The health benefits of turmeric are unquestionable. This spice has long been part of Asian culinary practices, but its uses go far beyond the kitchen. The thing is turmeric packs a wide array of medicinal properties that can improve your health on many levels. This has been confirmed by a number of studies.
Here we’ll go through everything you need to know about this spice in order to optimize its health benefits.
Turmeric is made from the root of Curcuma longa, a tropical plant native to India. Throughout history, turmeric in combination with hot water was mostly used to treat inflammation and asthma, but also to heal ulcers, jaundice, and liver blockage. Turmeric was also believed to bring good fortune so people also used it as part of some spiritual rituals. For example, turmeric was given to the bride before her wedding to bring her good luck. It was also give as a present on special occasions, for instance when visiting a pregnant woman.
Turmeric and Curcumin
Although most people use them interchangeably, turmeric and curcumin are not the same. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, the spice made from the root of Curcuma longa.
It’s curcumin that accounts for most of turmeric’s health benefits including its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Some of the most important health benefits of curcumin are:
- It relieves depression
- It improves heart health
- It treats asthma
- It reduces inflammation
- It prevents diabetes
Turmeric, on the other hand, is even more beneficial due to its high content of nutrients, among which potassium, magnesium, fiber, manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
Read on to find out how turmeric is linked to a reduced risk of many serious conditions.
According to research, turmeric is efficient in killing malignant cancer cells. A study conducted by the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists found that curcumin can inhibit the development of cancer cells. While chemotherapy gives the same effect, it also destroys healthy cells unlike turmeric.
A strong anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric can effectively relieve the symptoms of arthritis. In fact, it reduces joint inflammation by inhibiting inflammatory enzymes and cytokines. Studies have found that Meriva, a turmeric supplement, not only reduces arthritic pain, but also improves movement.
Turmetic is highly beneficial for treatment of Alzheimer’s, according to a study carried out by the Indian Academy of Neurology. The thing is turmeric contains another beneficial ingredient, known as aromatic-turmerone, which has the ability to increase the number of neural stem cells in people who consume it. This is what makes turmeric extremely efficient in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Among other things, turmeric is also a strong anti-depressant. A study conducted by the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences found that curcumin can effectively lessen the symptoms of depression caused by chronic stress due to its ability to naturally increase the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the body.
Natural Enhancement of Turmeric
Although turmeric (as well as curcumin) is highly beneficial, not many people know that curcumin has a low bioavailability, meaning the human body cannot properly digest it. The thing is the body metabolizes curcumin very rapidly leaving the digestive system unable to reap its full benefits.
It’s because of this that turmeric must be combined with black pepper, which contains a compound called piperine. It’s piperine that enables proper metabolism of nutrients in turmeric by slowing down its digestion.
When you combine turmeric and black pepper you leave your body enough time to digest curcumin. Plus, it supports turmeric digestion ensuring that all health benefits of turmeric are reaped.
How to regularly take turmeric
If you want to optimize the health benefits of turmeric, there are a number of ways to use it. But, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the recommended dosage for optimal health benefits of turmeric is:
Dried, powdered root: 1-3g a day
Cut root: 1.5- 3g a day
Tincture (1:2): 15- 30 drops, four times a day
Fluid extract (1:1) 30- 90 drops a day
Standardized powder (curcumin): 400- 600mg, 3 times a day