We live in a time where every month there is a new natural food or ingredient that is going to “immediately change our lives” by adding it to our daily diets. Unfortunately, because of this over-saturating of what i’m calling panacea products, we often become jaded to looking for or hearing about natural remedies that have real benefits.
Turmeric is one such food/ingredient that really does have benefits, and I’m going to share with you plenty of reasons, 10 in fact, why you should legitimately consider adding this interesting plant to your diet in some capacity.
Turmeric is in the same botanical family as ginger, and it’s tuberous shoots, also called rhizomes, are used in different foods as well as health supplements. You can easily find powdered turmeric in the spice aisle at your local grocery store, which is made by boiling and grinding the roots of the turmeric plant.
This root is a great source of circumin. Don’t be confused in thinking that circumin and turmeric are two different things, as many people do. Turmeric is a great source of circumin just as carrots are a great source of vitamin A.
But you don’t care about what turmeric is besides the fact that it is both natural and healthy. So, I’m going to get right into the benefits of turmeric, and give you your 10 reasons why you’re going to want to put a bit of turmeric into your daily regimen.
10 benefits of turmeric
Benefit #1: Balances Your Mood
The Journal of Affective Disorders ran a test to see if turmeric supported benefits to an individual’s mood. Half of the group was given turmeric while the other was given placebo. The conclusion of the test showed significant improvements in symptoms of anxiety and overall mood for those that took turmeric.
So, if you find yourself highly susceptible to anxiety or mood swings, try a bit of turmeric and see if it regulates your issues.
Benefit #2: Assists in Healing
This is one of my favorite benefits of turmeric. The curcumin in turmeric accelerate wound healing by soothing the irritation and increasing oxidation in the affected area. Topical turmeric has also been proven to support collagen synthesis and increase both cell generation and collagen synthesis. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
Benefit #3: Helps with Stiff Joints
A 2012 published study in Phytotherapy Research tested individuals with active joint discomfort. One group used standard medication while the other group used turmeric. At the conclusion of the testing, the turmeric outperformed standard medication across the board.
Benefit #4: Soothes Aches and Pains
Along with soothing stiff joints, turmeric can reduce pain much like conventional supplement options. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps reduce inflammation and in turn reduce pain and aches. The additional benefit here is that unlike other treatment options, turmeric has significantly fewer side effects.
This type of soothing actually responds at the tissue level as well. Swelling is a natural response of our bodies stress and pressure, and tissue is irritated and swollen as a result of this. Turmeric soothes this excess irritation by inhibiting enzymes to the irritated tissue.
Benefit #5: Supports the Stomach Lining
Turmeric has soothing properties on our digestion. Turmeric’s protective effects have been tested against acidic preparations that induce stomach ulcers, and proven to assist and protect the stomach’s cells to reduce damage to the stomach lining.
Additionally, turmeric has shown to protect our stomachs from certain ailments.
Benefit #6: Balances Blood Sugar
Positive benefits of of circumin also include its effect on insulin-producing cells, helping to balance blood sugar in the process.
Benefit #7: Normalizes Lipid Levels
Lipid profiles are done to determine any abnormalities in our lipids, including cholesterol and triglycerides. Turmeric has been proven to produce better lipid profile numbers when used in small servings after only one week. As a safe solution with an extremely low risk of side effects, this is an immediate benefit turmeric can give to the user.
Benefit #8: Improves Brain Function
All of us can use improvement to our brain function, some of us maybe more than others (I know it’s 2018 but please don’t be offended that’s just a joke). So I’ll try to refrain from being overly technical here, but essentially our neurons are capable of forming new connections, and, in some areas of the brain, are able to multiply and increase in number.
One of the main factors for this process is the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or BDNF; a growth hormone in the brain. Certain brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of BDNF. The circumin in turmeric has been proven to increase levels of BDNF in the brain. This delays and sometimes even reverses brain diseases or decreases in brain function that come with age.
One of the main brain-related diseases here is obviously Alzheimer’s, the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world. This disease leads to dementia, and unfortunately, there really is no definitive solution yet. The best thing we can do for Alzheimer’s is prevention. Turmeric not only helps increase brain function, but also clears the buildup of protein tangles in the brain, otherwise known as Amyloid plaques.
Again, sorry for the technical verbiage there, but sometimes the best way to explain an issue is to embrace the jargon that goes along with it. We’ll tone it down from here on.
Benefit #9: Increases Antioxidant Capacity
We hear about antioxidants all the time, most famously as an excuse to drink more red wine. Antioxidants are beneficial because they protect our bodies from diseases and many aging processes.
Turmeric is not only an antioxidant, but can actually boost the activity of antioxidant enzymes within our own bodies. It not only directly blocks free radicals (what antioxidants fight), but also stimulates our own antioxidant abilities. A true double threat.
Benefit #10: Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
As we all know (I hope), heart disease kills more people in the world than anything else, partly because there are so many different factors that can contribute to problems with our hearts. Circumin can help combat heart disease. We know that circumin reduces inflammation and oxidation, which are both contributing factors to heart disease.
Additionally, circumin improves the function of the lining of the blood vessels, also known as the endothelium. Endothelial dysfunction, particularly involving the struggle of the endothelium to properly regulate our blood pressure and blood clotting, is a major contributor to heart disease. A bit of turmeric can help to combat that, making the root a no-brainer here.
What is stopping you?
There are plenty times where making changes to our lives can be extremely difficult. Often they are time consuming, require immense effort, or have some factor to the change that make it hard for us to accomplish. Putting some turmeric in your food is not one of those things.
I’ve listed 10 real benefits to turmeric above, and if you’ve read them all I can almost guarantee that you, yes you, can identify AT LEAST 5 benefits that you’d be happy with receiving. Small adjustments like adding turmeric are amazing when they lead to so many positive improvements in our lives.
So I’ll ask again: what is stopping you? Turmeric isn’t going to break the bank. If, like me, you cook with a fair amount of spices, you know that they last quite a bit. We’re talking a couple dollars to pick up turmeric in the spice aisle, and it’ll last you a few weeks. You don’t have to put so much turmeric in that you’re overwhelmed with the added flavor. Sprinkle a bit in and you’re good to go.
Google is an incredible thing. You know this. Simply look up some recipes that include turmeric. Sound like a lot of work? Fine, I’ll give you a couple general ideas of foods that you can easily sprinkle a bit of turmeric in for the benefits you see above.
- Eggs: add it to some scrambled eggs, an omelette, or a frittata.
- Veggies:Put a pinch of turmeric in with roasted vegetables
- Soup: A sprinkle of turmeric can add some flavor to your favorite soups
- Tea: A bit of it in your tea won’t hurt
- Rice: This is probably my favorite. Turmeric is a great way to get a good amount in your diet while adding some solid flavor
There you go. Do me a favor…in fact, do your body a favor and put turmeric on your shopping list right now. Real benefits and real convenience. You can get on board with that.