number of different things that contribute to it. Curcumin may help to reverse many of the stages involved in the heart disease process, which is just another one of the many benefits of turmeric.
The major benefit of curcumin in terms of heart disease is perhaps that it improves the endothelium’s function. The endothelium is the lining of the blood vessels. It is widely known that endothelial dysfunction is one of the major drivers of heart disease. It involves your endothelium being unable to regulate blood clotting, blood pressure, and other important functions.
There have been several studies that have suggested that curcumin helps to improve endothelial function. It was found in one study that it is just as effective as exercise. Another study showed it worked just as well as a drug called Atorvastatin. Curcumin also reduces oxidation and inflammation, which also plays a major role in heart disease.
There was one study where 121 people were randomly assigned, who were having coronary artery bypass surgery. They were given either 4 grams of curcumin or a placebo daily, starting a couple of days before surgery and then after. The group that was given curcumin showed a 65% reduced risk for suffering a heart attack inside the hospital.
These studies show that the benefits from turmeric can be immense, while still remaining natural and easily accessible for those wanting to try a holistic approach.
6) Turmeric May Help to Prevent (And Maybe Even Treat) Cancer
Cancer is an awful disease that is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of active cells. There are a number of different types of cancers, while still sharing a number of things in common. It appears that curcumin supplements do affect some forms of cancer.
Curcumin has been studied as a type of beneficial herb for cancer treatment. It has been found that it affects cancer development, growth, and spreads on the molecular level. It has been shown in studies that it may contribute to killing cancerous cells as well as reducing metastasis (cancer spread) angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels inside of tumors.
Numerous studies have indicated that curcumin might reduce cancerous cell growth inside the lab ad inhibit tumor growth in test animals. The issue of whether high-dose curcumin (preferably with piperine or another absorption enhancer) can help to treat cancer in human beings has no been properly studied yet.
However, there is some evidence that it might help to prevent cancer from developing, to begin with, particularly cancers such as colorectal cancer and other digestive system cancers. A 30-day study was conducted with 44 men who had lesions in their colons, with some of them being cancerous. They were given 4 grams of curcumin on a daily basis, which saw the number of lesions reduced by 40%.
Perhaps someday turmeric and curcumin will be used alongside conventional cancer treatment. It is too early to know for sure right now, but it looks quite promising.
7) Curcumin May Be Useful in Helping to Prevent and Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
The world’s most common neurodegenerative disease is Alzheimer’s disease. It is also the leading cause of dementia. To date, there is not a good treatment for Alzheimer’s available. This is why it’s imperative to include important health components, such as turmeric, into your daily routine as a preventative measure.
There might be some good news around the corner since it has been shown that curcumin crosses the blood-brain barrier. Through research, it is widely known that oxidative damage and inflammation play a major role in Alzheimer’s disease.
Also, one of the major features of Alzheimer’s disease is the buildup of amyloid plaques, which are protein tangles. It has been shown through research that curcumin can help to clear those plaques. Whether or not curcumin can actually reverse or slow down Alzheimer’s disease progression in humans is unknown currently, it needs to undergo further research.
8) Arthritis Patients Respond Positively to Curcumin Supplements
In Western countries, arthritis is a very common problem. There are several different kinds, with most of them involving inflammation inside the joints. Since curcumin is a very powerful anti-inflammatory substance, it makes sense that it might help fight the symptoms of arthritis, such as aches and pains.
It has been shown that this is true in several studies. In one study with individuals who had rheumatoid arthritis, it was shown that curcumin was more effective compared to an anti-inflammatory drug. Numerous other studies have studied the effects that curcumin has on arthritis. Notable improvements have been shown for different symptoms.
9) Studies Show That Curcumin Helps to Fight Depression
There has been some promise shown through research that curcumin can treat depression. There was a controlled trial conducted with 60 individuals with depression. The subjects were randomized into three different groups. One group was given a gram of curcumin, another group was given Prozac, and the third group took both curcumin and Prozac.
After 6 weeks, it was shown that curcumin resulted in improvements similar to those provided by Prozac. The group that fared the best was the one that took both curcumin and Prozac. The results from this small study indicate that taking curcumin is just as effective as taking an antidepressant.
Depression also is linked to lowered brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels as well as a shrinking hippocampus, which is an area of the brain that plays a role in memory and learning. Curcumin boosts levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which can potentially reverse some of the changes. There is some evidence as well that curcumin may boost the brain’s neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin.
10) Curcumin May Fight Age-Related Chronic Diseases and Can Delay Aging
If curcumin can actually help prevent Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease, it can also help delay the signs and side effects of aging.
That is why curcumin has become such a popular anti-aging supplement. However, given that inflammation and oxidation are thought to play a major role in the aging process, curcumin might have effects that go well beyond simply preventing disease. More research is needed to determine this, but turmeric is a great supplement to add into your routine per day.
Turmeric, and in particular curcumin, its most active substance, has been shown to have numerous scientifically-proven health benefits, including the potential to prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and might also help to improve arthritis and some symptoms of depression.
If you would like to purchase a curcumin/turmeric supplement, a little research on Amazon will show you a great selection with thousands of positive customer reviews. We recommend that you look for a product that has BioPerine (which is the trademarked name of piperine). This substance helps to enhance the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%. Without that substance, a majority of the curcumin will just pass through your digestive tract.
If you’re tired of aching, or if you want to add a preventative health measure into your daily routine, you can add the turmeric spice as well as a curcumin supplement with piperine so you can feel your best.