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Top Ten Health Benefits of Turmeric

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Turmeric is a rhizome superfood commonly used in foods such as curry and other classic Indian dishes. Often mixed in dishes with onions, ginger, and garlic, turmeric is part of a detoxifying and antioxidant-packed family with deep roots. Aside from bringing a layer of warmly spiced flavor to food, turmeric is also used for its powerful healing properties. While this fantastic superfood offers many health benefits, you should consult your doctor before using turmeric supplements in combination or in place of any current health regimen.

 

Top 10 Health Benefits of Turmeric

 

1. Anti-Inflammatory

Inflammation is necessary for your body to fight against harmful invaders. For example, you may have noticed some inflammation when getting a paper cut. This short-term inflammation is helpful. However, chronic inflammation can harm your body’s tissues.

Curcumin, which is located within turmeric, can be used for anti-inflammatory purposes. Many studies have shown that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma is associated with anti-inflammatory effects. In one study, curcumin was shown to increase the amount of this receptor.

 

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2. Antioxidants

Free radicals can harm your body because they damage cells and even lead to cardiovascular disease. Curcumin can locate free radicals, so regularly using turmeric can lower the risk of such effects and illnesses. 

 

The free radicals are located by OH or CH2 groups. The free radicals then experience electron transfer or remove a hydrogen atom. This leads to the free radicals becoming neutralized and unable to harm your body.

 

Carcinogens can create free radicals. For example, you can be exposed to free radicals due to:

  • Air pollution
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Ultraviolet Radiation

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3. Lower Risk of Brain Disease

Decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels have been associated with several brain disorders. These include bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's disease, and depression. The curcumin in turmeric works against such brain disorders by increasing BDNF. 

 

Mood swings for bipolar disorder were shown to have low levels of BDNF. Curcumin activates MAPK–ERK and PI-3K/AKT, leading to increased BDNF levels. Oxidative stress is also associated with bipolar disorder. DNA damage can result from oxidative stress, but curcumin may fight that effect.

 

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease. However, curcumin may be able to prevent or slow the progression of this disease. Curcumin has been shown to improve memory by improving neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity.

 

Depression is associated with inflammation in the brain. One study reports that since curcumin is anti-inflammatory, it may be used as a treatment.

 

4. Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Endothelial dysfunction is when the inner lining of your arteries does not perform normally. Several studies have reported that curcumin improves endothelial function.

 

One study was conducted on 121 patients going to undergo coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). They either received a placebo or curcumin. Myocardial infarction (MI) is associated with CABG. The patients who took curcumin showed that curcumin decreased MI associated with CABG.

 

Curcumin can combat inflammation caused by cardiovascular diseases. This is done by inhibiting nuclear factor-kappa B and Toll-like receptor 4-dependent signaling pathways. Additionally, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma pathway is activated. 

 

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5. Can Prevent Cancer

 

Cancer is a predominant disease. Luckily, curcumin has been showing positive results in the fight against cancer. 

 

Several studies report curcumin as playing a role in preventing and even treating cancer. For example, one study says curcumin can kill tumor cells but leaves normal cells unharmed. There are several ideas to explain this. First, tumor cells absorb more curcumin and are more sensitive than normal cells. Also, tumor cells typically express NF-κB. Curcumin can contain NF-κB products and decrease tumor cell growth and the number of new tumor cells created.

 

Another study focused on colon cancer reported a decrease of tumor cells as a result of taking curcumin. 

 

Curcumin may be more affordable than most modern cancer-treating medication. Additionally, curcumin does not have many side effects compared to conventional medicine. 

 

6. Anti-Aging Properties

 

Have you tried countless ways to slow down the aging process? Try incorporating turmeric into your diet instead. Several studies have shown that curcumin can assist in retaining beautiful and youthful skin.


Free radicals and prolonged inflammation have been associated with aging. As curcumin can neutralize both of these, turmeric is an easy go-to supplement to incorporate for anyone looking for another life-giving superfood to try out!

 

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7. Skin Benefits

 

Are you looking for an effective skincare product that doesn’t make you break out? Turmeric can be helpful to the skin in many ways, which include:

  • Healing wounds
  • Acne scarring
  • Psoriasis

Curcumin in turmeric is used for healing wounds due to its anti-inflammatory property. Turmeric may also improve tissue and collagen production, which helps wounds heal quicker.  As turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it may even control symptoms of psoriasis. These properties can also reduce scarring and calm your skin, helping you get rid of and prevent future breakouts. 

 

8. Diabetes Prevention

 

Millions of people are affected by diabetes. Tetrahydro curcumin is a substance found in curcumin. Several studies found that tetrahydro curcumin led to a decrease in blood sugar levels. A 2013 review also stated that curcumin could decrease blood glucose levels. More studies are needed to see how well turmeric can treat and prevent diabetes.

 

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9. Prevents Eye Degeneration

 

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness for people over 60. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for glaucoma.

Glaucoma results in loss of retinal ganglion cells. This loss of cells leads to deteriorated vision. However, one study showed that curcumin stopped this loss of cells.

Another study tested the effects of curcumin eye drops and suggested that they may help prevent eye degradation. However, more study is needed to show if curcumin can prevent eye degradation.

 

10. Lowering Cholesterol

 

Atherosclerosis can occur due to the build-up of fats in the arteries. In addition, oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) leads to atherosclerosis. 

 

One study showed that turmeric lowered LDL levels. It also showed that it prevented the LDL from being oxidized. More studies are needed to show if turmeric indeed reduces cholesterol levels.

 

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The quality of turmeric fluctuates depending on what product you buy. Using turmeric spice in foods with fats (such as oil) will help the turmeric absorb well. Turmeric supplements may not absorb as well.

 

If you still choose to take supplements, you should look for ones that contain at least 500 mg of curcumin and allow good absorption. For example, supplements with BioPerine enable your body to absorb curcumin better.

 

Here are some turmeric supplements you can try out:

Try incorporating turmeric into your foods and see if it works for you. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences!

 

Sources:

Brietzke, E., Mansur, R. B., Zugman, A., et. al. (2013, February 26). Is there a role for curcumin in the treatment of bipolar disorder?

Chen, M., Du, Z., Zheng, X., et. al. (2018, April). Use of curcumin in diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Davis, B. M., Pahlitzsch, M., Guo, L., et. al. (2018, July 23). Topical Curcumin Nanocarriers are Neuroprotective in Eye Disease.

Eldridge, L. (2020, February 2). Free Radicals: Definition, Causes, Antioxidants, and Cancer.

Goel, A. (2014, November). Can Curcumin Solve Depression?

Jacob, A., Wu, R., Zhou, M., et. al. (2008, January 17). Mechanism of the Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Curcumin: PPAR-y Activation.

Moll, J. (2019, July 17). Can Turmeric Lower Your Cholesterol?

Ravindran, J., Prasad, S., & Aggarwal, B. B. (2009, September). Curcumin and Cancer Cells: How Many Ways Can Curry Kill Tumor Cells Selectively?

Shimizu, K., Funamoto, M., Sunagawa, Y., et. al. (2019, July 11). Anti-inflammatory Action of Curcumin and Its Use in the Treatment of Lifestyle-related Diseases.

Silver, N. (2019, March 7). Turmeric for Skin: Benefits and Risks.

Sokmen, M. & Khan, M. A. (2016, May 17). The antioxidant activity of some curcuminoids and chalcones.

Wongcharoen, W., Jai-Aue, S., Phnommintikul, A., et. al. (2012, April 3). Effects of curcuminoids on frequency of acute myocardial infarction after coronary artery bypass grafting.

Zhang, D., Fu, M., Gao, S., et. al. (2013, November 24). Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review.

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