Move over, kale, and step aside, blueberries. Oh, spirulina, you can sit this one out as well. We don’t have anything against these powerful superfoods, but our attention is on a different superstar today: turmeric. This bold, spicy, and vibrantly orange spice exists in everything from expensive lattes to daily supplements.
Although the addition of turmeric to various foods may seem like a new trend, it has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. There have been many anecdotes about the healing properties of turmeric, but researchers have pinpointed certain health properties more recently. A lot of existing evidence focuses on turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, because researchers believe it is responsible for turmeric’s many health benefits. If you want to spice up your life, continue reading to learn more about why you should add turmeric to your diet.
Inflammation is a natural immune response, but chronic inflammation can lead to serious health conditions. Some of these health conditions include arthritis, heart disease, certain cancers, and more. One of the most well-known health benefits of turmeric is that it works to reduce inflammation in the body. Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, seems to block several inflammatory pathways in the body. According to researchers, this process may help reduce inflammation-related health conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
May Improve Brain Function
Several studies confirm that curcumin may help improve brain function in a number of ways. One study monitored individuals who took a curcumin supplement and they experienced improved memory and attention. A separate study found that people who ate curry on a regular basis had better cognitive function than people who didn’t. Turmeric is a very common ingredient in curry, which explains the study. Turmeric can also increase the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a growth hormone that plays a role in brain function and the development of new brain cells.
Reduced Risk Of Heart Disease
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally. An average 17.9 million people die from cardiovascular diseases each year. Some studies found that regular consumption of turmeric may reduce the risk of heart disease. Researchers note that curcumin may improve the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. Additionally, curcumin may lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the formation of blood clots, all of which contribute to better heart health.
Potential Anti-Cancer Effects
Many studies show that turmeric exhibits antimicrobial properties that can help fight off infections. Other studies suggest that curcumin may exhibit anti-cancer activity, but more research is necessary in human studies to confirm this. As of now, researchers note that curcumin may inhibit the growth and spread of some cancer cells, and it may also promote the death of cancer cells. Although this is preliminary, turmeric may prevent angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels that contribute to the growth of tumors.
May Improve Digestion
For centuries, people have used turmeric as a digestive aid in traditional medicine. Studies have shown that turmeric can help improve digestion, reduce bloating and gas, and support overall gut health. Additionally, curcumin may help reduce gut inflammation, which not only improves gut microbiome, but also reduces the risk of gut-related diseases.