Turmeric is one of nature’s finest, parading as a healing spice that offers a list of surprising health benefits. It has been used throughout Chinese medicine over time and is now gaining increased popularity in the Western world as we cotton on to some of its claimed benefits for our health.
Turmeric’s main claim to health fame is its antioxidant properties through a compound known as curcumin. These properties help to reduce the havoc that free radicals can play on our body, and is said to help reduce inflammation. Some studies from the University of Arizona in the U.S. uncovered a reduction of symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis when turmeric was given to their group of lab rats.
Curcumin is the most potent compound found in turmeric and is also what gives off a yellow colour which is very apparent in the spice. Aside from antioxidant properties, some of the other health benefits* provided by curcumin found in turmeric are:
- Chronic inflammation – well known as a contributor to many diseases. Curcumin can inhibit many molecules known to play leading roles in inflammation.
- Neutralises free radicals, then stimulates the body’s antioxidant enzymes.
- Curcumin increases levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which boosts the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.
- Curcumin helps in the fight against heart disease.
- Curcumin leads to various changes on a molecular level which could help ward off, and potentially even treat, cancer.
- Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and has been acknowledged to lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Arthritis is a common disorder characterised by joint inflammation. Some studies have shown that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis.
- It has also been said that curcumin may be as effective as Prozac in alleviating the symptoms of depression.
It is known, however, that curcumin content of turmeric is not exceptionally great, at around only 3% by weight. Therefore, if you want to experience the full effects, you should consume an extract which contains greater amounts of curcumin.
In saying this, turmeric still offers a potential to be beneficial for our bodies and could offer up some great health advantages if added to our day-to-day routine. This could be through supplements or by including it into our meals.
TURMERIC TEA RECIPE
- 1 cup coconut or almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
- A small pinch of cayenne pepper
- Manuka honey to taste
- Place all ingredients into a small saucepan.
- Heat gradually over low heat, so the milk does not get too thick.
- When the desired temperature is reached, pour into your cup and enjoy.
Next time you’re slipping by the spice aisle at your local supermarket, grab a sachet of turmeric and start enjoying some its health benefits for yourself.