Health Benefits of Turmeric – The Ayurvedic Super Agent
Turmeric is probably the most important spice in Indian dishes and possibly, the most powerful herb on the planet. India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of turmeric in the world. Turmeric has been used as a “medicinal herb” for centuries. It is a major part of Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and Unani. Believed to have originated in southeast Asia, turmeric is popularly used as a spice that provides you with incredible health benefits. Read on to know about the health benefits of turmeric!
Turmeric widely popular as a spice in Middle Eastern and South Asian cooking. Although typically used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric is also used fresh, like ginger. Turmeric imparts a yellowish colour to foods and provides a pungent and slightly bitter flavour. The leaves of the turmeric plant also impart a distinct flavour when you use it to wrap and cook food.
Did You Know?
– Turmeric is also used as a dye due to its brilliant yellow colour
– India accounts for 80% of the world’s turmeric production
– Maharashtra’s Sangli town hosts Asia’s largest turmeric trading centre
Turmeric contains numerous curcuminoids such as curcumin, which have several advantages for human health. Other constituents of turmeric are carbohydrates (60-70%), proteins (6-8%), dietary fiber, fats, minerals and essential oils. One ounce of turmeric gives you 26% of your daily requirement of manganese and 16% of your daily requirement of iron. The herb is also a wonderful source of potassium , vitamin B6 , magnesium , and vitamin C .
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine. It improves your body’s ability to digest fats and also reduces gas and bloating. It treats skin conditions like psoriasis, acne and eczema. Turmeric also packs a powerful punch against inflammation.
More importantly, turmeric can help prevent chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and arthritis – and even aids in the treatment of certain brain conditions like Alzheimer’s and depression.
Let’s take a closer look at the amazing health benefits of turmeric.
Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
As per numerous studies, curcumin present in turmeric modifies the responses of the immune system and this helps prevent joint inflammation. Hence, we can say turmeric aids in the treatment of arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin are so powerful that it is as effective as certain drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen used for the condition.
Unlike the drugs, it serves as a natural healer and hence doesn’t damage the kidney or liver. Anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric are so potent that it can help in the treatment of cancer. It is also useful in treating gastrointestinal issues linked to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), occuring due to inflammation.
Prevents Neurological Disorders
Curcumin in turmeric boosts the regeneration of brain cells. Aromatic-turmerone, another bioactive compound in turmeric, increases neural stem cell growth in the brain by as much as 80%. It prevents the accumulation of beta-amyloid, destructive agents present in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients.
Curcumin has shown to benefit patients with multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects the central nervous system. Curcumin achieves this by regulating the inflammatory chemicals produced by the body, called cytokines.
Improves Heart Health
The antioxidant properties of turmeric contribute to cardiac protection. It reduces the serum cholesterol levels thereby contributing to heart health. In ancient Indian and Chinese medicine, turmeric was used for treating chest pain.
Numerous studies have proved that turmeric exhibits anti-cancer properties. It suppresses the initiation, progression and metastasis of numerous kinds of cancers. The most interesting fact is that curcumin also activates certain proteins in the body that suppress tumours. Turmeric offers protection against brain, breast, bone and gastrointestinal cancers.
Turmeric has a huge therapeutic value and boosting immunity is one of them. Curcumin at low doses enhances antibody responses. This suggests that curcumin’s reported beneficial effects in arthritis, allergy, asthma, atherosclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cancer could be due to its ability to modulate the immune system. Turmeric powder is also an effective home remedy for chronic cough, cold and throat irritations.
Aids Weight Loss
Curcumin aids in losing weight and reduces the incidence of obesity-related diseases. The inflammation associated with obesity is due to the presence of immune cells called macrophages. These cells produce cytokines which cause inflammation in organs. As per reports, turmeric suppresses the number and activity of these cells and help reduce some of the adverse consequences of obesity.
How do I include turmeric in my diet?
To add turmeric in your daily diet, you can simply boil four cups of water and add one teaspoon of ground turmeric and add lemon or honey to taste and drink this wonderful turmeric tea. You can also add turmeric to a glass of warm milk. Additionally, add turmeric to any of your curry dishes or gravies. Sprinkling a pinch of turmeric in your soup can also work wonders.
Disclaimer: Overconsumption of turmeric can have certain side effects on the body like nausea, dizziness, diarrhoea and heart irregularities. It might also slow down blood clotting hence people on anticoagulant or blood thinning medication must avoid turmeric. So, it is always advisable to speak to a medical professional before adding turmeric to your diet.
100g of turmeric provides 312 Calories, Carbs – 67g (Dietary fiber – 23g), Protein – 3.8g, Fat – 3.3g, Sodium – 27mg
And a percentage daily value of Vitamin A – 0%, Vitamin C – 1%, Iron – 306%, Calcium – 17% (based on a 2000 Calorie diet).