Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin


Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial rhizomatous herbaceous plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae which you can grow at home, even in containers.

Turmeric health benefits for arthritis, skin, beauty, acne, weight loss, cancer, etc are described based on scientific research on curcumin and turmeric.

Turmeric spice or tumeric, a 5000 year-old herb has been used as a disinfectant and to fight inflammation in Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Whenever a person gets hurt and bleeds, the first thing Indians do is to give him a glass of milk with a teaspoon of turmeric spice powder dissolved in it. Turmeric has also been used in many home made beauty masks for acne, pimples, blemishes, etc.



Grow Turmeric at home in a pot
Grow turmeric at home in a pot

World's Healthiest Food Turmeric Spice

Modern research has reveled that the miracle herb turmeric is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anti-thrombotic. It is beneficial in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer's, asthma and to slow the ageing process. Turmeric may be capable of preventing and treating colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, skin, mouth, vulva and breast cancer. Turmeric is also very good to treat jaundice, flatulence, menstrual difficulties, hemorrhage, bloody urine, weight loss, etc. In fact, the turmeric curcumin uses are endless! No wonder, Doctors prescribe turmeric supplement, turmeric capsules, turmeric extract, turmeric tablets and turmeric powder to the patients with arthritis, inflamation and other problems.

You can grow turmeric at home easily and use fresh turmeric in your diet to take all the advantage of this miracle herb.

Turmeric Nutrition

Turmeric contains three curcuminoids: curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin; and volatile oils (curlone, curumene, tumerone, atlantone and zingiberone), sugars, proteins, and resins. Curcumin is a polyphenol which is responsible for the yellow color of turmeric. It also contains immune boosting polysaccharides.

Turmeric is the best known natural source of curcumin which is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric.

The following table given an in depth analysis of nutrients of turmeric (Curcuma longa) (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Nutrients Value RDA %
Energy354 Kcal17%
Carbohydrates64.9 g50%
Protein7.83 g14%
Total Fat9.88 g33%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber21 g52.5%
Vitamins
Folates39 µg10%
Niacin5.140 mg32%
Pyridoxine1.80 mg138%
Riboflavin0.233 mg18%
Vitamin A0 IU0%
Vitamin C25.9 mg43%
Vitamin E3.10 mg21%
Vitamin K13.4 µg11%
Electrolytes
Sodium38 mg2.5%
Potassium2525 mg54%
Minerals
Calcium183 mg18%
Copper603 µg67%
Iron41.42 mg517%
Magnesium193 mg48%
Manganese7.83 mg340%
Phosphorus268 mg38%
Zinc4.35 mg39.5%

Increases The Antioxidant Capacity of The Body

Turmeric is an excellent herb which has highest anti-oxidant strength among all the herbs and spices.
Turmeric is an excellent herb which contains bioactive compounds called curcuminoids having powerful medicinal properties. It contains curcumin 3.14 % by weight [1].

Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.  It is a very strong antioxidant, with highest anti-oxidant strength among all the herbs and spices. Turmeric is not only the best herb to protect our bodies from free radicals, but it also stimulates the body's own antioxidant enzymes.

Natural Anti Inflammatory

Turmeric or curcumin is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs with no side effects. The curcumin is a bioactive substance that helps the body fight inflammation, inhibiting many molecules responsible for inflammation and repair damage.

Curcumin, Turmeric for Arthritis Patients

As curcumin is strong anti-inflammatory, it can help in chronic joint pain, muscle pain and arthritis, caused by inflammation. In a study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, curcumin helped the patients and in some cases has been shown to be more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug [3].

I, myself having osteoarthritis, consume turmeric powder in milk and fresh organic turmeric root in the form of veggie curry. I feel much better.
Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

Improves Brain Functioning, Lowers Risk of Brain Diseases

Research on rats has revealed that curcumin has many neuroprotective properties, including improvement of cognition and neurogenesis. It can increase levels of BDNF in brain, a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain [4]. BDNF increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.

Many common brain disorders like depression and Alzheimer’s disease have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone.

Consuming turmeric may, therefore, delay or even reverse many brain diseases and age-related brain dysfunction including memory improvement (5].

India has the lowest dementia rate in the world because they consume turmeric daily through out their lifetime in their diet which prevents inflammation of the brain.

Curcumin has been shown to block over 97 different mechanisms of inflammation.

Curcumin Benefits Against Depression

Curcumin has shown potential promise in treating depression [6]. This study demonstrates evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe treatment in patients with suicidal or other psychotic disorders. Curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant.

Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Curcumin may improve the function of the endothelium, which is responsible to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and many other factors. The endothelium is the lining of the blood vessels. Turmeric can help reverse heart disease [7]. It can decrease the blood cholesterol level. Its ability to decrease the blood cholesterol level and effective at cleaning out your arteries. It is effective to reduce inflammation and oxidation, which is also important in heart disease.

Turmeric has been shown to be effective at cleaning out your arteries. If you have high cholesterol issues or high blood pressure, we know turmeric is helpful for that. If you have a plaque in your arteries, turmeric and curcumin have been shown to be effective.

Turmeric Can Prevent And Even Treat Cancer

Studies on animals have confirmed that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancer cells, their development and spread. It can inhibit the multiplication of tumor cells, including multiple myeloma, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer [8, 9].

The effect of curcumin for cancer treatment on humans has yet not been tested in detail on humans.

Prevents and Treats Alzheimer's Disease

There is not treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin, it is being thought that curcumin may be one of the most promising compounds for the development of Alzheimer's disease therapies  [10].

Curcumin May Delay Aging

Curcumin prevents and fights age-related chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, so definitely it may delay aging, thanks to its antioxidant and inflammatory properties.

Turmeric For Skin Care

The essential oil in turmeric is excellent for treating skin disorders such as acne, blemishes, bruises, sprains, fungal infections, etc. It can kill different types of bacteria like acne (homemade beauty recipes).

Mix some turmeric powder in flour, make a paste and use as a facial mask.  It improves the skin color also. In India, this facial pack is traditionally used by bride 3-4 days in advance of her marriage to make her body glow.

You may also make a face mask by mixing some turmeric with raw honey. Apply it on your face, and then wash it off after five minutes.

How Much Turmeric to Eat

You may wonder, how much turmeric one should consume daily to gets its health benefits in anemia, Alzheimer's disease, memory disorders and protection against cancers, infections, high blood pressure and strokes.

The amount is not much, as little as 50 milligram of turmeric over a period of many months will provide protection. Indians usually consume 1-2 g turmeric powder daily, so the rate of Alzheimer's disease in Indians is the lowest in the world.

One should note that taking curcumin supplements alone may not give you all the benefits of turmeric. Eating whole turmeric will benefit you more due to its other contents.

Recommendation

Consume half to one teaspoon of turmeric daily in the form of dried powder or fresh root. You can take it in milk or vegetable curries.

Note that curcumin is absorbed by the body with difficulty. You should eat turmeric with black pepper which helps its absorbance in the body. It is also dissolves in fat, so include some good fat while cooking turmeric curries.

Turmeric Side Effects: Who Should Not Eat Turmeric

Generally speaking, turmeric is safe for most people. The pregnant women and the people susceptible to kidney stones should not consume curcumin or turmeric. People with gallstones or stomach ulcers or bile duct obstruction should use it with caution as it may increase these conditions.

The turmeric has been associated with stimulating menstruation. You should avoid taking turmeric if you are on diabetes medicines.

References

1. Tayyem RF1, Heath DD, Al-Delaimy WK, Rock CL., Curcumin content of turmeric and curry powders
2. Jurenka JS, Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research, Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53. Review. Erratum in: Altern Med Rev. 2009 Sep;14(3):277. PMID: 19594223.
3. Belcaro G1, Cesarone MR, Dugall M, Pellegrini L, Ledda A, Grossi MG, Togni S, Appendino G., Product-evaluation registry of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, for the complementary management of osteoarthritis.
4. Laura L. Hurleya, Luli Akinfiresoyea, Evaristus Nwuliab, Atsushi Kamiyac, Amol A. Kulkarnid, Yousef Tizabia, , Antidepressant-like effects of curcumin in WKY rat model of depression is associated with an increase in hippocampal BDNF, Behavioural Brain Research, Volume 239, 15 February 2013, Pages 27–30 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432812006997
5. Suzhen Dong , Qingwen Zeng , E. Siobhan Mitchell, Jin Xiu, Yale Duan , Chunxia Li , Jyoti K. Tiwari, Yinghe Hu, Xiaohua Cao , Zheng Zhao, Curcumin Enhances Neurogenesis and Cognition in Aged Rats: Implications for Transcriptional Interactions Related to Growth and Synaptic Plasticity, February 16, 2012.
6. Sanmukhani J1, Satodia V, Trivedi J, Patel T, Tiwari D, Panchal B, Goel A, Tripathi CB., Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial, Phytother Res. 2014, Apr;28(4):579-85.
7. Wanwarang Wongcharoen, Arintaya Phrommintikul, The protective role of curcumin in cardiovascular diseases
8. Toshihiko Kawamori, Ronald Lubet, Vernon E. Steele, Gary J. Kelloff, Robert B. Kaskey, Chinthalapally V. Rao and Bandaru S. Reddy, Chemopreventive Effect of  Curcumin, a Naturally Occurring Anti-Inflammatory Agent, during the Promotion/Progression Stages of Colon Cancer
9. Dorai T, Cao YC, Dorai B, et al. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. III. Curcumin inhibits proliferation, induces apoptosis, and inhibits angiogenesis of LNCaP prostate cancer cells in vivo. Prostate 2001 Jun 1;47(4):293-303. 2001. PMID:16280.
10. Tsuyoshi Hamaguchi, Kenjiro Ono, Masahito Yamada, REVIEW: Curcumin and Alzheimer's Disease, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1755-5949.2010.00147.x/full




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