Daily Benefits of Taking Turmeric
Turmeric is perhaps not a word you come across in your everyday life. In spite of this, it’s very likely you have already encountered it. It’s what provides mustard and curry with that deep and rich colour. While it is most commonly used to give foods that much-needed colouring, it also provides several health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties.
The spice called turmeric originates in the root of the plant known as curcuma longa, an important member of the ginger family. Its primary ingredient is curcumin and it is this which is largely responsible for the health benefits that turmeric bestows. It is also responsible for the yellowing colour which makes it very prone to staining, so be careful not to get it on your clothes.
Let’s take a look at the various health benefits associated with taking turmeric regularly. For a start, it is commonly thought to be beneficial in cases of inflammations affecting tissues in the body. A recent study of patients suffering from ulcerative colitis showed that those who took two grams of curcumin each day along with prescribed medication had a higher chance of staying in remission than those who only took the prescribed medication. This is not to suggest that turmeric can help during an initial flare-up but there is evidence to suggest it may help in prolonging the remission period.
Another trial has pointed at turmeric, if taken twice daily for eighteen months at ninety milligrams, can be useful in improving the memory of adults who are not suffering from dementia. The research indicates that the antioxidant properties found in turmeric, when combined with reduced inflammation in the brain, help to maintain neurocognition, which enables people to think and reason.
There is an emerging theory that turmeric may be useful in preventing people from developing Alzheimer’s disease. This is due to another active ingredient known as turmerone which helps to trigger cell repair, although more research is required to establish the validity of this.
Turmeric is also potentially useful in combatting the effects of arthritis. Studies that compare anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric against those of anti-inflammatory medications that don’t contain steroids have produced promising results. These results have been backed up by animal studies that have focused on curcumin’s efficiency as a potential treatment for arthritis.
That being said, however, further tests are required, especially concerning patients who rely on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to mitigate their arthritic symptoms, to determine just how efficient curcumin really is.
A further potential benefit of regularly taking turmeric is that it has the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease. At least one study has shown the potential for turmeric to reverse the effects of heart disease. In healthy adults who were middle-aged or older who took turmeric and curcumin supplements for twelve weeks, the production of resistance artery endothelial, which plays a key role in high blood pressure, was increased. A further study which followed over one hundred people who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery found that those who took four grams of curcumin per day just before and immediately following the surgery saw their risk of having a heart attack in the hospital reduced by up to 65%. In addition to this, research suggests that taking turmeric alongside medication may help to lower certain cholesterol levels, although further studies are needed to determine exactly which levels and how effective turmeric is in this regard.
If you are suffering from depression, turmeric may provide you with some assistance in combatting it. Depression reduces the protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF for short and the hippocampus, which is important for both learning and memory, also shrinks. A study has recently shown that curcumin can boost your levels of BDNF and reverse any changes brought on by depression. It has also been suggested that curcumin can increase your body’s levels of serotonin and dopamine. These are chemicals found in the brain that regulate your mood and other body functions.
If you ever decide to take turmeric, you can take it either as a supplement or consume it as a spice. Health professionals lean towards taking curcumin as a supplement because it has been extracted from the turmeric. Turmeric that is bought in the store has some antioxidant properties and while it may not have any significant effects in spice form, it is a great seasoning for food and a substitute for salt. Some benefits may be reaped by using turmeric in smoothies, soups, scrambled eggs and roast vegetables among others.
For most people, taking turmeric is safe and presents no ill effects. However, there are some circumstances where you should err on the side of caution. For example, if you are pregnant, you should avoid taking turmeric in medicinal quantities because studies on animals have pointed to oestrogen levels being altered. On the other hand, small amounts may even prove to be beneficial during your pregnancy.
High quantities of turmeric should also be avoided if you have iron deficiency anaemia, as compounds found in the spice are known to bind themselves to iron in the gut, thus making it unavailable for absorption. Turmeric is not recommended for those who suffer from gallstones, obstructions in the bile duct or liver disease since it increases bile secretion and therefore may aggravate the symptoms of these conditions.
There is still much to be learned about the health benefits of regular turmeric consumption. If you are considering it as an option and require further advice or consultation, your first port of call should be your GP to make sure your health won’t be adversely affected.
This article along with all articles on this site are for educational and informational purposes only and must not be used or taken as a substitute in any form for any medical, psychological (mental) advice, medication you are currently taking or any alternative treatments without the prior advice, guidance and consent from your medical doctor. Please speak with your doctor first before making any changes to your diet or medicine as a result of reading any information laid out on this website or in this or any other articles.
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