Turmeric is a tropical plant grown mostly in Asia and Central America and can be easily recognized by its vibrant yellow color. Studies have consistently shown that the plant possesses several powerful nutritional properties that can benefit your health.
Turmeric is a flowering plant and belongs to the ginger family. For thousands of years, turmeric has been a common spice in many Asian pantries, either as a spice or a medicinal herb. A great example of its use is in India’s well-known curry, whose golden hue derives from ground turmeric. Apart from its aesthetic value, turmeric is claimed to have several benefits for users’ health, thanks to the high proportion of curcumin. Here are 5 reasons why you should add turmeric to your diet.
1. Reduces inflammation
Many high-quality studies show that curcumin contains anti-inflammatory properties. Consequently, taking turmeric can reduce inflammation and prolong the remission of chronic diseases, such as heart disease. According to Medical News Today, daily consumption of turmeric capsules can relieve inflammation, and suppress the molecules that lead to inflammation. Famous dietitian Nicole Hopsecger noted:
“It won’t necessarily help during an active flare-up, but it can help prolong remission.”
2. Improves memory
Neurons are a vital part of the brain and nervous system owing to their role in carrying information and coordinating responses. The promotion of neurons depends on a gene known as a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). According to Healthline, a lower level of BDNF can consequently hamper neurons’ activities and lead to brain-related issues such as Alzheimer's or brain dysfunction. Fortunately, turmeric, or curcumin, can boost the level of BDNF and counter various degenerative processes in the human brain.
3. Relieves pain
Turmeric has long been a traditional herb used in Chinese treatment. Scientists recommend that consuming turmeric extract can greatly alleviate pain, such as arthritis. Given this pain-reducing power, turmeric is often added to elderly people’s meals to ease their knee pains. However, it is also recommended that turmeric or curcumin products should be used as supplements to prescriptions or over-the-counter medications.
4. Prevents heart disease
Blood clotting and unregulated blood pressure are the main causes of heart disease, the number one cause of death. Thanks to its ability to minimize inflammation, turmeric is promising as a cardiovascular treatment. High-dose turmeric, coupled with prescription medications, can promote heart health and the growth of endothelial cells—the lining of your blood vessels, whose dysfunction results in heart disease. Moreover, turmeric can also lower the level of cholesterol in your body, thereby regulating blood pressure and lowering the risk of contracting heart disease.
5. Fights depression
According to Healthline, curcumin or turmeric extracts can be effective antidepressants. A study on 60 people with depression showed that curcumin was as effective as Prozac - a well-known antidepressant, in alleviating symptoms of the condition. This can be explained by curcumin’s power to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an essential factor that contributes to brain activities in learning and memory. Adding a teaspoon of turmeric to your favorite smoothie, or simply mixing ground turmeric and other dishes, can boost your absorption of curcumin and consequently prevent depression.