7 proven health benefits you’ll get from turmeric and curcumin

Shannon Clark, SATI STAFF

As you go about your diet plan, you may be putting a lot of focus and attention on the food choices you are making. You’re ensuring that you’re eating lean proteins on a regular basis along with a high enough intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. You’re also taking care to avoid sugar at all costs – you know very well this is not a wise choice as far as your health is concerned.

All of this said however, are you missing out on the ingredients that should be going into your meals that could take your health to a whole new level?

Which ingredients am I referring to here?

I’m talking about spices and herbs. More specifically, today we are going to look at Turmeric. If you have never had this spice before or aren’t eating it often, you are missing out.

Let’s go over what you need to know about how this spice can help change you health, one meal at a time.

What is turmeric

First, let’s talk about what Turmeric is. This is a spice that is utilized in many other spice combinations. For example, take curry. You’ll find plenty of turmeric in curry as it’s what gives curry that yellow color.

Turmeric is one of the most well-researched spices and contains well over 6000 thousand different studies on it when you take a look at the PubMed database (1). Clearly this makes it a spice that deserves your full attention.

Within turmeric, you’ll also find the compound curcumin, which his the primary active compound that gives turmeric it’s health boosting properties. So if you ever see research related to curcumin, note that this is actually also referring to turmeric as well.

One thing that you do want to keep in mind however is that the actual amount of curcumin found in turmeric is still relatively low at just over 3% according to research published in the Nutrition and Cancer journal (2), so if you really want to capitalize on the full health benefits that this spice has to offer, you may want to look into utilizing an extract form that contains nearly pure curcumin. This will be the best bet to receive the maximum potential that turmeric – as well as curcumin – have to offer.

If you are going to just use turmeric, note that it is a fat soluble spice, so eating it with a little extra fat in your meal may just help you reap the maximum effects it has to offer.

So let’s now walk you through some of the biggest benefits that you stand to receive by having turmeric and curcumin in your health promotion plan.

1. Natural anti-inflammatory benefits

Inflammation is one of the leading causes of disease today, so something you really need to be guarding yourself against. While short term inflammation tends not to be problematic and is actually a good thing as it can help with the wound repair process, long-term inflammation – the type that most people suffer from – is much more problematic.

This type of inflammation is linked to a number of disease states such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and possibly even cancer (3).

Studies now reveal that turmeric can help you combat this unwanted health issue (4). It works by targeting a variety of different steps in the inflammation pathway that help to combat inflammation in its tracks and therefore, may help to provide long-term protection against disease.

What’s more is that new research is coming out that is illustrating that turmeric may actually be just as powerful at reducing inflammation as some of the medical drugs used before, so those who are suffering can reap the same benefits but without having to worry about putting unnatural substances in their body that can potentially have harmful side effects (5).

Whenever possible, you should always go the natural route and turmeric helps you do this.

2. Turmeric contains a wide range of antioxidants

Chances are, you’ve heard of antioxidants before. Antioxidants basically help to neutralize free radicals, which are compounds that work on the body, destroying your cells and tissues, eventually leading to disease. Think of it like rust on a car.

Slowly that rust builds and builds and before not too long, you’re left with a car that doesn’t run properly. Oxidative damage – damage caused by free radicals, essentially does the same thing. Turmeric helps you combat this by stopping those free radicals from causing the damage, essentially preventing the ‘rust’ from taking place. The end result is you can hopefully step away from disease.

Research (6) illustrates that curcumin will help to improve the body’s own antioxidant enzymes, therefore boosting your natural defense system. Combining this with plenty of antioxidant rich foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables will therefore be your absolute best choice to promote overall health.

3. Curcumin can reduce your risk of alzheimer’s disease

While you may feel like your brain is in proper functioning order right now, don’t think that you aren’t going to be experiencing issues down the road. The fact is, your body changes with age and in some cases, disease can set in rapidly.

Alzheimer’s disease is one unfortunate condition that many people do experience and one that can be, in part, prevented. While there are certain people who will get this condition regardless, there are many advancements out now that have shown that you may be able to put your best foot forward in side-stepping the condition.

Turns out, turmeric can help. Research published in the Journal of Neuroscience (7) illustrated that when patients were given curcumin rather than the NSAID’s they typically were given to help combat brain related issues, the curcumin was able to provide similar benefits without the unwanted side effects such as gastrointestinal, liver, and renal toxicity.

The scientists noted that with a low dose of curcumin, many of the markers that lead to Alzheimer’s disease were decreased.

If this is a condition that happens to run in your family or one that your doctor has already warned you that you may at risk for, you may want to consider starting with curcumin treatments right now. By taking the preventative route, you may be able to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease entirely.

4. Curcumin and your mood

Feeling a little down lately? While a bad day here and there is nothing to get yourself too worried about, if you find that you’re more down than up, you could be suffering from a moderate case of depression.

Depression comes in many shapes and sizes. For some, it is a mild form and can mean low energy and trouble finding the motivation to get up in the morning. For others, depression can be more severe and can be very life altering, causing the individual to not get out of bed in the morning at all.

Whatever the case, don’t be too quick to rush out and go on anti-depressant medications. While you do need to speak with your doctor and take their recommendations seriously, do note that many anti-depressants come with a wide array of unwanted side effects such as decreased libido levels and weight gain.

Instead, you might try a natural treatment – a treatment such as curcumin. Research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders (8) noted that curcumin influences several biological mechanisms associated with major depression and may show promise as an effective treatment of depressive symptoms in individuals with major depressive disorder.

So we aren’t just talking about your very mild case of depression here. Curcumin may help everyone who is suffering, regardless of how severe.

Consider bringing this up with your doctor at your next appointment.

5. Curcumin and heart disease risk

Sadly, heart disease is one of the top killers in today’s world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are currently 28.4 million people who have been diagnosed for heart disease in the United States alone, making up around 11.7% of the total population (9).

Heart disease can be in part hereditary – if someone in your family has had the condition, there is a higher risk that you may have it as well, but beyond that, diet, exercise, and lifestyle can largely influence the chances that you begin to suffer as well.

Turns out, curcumin can be a powerful weapon against heart disease. It helps to improve the overall function of the endothelium, which his the lining of the blood vessels that lead to and from the heart. This will then help to regular blood pressure levels, which contributes to how high of an overall risk you have for this condition.

In one study, it was shown that patients who were in the hospital to undergo a coronary artery bypass surgery and were also supplementing with curcumin on a regular basis had a 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack while staying in the hospital compared to those who did not (10).

The researchers noted that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that the turmeric provided may have been what led to this decrease. Here again, we see the benefit of these two factors on your overall heart health.

6. Turmeric and cancer

Perhaps one of the most notable benefits of including turmeric in your diet plan is the fact that it may show promise for combating cancer. Cancer is one of the most devastating disease out there, taking so many people who are touched by it. If you’ve ever had a loved one suffer, you know just how terrible this health condition can be.

Fortunately, there are many things that you can be doing to help reduce your odds of being impacted by cancer. Diet and nutrition being one of them. While eating a diet low in trans fatty acids, low in refined sugars, and rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids are some of the most important things that you must be doing, in addition to that, don’t overlook the powerful benefits that spices may have.

Turmeric once again comes into the spotlight here. In one study for example, men who suffered from lesions in their color that had the risk of potentially turning into cancer who also supplemented with turmeric saw a decrease in the number of lesions by 40% (11). It took 30 days of supplementation to notice this effect, so don’t think that you need to be using the spice for years and years to see benefits either. Turmeric is rather quick acting in the body, so it really won’t be that long before you are seeing positive health benefits because of using it.

In addition to this, research published in the Cancer Research journal has also noted that utilizing curucmin on a regular basis may help to reduce the growth of cancerous cells as well, thus reducing your risk that way (12). It appears that utilizing curcumin during any stage of the process – prior to developing cancer, during the early stages, or during the later treatment stages may help to improve your overall prognosis for the condition.

7. Curcumin and arthritis

Finally, one last benefit that you stand to gain from including curcumin in your diet plan is protection against arthritis. This is a debilitating condition that sadly impacts many people worldwide.

In some cases, the arthritis may only impact one joint in the body, making it harder to move through the full range of motion in that joint.

In other cases, the arthritis can be completely debilitating, preventing the individual from taking part in the activities they used to enjoy.

If someone is suffering from a more severe form of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, the situation only worsens as basic day to day tasks can be seriously compromised.

The good news though is thanks to medical advancements and more research being performed on natural treatments, those who are suffering are getting help.

Thanks to the fact that curcumin does have such powerful anti-inflammatory benefits in the body, this makes it a prime candidate for helping to lower your overall level of inflammation and helping to ease the pain and suffering that comes with these conditions.

In fact, one research study has demonstrated that curcumin was more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs when treating those with rheumatoid arthritis (13). Additional studies have also confirmed that turmeric can offer real benefits for those who are suffering from this condition (14, 15)

Here again this is great news as it may allow you to bypass some of the unwanted signs and symptoms associated with the medications that would otherwise be prescribed to treat this condition.

While turmeric may not help you completely go into remission to the point where you aren’t suffering at all, it can definitely help make the condition more manageable so that you can continue on leading a lifestyle that you enjoy.

The Sati line

Overall, as you can see, turmeric, which can also be referred to as curcumin is a very powerful spice that you can’t accord to be missing out in your diet plan. Many of the benefits just noted were all related to disease, but keep in mind that you definitely do not need to wait until you are suffering from such a disease to start using this spice.

You can benefit by starting right now today. Prevention is often the best medicine when it comes to many of these conditions so put your best foot forward. Look into finding a curcumin extract to supplement with or simply start adding turmeric to more of your dishes on a regular basis.

The good news is the spice is quite versatile and can be used in a number of ways. Some examples include:

  • Adding it to scrambled eggs for a new twist that will wake up your taste buds
  • Tossing it over some roasted vegetables along with some olive oil (remember that some added fats can help increase the absorption of the health promotional compounds found in curcumin)
  • Adding it to rice rather than butter to bring out more flavor
  • Utilizing in soups
  • Blending it into your morning smoothie
  • Preparing it into a health boosting tea

Get creative and see what other ways you can come up with to start including turmeric in your meal plan today. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.