Turmeric, also known as the golden spice of India, has been coined as one of the most effective nutritional supplements available to us. As health foodie concept cafes around the world enhance the hype around turmeric, we wanted to share with you the real benefits of this miracle spice.
Words: Aleksandra Medina
In indigenous Indian ‘Ayurvedic’ practices turmeric is used for medical purposes, while the Western world has opted for using it as a dietary supplement. However, too much of anything can be bad for you. HealthGuidance.org warns that excessive consumption of turmeric can cause diarrhoea, sweating and nausea, much like the effects of consuming too much curry. But, if taken in moderation, it does have some pretty amazing benefits. So, here you go, the 5 reasons why turmeric is a miraculous spice!
1. I won’t go into too much into a detailed scientific explanation of how it happens, but turmeric, which contains curcumin, is believed to be able to slow down ageing by protecting our body’s cells from being damaged.
2. For those suffering from arthritis, turmeric can help ease joint pain, because of its ability to stimulate adrenaline glands. According to HealthGuidance.org, its anti-inflammatory properties have been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs and have proved to be more efficient than placebo in relieving joint pain.
3. It is also believed that turmeric can enhance your cognitive performance. The curcumin in turmeric strengthens and encourages the transmission of electrical signals across synapses. An increase in these signals makes our cognitive processes (such as thinking, memory, language) faster, better and more enhanced. Scientists also speculate that curcumin has properties that slow down brain cell damage and eventual destruction, which has been proven to be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Brain cell damage is a natural occurrence as the body ages, thus comes the slogan of turmeric slowing down ageing.
4. With heart and blood diseases being one of the leading causes of death, it is good to know that turmeric has properties that thin the blood, thus avoiding dangerous clots in our bloodstream. These clots often arise from a bad diet, containing too many meat products and calories. Thus, it helps people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol avoid heart attacks and strokes.
5. Modern science is also backing up the Ayurvedic belief that turmeric helps the liver. Apparently, turmeric helps protect the liver from toxins, such as alcohol, and stimulates digestion by stimulating the flow of bile.
Vegan Turmeric Quinoa Power Bowl
Although these benefits do make turmeric sound as a miracle and a dream-come-true spice, it does have some drawbacks. Most of the good properties come from curcumin, which is the ingredient that makes turmeric yellow. According to HealthLine.com, the research made by scientists involves clean 100% curcumin, while an average turmeric has about 3% of curcumin. Thus, if you want to maximise these benefits, you should take it one step further. Not only you should add turmeric to your meals, you could consider taking turmeric extract as a daily supplement. Unfortunately, curcumin is also poorly absorbed by the bloodstream. To enhance the absorption, you should consume it together with black pepper, which enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%.
Of course, all these benefits are still being researched, so don’t go overboard on the turmeric hype. But it won’t hurt you to add some delicious Indian spice to your meal from time to time and you might improve your health by doing it.
So, stay healthy and start Googling those turmeric recipes!