Turmeric is the main ingredient in curry powder and is the root stalk of a tropical plant that is part of the ginger family. It has a deep, golden-orange color and looks similar to ginger, but it has recently become even more well known for its many surprising health benefits. Read on to find out more about the wondrous health benefits of turmeric supplements.
On our site we often stress the importance of eating a nutritious and varied diet which includes plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Now this is not because these ingredients make for an appealing looking meal, it is really because colorful plant foods are extremely good for our health due to their phytochemical properties (plant pigments) and turmeric is one of these.
Turmeric has been used in cooking for generations in Eastern cultures and for its potential healing properties which come from the yellow pigment in the spice, curcumin. It is now believed to be the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. This spice has powerful antioxidant properties, and its anti-inflammatory properties have been compared to those of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
Turmeric is considered to have many healing properties, in fact there have been 6,235 peer-reviewed articles published on the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds curcumin. The curcumin is the yellow pigment in turmeric and the antioxidants present in the spice are significant since several metabolic diseases and age-related degenerative disorders are closely associated with oxidative processes in the body. This means that turmeric as a powerful source of antioxidants can combat this oxidization.
A 2009 laboratory study in Ireland found that curcumin killed off oesophageal cancer cells. Studies have also shown taking turmeric can relieve symptoms of arthritis. Turmeric has been listed as “possibly effective” for treating osteoarthritis. In 2010, researchers in Austria and the US completed a study that suggested that curcumin may help in the fight against liver damage. It seems to delay the onset of cirrhosis. They say that their work builds on previous research which indicated that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may be helpful in combating disease.
One of the potential health benefits of curcumin is better regulation of inflammation. It’s anti-inflammatory properties have been compared to those of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). It can be used in the treatment of numerous inflammatory conditions because of these anti-inflammatory effects. Clinical trials have found it to be more effective than a placebo for relieving pain and swelling in people with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. Research is continuing in this area but it is thought that curcumin works to slow down the inflammatory pathway.
Turmeric contains another active ingredient, which is called turmerone. Although less is known about the health benefits of turmerone compared to curcumin, studies have shown it can support cognitive performance because of its neuroprotective properties. Also unlike curcumin, it can be obtained from whole ground turmeric. There are numerous studies on the effects of curcumin on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. One study in India in 2008, suggested that curcumin can block the formation of the beta-amyloid plaques that inhibit brain function in Alzheimer’s disease.
Adding turmeric to your diet
As you can see the health benefits of turmeric supplements are numerous. Many of the studies use turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin alone, and dosages usually exceed 1 gram per day. We therefore recommend taking turmeric as a supplement, simply because it would be very difficult to reach these levels just by using the turmeric spice in cooking. You can receive a healthy daily dose by taking this Turmeric Root Extract supplement which contains 95% curcuminoids.
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Sources: Boots WebMD and BBC Good Food