7 Crazy Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric powder | Courtesy of Steven Jackson
Turmeric powder | Courtesy of Steven Jackson
Photo of Anna Hall
17 May 2017

Turmeric root has long been a staple in the South Asian and Indian culinary world, with its vibrant golden color and rich taste being a key component in many curry dishes. But it is more than just flavorful. Turmeric has also been used medicinally in India since around 500 BCE. Integral to ayurvedic medicine, turmeric was thought to have natural healing properties that could allay everything from congestion to smallpox. Centuries later and the rest of the world is finally catching on to this superstar root. Here are 7 amazing health benefits of turmeric that you need to know now:

Turmeric is effective in fighting inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a major factor underlying diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown that curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, displays anti-inflammatory activity and may help decrease swelling and inflammation. One study even demonstrated curcumin’s effectiveness at fighting inflammation to be comparable to that of prescription drugs, albeit naturally and without the medical bills and side effects.

Turmeric contains powerful antioxidants that help to ward off cancer

Antioxidants are important because they fight free radicals in our bodies and prevent cell damage. The curcumin chemical in turmeric contains strong antioxidant properties, making the root beneficial in preventing and treating certain types of cancers.

It can ease indigestion

Curcumin can relieve digestive woes and reduce bloating and gas. In Germany the Commision E, a government agency that approves the usefulness of herbs, has approved turmeric as a remedy for mild digestion problems.

Turmeric roots

It’s as effective as exercise for lowering risk of heart disease

Heart disease is our biggest killer, causing one in every four deaths. Curcumin-packed turmeric boosts our vascular endothelial function, which is the lining of our blood vessels. One study showed that adding turmeric to your diet was as effective as exercise when it came to improving endothelial function.

It can tackle depression

There is evidence to suggest that the curcumin compound in turmeric may help alleviate depression. While it’s not explicitly a treatment for depression, curcumin does possess antidepressant properties that may reverse the progress of major depressive disorder and enhance other antidepressant treatments.

It can fight colds and flus

Curcumin boasts impressive antiviral properties that can combat a range of ailments from pesky cold symptoms to more serious influenza infections. Curcumin diminished viral replication of infected cells in one study while also protecting other, uninfected cells from infection. So adding turmeric to your diet around cold season may help to ward off viral infections naturally.

It can lead to a clearer complexion

Turmeric is your skin’s best friend. Because of its antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties, this spice can fight off dark spots, wrinkles, and aging in the skin caused by sun damage. Turmeric cream can also be used to treat skin-related disorders such as eczema and psoriasis, heal scars, and correct oily skin.

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