Want to know why you’re seeing turmeric everywhere and in just about everything?
As homely as it may be, turmeric root is loaded with health benefits, from slaying inflammation, boosting brain power and even aiding in cancer prevention and treatment.
That is why it has been used for centuries in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine.
In the last two decades alone, there have been over 6000 peer-reviewed scientific studies proving turmerics’ health benefits and that list continues to grow[*].
These are some of the most impressive findings:
- Turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, has a wide range of cognitive benefits. In 2015, one study showed it helps prevent anxiety disorders by boosting DHA levels in the brain[*].
- A 2016 systematic review of clinical evidence on curcumin’s effects on skin health found it provides multiple skin benefits when taken orally and when applied topically[*].
- Curcumin becomes 2000% more effective when combined with piperine, a compound found in black pepper[*].
Have your attention yet?
That’s just the beginning of turmeric’s benefits, specifically the active compound found in turmeric – curcumin.
- Brain disorders
- Digestive issues
- Metabolic problems
- Joint diseases
- Colds and fevers
- Chronic pain
… and a lot more.
The real question is, can spices do mic drops?
Let’s dive into why you need turmeric in your life ASAP:
The Interesting History of Turmeric
Turmeric is a rhizome of the same plant family as ginger. Its scientific name is Curcuma longa — in case you ever need to know that on a game show. It also goes by the name of Indian saffron. It originated in India and Southeast Asia, where it is still heavily used today as a spice, all natural clothing dye and even medicine.
A staple in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, turmeric has been making believers out of Western medicine skeptics for over two decades as the thousands of studies proving its medicinal value stack up.
There is a specific compound within turmeric called curcumin that has been shown to improve your health and fend off disease, pain and more.
Curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinct yellow color, was originally used to dye clothing.
Beyond staining your clothes, it has powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and even anticancer properties[*].
When you read articles about the health benefits of turmeric, they are generally referencing the benefits of curcumin. Because nearly every disease state comes down to chronic inflammation in some way, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties help give your body the boost it needs to heal[*].
7 Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric
#1: Turmeric is an Anti-Inflammatory Marvel
Curcumin is not kidding around when it comes to inflammation. We’re talking medicinal level anti-inflammatory properties without the unwanted side effects[*].
Science is now confirming the majority of diseases we struggle with come down to chronic inflammation — diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, mental illness and even cancer.
Curcumin may be one of the strongest, all-natural anti-inflammatory compounds on earth, especially when combined with piperine.
In addition to being used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and many animal studies, human studies now confirm turmeric’s anti-inflammatory benefits[*].
Curcumin has been found to reduce the swelling, pain and tenderness in joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis[*].
#2: Seriously Next Level Antioxidant
The curcuminoids in turmeric pack antioxidant properties in addition to their anti-inflammatory effects[*].
Free radicals are compounds that contain an extra oxygen molecule on them, which causes damage to any tissue it bumps into. We’re exposed to free radicals from the environment, smoking, certain foods, and even as the natural byproduct of healing.
Curcumin hits free radicals with a double antioxidant whammy:
- It heals the damage they cause
- It deactivates the free radicals themselves[*]
This, in turn, helps stave off many diseases, slow the progression of aging and keeps your tissues in their best possible condition.
- Brain disorders: Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression
- Digestive issues: diarrhea, heartburn (dyspepsia), helicobacter pylori infection (aka H. pylori, the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), stomach bloating, stomach pain, stomach ulcers, intestinal gas, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), loss of appetite, ulcerative colitis, worms, Crohn’s disease.
- Metabolic disorders: High cholesterol (dyslipidemia), insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes
- Infections: bacteria and viral infections, lung infections, urinary bladder infections
- Colds and fevers
- Free radical damage
- Gallbladder disorders
- Itchy skin
- Liver problems
- Menstrual problems
- Several types of cancer, including breast cancer
Results are seen with consistent intake of turmeric tea, turmeric in foods and drinks, and curcumin supplementation. The key is to consistently consume it in a form that works for you. It doesn’t help anyone sitting on a shelf.
#3: Pain Relief
Pain disorders are becoming increasingly more common. This could be partly due to our sedentary lifestyles and stress levels.
There’s great news for people whose lives are impacted by pain — turmeric curcumin can help. Curcumin has been found to aid with menstrual, joint, bone, muscle and neurological pain (headaches and migraines).
The key is to take a curcumin supplement in addition to healthy lifestyle changes. Make sure to keep your health care provider in the loop about your turmeric supplement of choice, as well as medicinal adjustments.
#4: Turmeric Boost Brain Function and Fends off Brain Diseases
Want to increase your brain power? Turmeric may be your new best friend.
- Boost brain function
- Ease and even prevent anxiety
- Decrease depression
- Boost mental health
- Prevent several types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.
Turmeric curcumin can boost levels of a compound called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)[*]. BDNF is a type of growth hormone specific to the brain.
Individuals and even animals who are chronically stressed have lower levels of BDNF. Low levels of BDNF are also seen in those with Alzheimer’s and depression.
Thanks to curcumin’s ability to increase BDNF, it can help with depression, stress and even Alzheimer’s.
Studies are now looking at the possibility of turmeric being able to fend off, delay or even reverse age brain diseases and the age-associated decline in brain function. The fountain of youth may have been in your spice rack all along.
There are hundreds of studies showing turmeric curcumin is good for your brain both short and long-term. If you’re looking to perform better on tests, presentations and in your day-to-day life it’s time to start making curcumin part of your daily routine.
If you’re currently dealing with mental illness or any disorder relating to the brain, you will need to discuss the addition of curcumin with your healthcare provider and only make medicinal changes under their direct supervision.
#5: Shows Promise in Fending off Cancer
Thankfully, cancer rates have declined over the last two decades. However, an estimated 1.7 million people will still be diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and over 600,000 people will die due to cancer[*].
Due to the severity and impact of cancers, it’s important to practice caution when reporting on what may help with treatment and prevention.
Never choose something in lieu of treatment. Always follow your health care provider’s recommendations.
Curcumin has shown great promise in hundreds of studies as something that can help prevent some cancers, slow the progression of cancer and work in conjunction with existing cancer treatments[*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*][*].
#6: Provides Protection Against Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. You can’t undo genetics, but you can protect your body every day to help prevent heart disease.
Curcumin has been found to both stave off heart disease and decrease damage that may lead to heart disease.
- Create healthy veins and arteries
- Reduce LDL cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve the overall health of the cardiovascular system
It also helps in the prevention of stroke and heart attack by decreasing platelet aggregation[*].
When blood platelets start to cluster (aggregate) in one spot in the arteries, blood flow slows down and a clot can then break off and cause a heart attack or stroke.
#7: Beautiful, Radiant Skin
We’re exposed to a lot of toxins throughout our day. They’re in the water we bathe in, the traffic we drive in, the air we breathe and the harmful food additives in our food supply.
Our skin is both our first line of defense against these toxins and our biggest organ to detox our body. This makes it easy to see why skin issues are so prevalent.
The good news is turmeric is great at detoxifying your body.
Turmeric curcumin has been found to aid wound healing, reduce skin inflammation, skin infections and dyspigmentation[*].
Soaps and other skincare products containing turmeric are becoming widely available.
Topical application comes with the concern of temporarily dyeing your skin and permanently dyeing anything you accidentally brush up against while it’s on your skin — but this is easily preventable.
Store your soaps in a way that prevents them from dyeing your shower, shower curtain, and anything else they come in contact with.
How to Buy and Store Turmeric
When buying fresh turmeric roots, choose organic tubers that are free from damage and rot.
Ground, dried turmeric can be purchased in individual bottles or in bulk, just make sure it’s organic and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
When choosing a high-quality turmeric supplement, go for one that has been inspected for quality, is free from fillers and artificial ingredients, and contains piperine to get maximum health benefits, like this one from Equip.
Turmeric Safety Concerns
Although multiple studies have shown turmeric to be safe and effective even in high dosages, there are some individuals who need to practice caution:
- If you are or could be pregnant, medicinal level doses of turmeric are not recommended.
- This herb is also not recommended for women with severe endometriosis. Discuss further with your healthcare provider.
- If you have a blood clotting disorder or are about to have surgery in the next couple of weeks, turmeric is not recommended. Discuss post-surgical reintroduction with your surgeon.
Extraordinarily high doses of turmeric have been linked to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure) and interactions with certain medications.
Delicious Ways to Enjoy Turmeric
Turmeric is most widely known as an ingredient in curry, a dish with limitless possibilities.
Fortunately, it’s also making new appearances in foods like anti-inflammatory gummies, golden lattes and smoothies.
Have fun trying it out, but keep in mind if a recipe calls for sugar and turmeric, you don’t get any of turmeric’s health benefits. The inflammatory properties of sugar cancel them out.
You’re probably eager to eat as much turmeric as humanly possible. Start by digging into these delicious Curry Chicken Lettuce Wraps.
Welcome to the Turmeric Obsessed Life
As you can see, turmeric comes with a metric ton of health benefits and seemingly endless ways to enjoy it.
Make sure to pick up both fresh and dried turmeric next time you’re at the grocery store and start consuming it frequently. To get the maximum benefits out of turmeric, look for a curcumin supplement that also contains piperine.