Turmeric is used as a staple spice, an offering in religious ceremonies, coloring agent in cosmetics, and an element of holistic medicine. It is serving the world with its immense health benefits and countless uses since ages. The scientific name for turmeric is Curcuma longa and belongs to the family Zingiberaceae. It consists of various compounds with medicinal properties, known as curcuminoids. Amongst all, curcumin is the most important active ingredient of turmeric.
Eager to know why turmeric is so beneficial? We are going to talk about 6 amongst the several turmeric powder benefits.
Inflammation is the body’s defense mechanism while fighting an invader. It also plays an important role in the healing process. This acute defense mechanism is protective and beneficial for the body. However, this inflammation is harmful when it attacks the body’s own tissues. In either case, it results in various metabolic conditions like diabetes. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory in nature. It blocks the action of a molecule (NF-kB) responsible for inflammation. Research indicates that turmeric matches the effect of various anti-inflammatory medicines without any side-effects.
Rich in antioxidants
Fat and water-soluble extracts of turmeric are powerful antioxidants and their activity is compared to vitamins E and C. Oxidative damage is one the key causes of various diseases and also aging. Free radicals and highly reactive molecules are seen to react with important substances like proteins, DNA, and fatty acids. Antioxidants neutralize the effect of these free radicals, and thus, protect the body from oxidative damage. Turmeric, in addition, triggers the activity of the body’s antioxidant enzymes.
Lowers the risk of heart diseases
Causes of heart diseases are multifactorial in origin. Curcumin is seen to reverse various steps involved in the process for the development of heart diseases. Endothelial dysfunction is one of the key reasons for various heart disorders. Some of them include the inability of the lining of the blood vessels (endothelium) to regulate blood pressure and blood clotting. Curcumin improves the functioning of the endothelium, preventing heart conditions. According to a study, consuming curcumin was seen to be as effective as Atorvastatin (a medicine that prevents the risk of cardiovascular conditions). A study done in a group of individuals undergoing bypass surgery showed a 65% reduced risk of getting a heart attack in the hospital. Moreover, the effectiveness of turmeric for high cholesterol has also been demonstrated.
Curcumin is seen to be effective against all stages of carcinogenesis: initiation, promotion, and progression. Uncontrolled cell growth is one of the characteristics of cancer. Curcumin triggers apoptosis (programmed cell death) of the cancer cells and also prevents its spread (metastasis). Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is vital for cancer growth. Curcumin prevents angiogenesis, further preventing the growth of cancer cells and its spread.
Helpful in arthritis
There are multiple factors responsible for arthritis or joint pain and inflammation is one of the most important cause. Anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin makes it effective against arthritis. Some studies demonstrate the effectiveness of curcumin at par with anti-inflammatory drugs. It is also seen to improve various symptoms associated with arthritis.
Protects against depression
Depression is associated with lower levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and the shrinking of a brain area with a role in learning and memory (hippocampus). Curcumin is seen to boost BDNF levels, reversing the damaging changes in the hippocampus. A study conducted on 3 groups: one group on Prozac (antidepressant), another on one gram of curcumin, and the last group on both curcumin and Prozac for 6 weeks suggested that improvement in the second group was similar to the first one. The third group fared best. Moreover, curcumin is seen to trigger the secretion of brain neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are protective against depression.
Read Some of the other benefits of turmeric are for Irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and age-related chronic disease. Well! How about you start consuming turmeric and see the benefits yourself.
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