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A content writer at wellnessworks. She writes on topics about wellness, health, yoga, and food. A former sub-editor for a real estate magazine. A former food critic for a well-known company. She has worked in the food and hotel industry in New Zealand and loves to bake.

Turmeric is a very well-known spice grown in Central America and India. With the onset of this Ayurvedic superfood, turmeric has become a major part of a millennial’s diet. Be it turmeric lattes at coffee shops, turmeric poached eggs for brunch, turmeric in smoothies and chocolate bars or in organic cosmetics for color.    

Besides the above, turmeric has a history of being part of holistic medicine and offering immense health benefits worldwide. It is not just a staple spice in cuisines or an offering in religious ceremonies but a golden spice that has healing measures.  

Turmeric and Curcumin

Turmeric has the presence of a naturally-occurring chemical compound called Curcumin. The root contains about 2 to 5% of curcumin. Curcumin belongs to a family of chemicals that are known as ‘curcuminoid’ and is the reason behind the bright yellow color in turmeric. 

An interesting fact about turmeric and curcumin is the use of black pepper with it. The ancient known Ayurvedic drink, turmeric milk boots your immunity naturally. However, you may not know that adding pepper to your turmeric milk can reap you numerous health benefits.

Why so? Because curcumin alone cannot be utilized by the human body because of its poor bioavailability. Thus, it gets metabolized instead of getting absorbed. Piperine, an active ingredient found in pepper helps curcumin to easily absorb in your body. It inhibits the working of certain digestive enzymes that prevent the absorption of curcumin. 

7 health benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

Ayurvedic and Chinese medical practitioners swear by the use of turmeric to clear infections and inflammations from the body. Nonetheless, Western medical practitioners are not far from using turmeric and curcumin in their medicinal research.

1. Turmeric and Curcumin Support Weight Loss 

Turmeric and curcumin benefit in losing fat and reducing weight loss. Adding turmeric to your daily diet whether, in the form of a curcumin supplement, turmeric root or plain spice powder will lead to an increase in fat burn.  

Increase in stress, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits lead to weight gain. The stress hormones in your body tend to go off balance, thus accumulating more fat around your stomach. However, turmeric and curcumin benefit and balance your stress hormones that stop your body from storing fat.  

A study published in the European Review for Medica and Pharmacological Sciences in November 2015 studied overweight people with metabolic syndrome. These people had already lost 2% of their body weight. They took curcumin supplements for 30 days. As a result, these curcumin supplements helped them to lose a total of 5% of their body weight and reduced body fat by 8%. 

The anti-inflammatory properties present in turmeric and curcumin are able to fight obesity and reduce inflammation. Try incorporating turmeric tea along with two of the most known superfood that will help you with weight loss.

Turmeric tea with ginger

Add a dash of turmeric and ginger to the water and bring it to a boil. Then, cool it to room temperature and drink the tea daily to see effective results. Ginger acts as a natural appetite suppressant, that helps in weight loss. Moreover, it helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels.

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Turmeric tea with cinnamon powder

Add some cinnamon powder or a piece of cinnamon stick to your cup of turmeric tea. Cinnamon helps to improve insulin sensitivity and acts as a potent antioxidant. Drink this on an empty stomach to see effective results.

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2. Reduces the Risk of Cancer 

According to the American Cancer Society,  1 out of at least 4 deaths is due to cancer. The percentage of cancer patients is increasing every year with over 100 types of cancer.   

Due to the anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties in turmeric and curcumin, it prevents the cancerous cell from growing in the body. The curcumin in turmeric slows down the development and growth of cancer in the body.

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, USA has termed turmeric and curcumin one of the most effective cancer combatants after effective research and study.  

With the simple addition of 1 tablespoon (4 grams) of turmeric per day, you can naturally and effectively help your body and mind clear of cancer. It reduces the number of precancerous lesions in the colon by 40%. Curcumin is most beneficial in breast, bowel, stomach, and skin cancer according to research.  Turmeric does not only help fight off cancer in humans but in animals as well.  

 

3. Improves and Soothes Digestion 

Turmeric and curcumin are an old natural remedy used for centuries in Ayurvedic Medicine. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties:

  1. It helps to improve digestion and soothes gut inflammation.
  2. The presence of curcumin in turmeric acts as a stimulator for the gallbladder in your body.
  3. It helps to produce bile to break down food and improve digestion.
  4. Turmeric reduces symptoms of bloating and gas especially for those suffering from indigestion.  
  5. Curcumin can also help people with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes sores in the digestive tract.
  6. There is a study published in the book Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, 2nd edition on how turmeric helps with bowel-related ailments. It found that those who take turmeric for 8 weeks have shown a decrease in severe abdominal pain and discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome.   

 

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4. Turmeric Promotes Radiant Skin 

Turmeric keeps your skin healthy in many ways. It is an anti-aging powerhouse with antioxidant properties that boosts the overall skin health. Similarly, its antiinflammatory properties help fight the appearance of aging skin 

A scientific study in 2016 found that turmeric improves numerous skin disorders and conditions when applied directly on the skin or ingested internally. However, the use of turmeric to treat skin infections goes way back to the Ayurvedic period.  In Indian weddings, they have a ceremony of applying turmeric paste to the bride and groom for radiant looking skin for their big day.

Moreover, turmeric also keeps acne at bay by preventing the growth of bacteria and reducing oil secretion in the skin. Regular use of turmeric clears acne scars, allowing your skin to look flawless and glowing. Curcumin present in turmeric reduces pigmentation by curbing the growth of free radicals and also helps your body produce more radiant and healthy-looking skin. 

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5. Improves Brain Function and Sharpens your Memory 

In traditional medicine, turmeric and curcumin help to boost cognitive abilities, increase concentration, and boost memory retention. Even after multiple research turmeric is still considered a brain-boosting herbConditions like aging, dementia, and Alzheimer’s cause damage to the brain cells. This causes a decrease in cognitive health, memory loss, and other conditions. 

On the other hand, curcumin contains at least 10 neuroprotective actions that help the functioning of the brain in many ways. It helps in regeneration of the brain cells in a similar way that exercise brings about.  It also helps to boost and regain memory.

Adding turmeric to your diet can help to improve learning as well as concentration. A study conducted in 2017 revealed that curcumin helps to improve memory and mood swings especially in people who suffer from mild cases of memory loss and depression. 

Researchers conducted an experiment with a group of 40 adults between the ages of 50 and 90. They were asked to take either curcumin or placebo supplements for 18 months. As a result, those who took the curcumin supplement saw an improvement in memory and attention span by 28%.

 

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6. Prevents Arthritis & Reduces Joint Pain 

Turmeric is beneficial in promoting overall joint health and mobility. Since curcumin in turmeric is anti-inflammatory in nature, it can benefit the joints and keep them from getting inflamed and swollen. Researchers found that taking 500 mg of daily curcumin was more effective than the prescription drugs given to Rheumatoid arthritis patients. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes painful swelling in the joints. 

Curcumin as a powerful antioxidant neutralizes the free radicals that damage healthy cells causing arthritis. By neutralizing these free radicals, curcumin protects the cells and joints from damaging further. Those who suffer from joint pain, joint stiffness, swelling, and inflammation, should take curcumin supplements to reap the desired results. Turmeric supplements also help in the reduction of arthritic pain, gout, and muscle pain due to exercise or injury. 

 

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7. Turmeric Boosts the Immune System 

As we know that immunity is our body’s natural defense against diseases, bacteria, and viruses. It helps us to stay healthy and fit. Immunity is considered a holy grail of health by nutritionist and health experts. Thus, keeping us away from diseases and ailments of all severity whether it is a cold or a more serious one.  

Turmeric and curcumin increase the immunity-boosting proteins in your body. It has a positive effect on your healthy inflammation response that is triggered when your immunity is low and under attack. Turmeric and curcumin, as dietary supplements support your immune function by supplying a healthy dose of powerful antioxidants. 

If you are feeling under the weather or your immunity is low – Eat ½ teaspoon of turmeric with ½ teaspoon of clarified butter (ghee) and ¼ teaspoon of pepper with warm water.  This Ayurvedic concoction will boost your immunity and keep away diseases.  

 

Side-effects of Turmeric 

Side effects of consuming turmeric or taking curcumin supplements are very rare. However, it is important to keep them in mind. If you take high doses of turmeric and curcumin, you will feel bouts of dizziness.  It also leads to an upset stomach, or diarrhea. It builds up stomach acid for those suffering from acid reflux as well.

Women during pregnancy should avoid turmeric because it is associated with stimulating the uterus.

Turmeric is known to slow blood clotting. Hence, if you are consuming the following drugs such as aspirin, Plavix, ibuprofen, naproxen, and warfarin, make sure to be careful to consume turmeric. It is best to check with your doctor before taking turmeric.

Take Away

Turmeric, also known as Indian saffron contains curcumin, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects. It has been tried and tested for thousands of years by Ayurvedic medical practitioners and has been declared as a superfood.

Both turmeric and curcumin have numerous health benefits that contribute to your healthy well-being. They reduce joint inflammation, cholesterol, blood sugar, inflammation, bacterial infections, and digestive issues as well as cancer.  Turmeric also gives you radiant and healthy-looking skin.

Use turmeric in your daily diet in all its form whether a root, powder or as supplements. Brew a turmeric tea, sip on a turmeric latte, add it to your curry and roasted vegetables or blend it in your smoothies.  Make sure to add some black pepper with your turmeric powder or supplement, as this will help improve curcumin’s absorption.

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