Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

Turmeric: A Healthy Spice
Turmeric: talk about a rock-star spice. Turmeric, which gives your curry and Indian foods that bold yellow-orange pigment, carries an impressive — some might say astounding — array of health benefits.

Sometimes called the Golden Spice or Indian saffron, turmeric is a plant with a long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4,000 years. Ground turmeric root has been used in Indian and Chinese cooking, and its medicinal benefits are as well-prized as its unique flavor.

Modern medicine has finally caught up with those benefits. According to a 2011 review, over 3,000 publications about turmeric came out within the last 25 years. Experts express equal enthusiasm. “If there were ever a spice that deserved a whole book written about it, turmeric would be the clear winner,” says Jonny Bowden, PhD, in The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, “It’s pretty much my favorite spice.”

What is Turmeric?
If you’ve ever tasted turmeric powder in a dish, you’re likely to remember its potent, bold flavor. Used for centuries as both food and medicine, turmeric belongs to the ginger family. Turmeric rhizomes (stems) are dried and ground to a yellow powder. Among the benefits that Bowden says deserve a whole book, turmeric can normalize the chronic inflammation that plays a role in nearly every disease. The anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric have been incredibly well researched.

Turmeric can also help with exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, boosting recovery and performance in active people. Its anti-inflammatory benefits, in fact, can even perform similarly to over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen but without their side effects.

Turmeric can help you manage oxidative stress, a condition where free radicals overtake your body’s antioxidant defenses. Along with chronic inflammation, oxidative stress paves a path for numerous diseases. Research shows turmeric has significant antioxidant abilities.

Turmeric has been used medicinally for various conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, skin cancer, and digestive disorders. The list goes on: There aren’t many conditions turmeric can’t benefit, although some are more well-researched and publicized.

However, you can’t mention the numerous medicinal or therapeutic benefits of turmeric without discussing a specific polyphenol or antioxidant called curcumin.

  • Issue by:Jessica Roggers
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