- Turmeric – a very common Indian spice
- Turmeric as a medicinal supplement
- Health benefits of Turmeric
- How to consume Turmeric?
Turmeric or Haldi, known commonly as the yellow colored powder with a subtle taste, has long been known and used in India. Indeed, many ancient texts and sources have recorded the usage of the spice – not as a food product, but as a medicinal supplement. Indeed, Ayurvedic texts contain over a hundred different names for turmeric, including monikers such as ‘the one who is victorious over diseases’. Turmeric comes from the plant Curcuma longa, whose root produces the spice. This plant is known to be extremely rich in curcumin, which not only gives turmeric its colour but is also responsible for the medicinal properties that turmeric possesses according to science of Ayurveda.
Recent western interest in this spice has led to an upsurge in research on the beneficial properties of Haldi, which have only confirmed what the Indian subcontinent long knew – that integrating this wonder spice into your daily diet can give incredible results. Here are some top benefits of turmeric you should know about –
- Turmeric Is Anti-Inflammatory – One of the most potent medical properties of the curcumin in turmeric is its anti-inflammatory nature. Inflammation refers to the ‘burning’, swelling and reddening of a particular part of the body, and is often necessary for the healing process. However, chronic, low-level inflammation can be the bedrock of many lifestyle problems, such as heart disease and cancer. This is where Haldi comes in – it has been found to be a very effective tool to fight such inflammation, without the side effects of modern medicine. Thus, regular Haldi consumption can keep your body safe from the risk of developing a number of chronic problems.
- Turmeric Can Help Digestive Issues – There is nothing worse than a hearty meal followed by the feelings of bloating, gassiness, or stomach inflammation. Consumed raw, turmeric can help in a number of digestive problems. Haldi stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile. Additionally its anti-inflammatory properties also stimulate proper functioning of the digestive system, and it has been known to reduce gut spasms and flatulence.
- Turmeric Cleanses The Body – Heard of free radicals? Consider them pesky, unwanted particles that clog your body and pose danger to it, ranging from faster ageing to the possibility of infections. Prolonged exposure to radicals, such as via environmental pollution, can damage fats and even DNA inside our body, and create the risk of diseases such as cancer and heart problems. Turmeric and the curcumin inside it are rich in antioxidants, which can help in flushing out these toxins from your body, and also enhance and control the biological processes responsible for neutralizing and creating these radicals. Hence it is an excellent agent to improve liver function, to maintain liver health. People under strong medication should use it to flush out toxins from their body. Thus, turmeric is a very effective cleanser for the body, especially for those who live in polluted environment like urban cities.
- Turmeric Can Also Cleanse The Skin – You might have seen many companies advertising the presence of turmeric in their skin products. And remember the wedding tradition of dousing the bride and groom in Haldi? Turmeric is not just good consumed, but also applied out on the skin. Due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, turmeric can reduce redness, acne, and even conditions like eczema. It also provides anti-ageing functions, reducing stretch marks and protecting the skin against sun damage. While some may shirk away from using the spice on their face due to the fear of turning yellow, making an effective pack with even a little amount of turmeric can do wonders for the skin, and make it worth the slight tinge you might face for a few hours.
- Turmeric Can Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease – Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties discussed above, turmeric indirectly plays an important role in protecting you against heart diseases. However, it may also play a more direct role by protecting the endothelial, the ‘covering’ of the heart that is also responsible for regulating blood pressure and blood clotting. Thus, regular turmeric consumption (alongside, of course, a healthy lifestyle), can significantly boost your health and heart and keep you safe from risky chronic conditions.
- Turmeric Can Impact Brain Health and Functioning – Tentative but exciting research has linked turmeric to increased levels of a particular growth hormone in the brain (BDNF), whose deprivation has been linked to a number of brain problems including Alzhimer’s and depression. Thus, regular turmeric consumption can help both brain functioning and mental health. Impact of Haldi on the brain can also lead to better memory and concentration.
- Turmeric Aids Diabetes Control – Some studies have indicated at regular consumption of turmeric can help delay the onset of diabetes in those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Turmeric can also help in controlling blood glucose levels by boosting insulin function, and enhancing the absorption of insulin medication. However, turmeric can cause blood thinning, and thus it may be best to consult with your doctor before integrating turmeric into your diabetic treatment.
- Turmeric May Play A Role in Cancer Prevention – Studies have suggested that curcumin in turmeric may prevent some types of cancers from manifesting in the first place, in particular cancers of the digestive system. Turmeric has also been found effective in the treatment of cancer, with studies showing that curcumin can contribute to the death of cancerous cells and their spread in the body. While more intensive research may be needed to confirm this completely, turmeric and curcumin hold out promising potential in the treatment of this deadly disease.
- Turmeric Is An Effective Ointment Replacement – Perhaps the first memory you have of turmeric being used as a medical treatment is when it was sprinkled on your childhood cut or wound. Trusted above medical ointments even today, turmeric has been used since ancient times for external wounds. As a spice containing both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric helps in ensuring that the wound site does not develop any infections, while also aiding the biological processes that help in closing the cut or wound.
- Turmeric Can Help With Arthritis – Arthritis involves inflammation of the joints, and is a particular bane for elderly people. However, it has been found that turmeric, with its anti-inflammatory properties, can help in the alleviation of arthritis symptoms, with some studies finding it even more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs. Thus, not only can turmeric consumption boost the general health of the elderly, it can also help in specific ailments that may trouble them in old age.
How To Consume Turmeric?
With all the great benefits of this wonder spice, you may be keen to consume it. With near to no side effects (cautions exist for those with diabetes and pregnant women) turmeric can be easily integrated into daily diet. Ideally consumed in the form of golden milk, you can easily prepare a hot beverage by mixing turmeric and some black pepper into hot milk, it helps in much higher absorption of curcumin. (Reason: Piperine is a compound that is found in black pepper and which is responsible for its pungency; it improves the bio-availability of turmeric by 2000%, yes you read it right!)
So, what are you waiting for? Get brewing and experience the benefits of this wonder spice yourself!
(Note 1: Those of you who have been using Turmeric and have seen results, we would like to hear your story. Please do comment here or reach out to us, as many articles mention that there have not been much clinical human trials to establish these benefits, though it has been part of Indian tradition for long)
Note 2: People mention that they do not like the taste of golden milk and hence don’t consume it too often. We suggest using little cinnamon powder or stick, fresh honey to improve the taste)