The Many Health Benefits of Turmeric

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Turmeric is a type of herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the ginger family. It’s characterized by its deep-yellow flesh, sharp taste, and pepper-like aroma. Turmeric is what gives curry—a popular Indian dish—its golden color. But there’s more to turmeric than just being a popular spice. Turmeric is prized for its many medicinal properties. It contains analgesic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antiviral, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, and anti-inflammatory properties and it’s rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and beneficial bioactive. Below are some of turmeric’s many health benefits:

Prevents Chronic Diseases

Turmeric contains a potent antioxidant called curcumin. Curcumin contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compounds. Taking concentrated level of curcumin helps protect the body chronic diseases caused by cell damage. Turmeric also boosts the immune system, prevents most types of chronic diseases, and even aids in weight loss.

However, curcumin cannot be absorbed fully into the bloodstream without taking other compounds that may assist in absorbing this compound like black pepper. Black pepper contains piperine, a compound that helps increase curcumin absorption by 2000%.

Prevents Cell Damage

One of the root causes of health disorders is oxidative damage. This occurs when highly reactive molecules called free radicals start attacking healthy cells, causing damage. Damaged healthy cells are the precursor to many diseases ranging from cardiovascular ailments to cancer.

The active bio compounds of turmeric helps protect the body from cell damage by neutralizing free radicals. Antioxidants from turmeric block free radicals directly and then enhance the body’s own antioxidant mechanisms.

Boosts Brain Function

Turmeric is linked in the increase of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF in the brain. BDNF is a type of hormone that boosts brain power. Because turmeric helps increase BDNF in the brain, scientists believe that it could delay or even reverse many types of brain diseases as well as decrease age-related brain disorders.

Turmeric may also help improve memory and cognitive functions and even boost a person’s learning skills.

Prevent Heart Disease

Millions of people die of heart disease each year. Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the world. Unfortunately, the cause of heart disease is hard to pinpoint because of the complexity of the condition itself. And there are many things that could contribute to the development of heart problems, including the quality of the food we eat, the lifestyle we lead, and the environment we live in.

Curcumin—which is turmeric’s active ingredient—might be able to minimize the onset of heart disease by strengthening the lining of the blood vessels called endothelium.

One of the major elements that come into play in developing heart problems is endothelial dysfunction. This condition results in the inability of the body to regulate blood pressure, increasing the risk of blood clotting and other factors that could lead to heart problems.

Endothelial dysfunction’s detrimental effects can be avoided by taking food rich in curcumin and regular exercise.

Prevents Neurodegenerative Diseases

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have no known cure. However, early detection helps prevent severe symptoms of any of these two neurodegenerative diseases.

Scientists believe that oxidative damage and inflammation may lead to Alzheimer’s disease. One of the key factors that lead to this condition is the accumulation of protein tangles called “amyloid” plaques. Bioactive compound from turmeric may help clear amyloid plaques as well as prevent oxidative damage and inflammation.

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