Turmeric is a hot commodity – and if it’s not for you yet, we’re going to tell you why it should be! It’s definitely grown in popularity and for good reason. It’s got so many health benefits, helps with certain health conditions, and makes so many dishes taste amazing.
Probably the most popular use for turmeric is in curries. It adds brilliant flavour, colour, and fragrance to make that curry dish delight your senses and palate. With peppery, warm, bitter notes and a mild fragrance, turmeric has a bright yellow colour and comes from the root of the curcuma longa plant, which has a tough brown skin and deep orange flesh. In fact, if you’ve ever cooked with turmeric, you’ll understand just how vibrant the colour is—because it stays on your hands and cutting board pretty easily!
Perhaps one of the best known benefits of turmeric is its anti-inflammatory properties. First of all, what is inflammation? Inflammation can rise in the body for a number of reasons—usually identified as something that’s painful, red, hot, or swollen. Inflammation can be silent and not noticeably painful, but the inflammation is still there and affects our health. Inflammatory mediators are compounds that are produced to try to deal with the injury—but when these compounds don’t go away, it causes chronic inflammation or illness. Not good!
2. HEART DISEASE & CHOLESTEROL
Again, the curcumin in turmeric is the thing that does the work here. Curcumin works in a number of different ways to help with heart disease, as well. It helps with LDL cholesterol in two ways: one, it works as an antioxidant to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, keeping it beneficial instead of harmful; two, it increases LDL receptors to give LDL cholesterol more places to go and do its job, preventing it from spending too long in our bloodstream and oxidizing. Both of these are excellent step to take in the direction of healthy cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health!
Most people who think of inflammation think of arthritis—and turmeric, through its curcumin content, definitely helps the pain associated with this condition. In fact, it helps with Rheumatoid Arthritis as well! Its powerful antioxidant effects neutralize free radicals. Free radicals damage healthy cells and cell membranes, and they are quite prevalent in conditions like arthritis because they are responsible for causing the joint pain and damage. By neutralizing these free radicals, curcumin helps stop their spread throughout the body, protecting the cells and joints from their damaging effects. In fact, a recent study showed that the effects of curcumin on rheumatoid arthritis were comparable to those of a medical anti-inflammatory when dealing with morning stiffness and joint swelling.
4. LIVER HEALTH
The liver performs 500 different functions in the body—and can therefore easily become overwhelmed. I mean, can you imagine having to juggle 500 responsibilities every second of every day? No wonder it starts to lag behind sometimes!
Fatty liver disease can occur through excessive alcohol consumption or, more commonly nowadays, through sugar consumption. It is becoming very common, and increasingly common in younger people.
The good news is that by fixing up the diet to avoid refined sugars and things that break down easily into sugar, you can take a big step towards avoiding fatty liver. Curcumin also helps, though! It’s been shown to lower liver enzymes which are the markers that are used to measure liver function.
5. THYROID FUNCTION
Turmeric is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, including Manganese. In fact, just 2 teaspoons provide 17% of your daily recommended intake of this vital mineral. What does manganese do for you? For one, it helps maintain proper thyroid function. It has been estimated that 200 million people in the world have some form of thyroid disease. In Canada, 30% of the population suffer from a thyroid condition. Of those, as many as 50% remain undiagnosed.
The thyroid gland plays a crucial role in our overall health. If it is not operating at peak performance, it can produce life-altering symptoms that impact your health and happiness. What are some signs that your thyroid might be a bit sluggish? Dry or gritty eyes, thinning hair, weight gain, numbness or tingling in any area of the body, constipation, tinnitus, heart palpitations, dry skin, fatigue, feeling cold… do any of these rings a bell?
May Be Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia. Unfortunately, no good treatment is available for Alzheimer’s yet. Therefore, preventing it from occurring in the first place is of utmost importance.
There may be good news on the horizon because curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. It’s known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, and curcumin has beneficial effects on both.
In addition, a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of protein tangles called amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin can help clear these plaques. Whether curcumin can really slow down or even reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in people is currently unknown and needs to be studied properly.