Eating a single gram of turmeric each day could cause short-term memory improvements in people predisposed to memory loss, according to a study conducted by researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and several Taiwanese research institutes, and published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
"Our findings with turmeric are consistent with these observations, insofar as they appear to influence cognitive function where there is disordered energy metabolism and insulin resistance," researcher Mark Wahlqvist said.
Turmeric root has been used as a spice and medicine for thousands of years and is still an important component in traditional Asian cooking and medicinal systems. It is a critical component of curry powders, giving them their yellow color. That yellow color itself comes from a trio of chemicals known as "curcuminoids," the most commonly known being curcumin. In recent years, much research has focused on the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and other health-promoting benefits of curcumin.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Closely related to other members of the ginger family, turmeric is a perennial herb that is native to India and has the scientific name of Curcuma longa. The herb itself is derived from the rhizome of the plant, which is dried before the useful powdered form can be acquired. It needs a rather specific temperature and environment to thrive, so it is not widely cultivated throughout the world, but it is exported around the globe due to its desirability. The color of turmeric powder is perhaps the most striking characteristic, as it is bright yellow. You’ve certainly seen it, even if you haven’t recognized it, and if you have ever enjoyed Indian food, you have almost certainly consumed it.
Turmeric smells slightly like mustard but has a hot, almost pepper-like bitterness to it that complements a variety of dishes and makes turmeric very popular in soups, sauces, curries, meat dishes, biscuits, rice preparations, and as a general spice flavoring for dozens of other cultural dishes and specialties. Aside from its wide usage in food preparation, it has also been praised as one of the most comprehensive and powerful herbal medicines in Ayurvedic treatments and other traditional cultural remedies. Curcumin is the most important and active ingredient of this “super herb”. Turmeric juice is perhaps the most common form of the herb in medical use, but it can also be mixed into topical salves and creams. The essential oil of turmeric is also a powerful health agent, but the entire list of the health benefits of turmeric essential oil can be found on its own page within Organic Facts.
Health benefits of turmeric:
- Anti-Inflammatory Capacity
- Gastrointestinal Issues
- Menstrual Issues
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Cancer Treatment and Prevention
- Detoxification of the Body
- Heart Health
- Cognitive Abilities
3 reasons to include turmeric in your diet
Native to southwest India, and known for its radiant golden color and unique taste, turmeric has been used as a culinary herb for thousands of years, and is found in abundance in many Indian dishes, especially curries. But it is its role as a healing herb that has caused scientists to take a closer look at this "miracle spice."
The magic of turmeric resides in the roots, specifically in the chemical compound called curcumin. Curcumin is a polyphenol – a chemical compound found in plants with antioxidant properties and myriad therapeutic attributes. In 2007, a study in Advances in Experimental Medicines and Biology, went so far as to state that, "Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer activities, and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and other chronic illnesses."
- Defense Against Cognitive Decline
- Defense Against Cancer
- Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Why Fresh Turmeric is Good For You
Fresh turmeric is as different from its more familiar dried equivalent as root ginger is from ground ginger. The root (or rhizome) looks like a smaller, thinner Jerusalem artichoke. When you peel it, the bright orange flesh releases a heady fragrance.
Fresh turmeric tastes unique: quite earthy, a little citrussy, with some of the tongue-numbing power of Sichuan pepper and a hint of bitterness. Used raw in tiny amounts, either grated or cut into thin matchsticks, it transforms a dull cabbage and carrot slaw into something positively exciting. Use fresh turmeric in Indian recipes that call for dried for a livelier result.
Turmeric Milk Benefits: A Pinch of Health
So why exactly should you add turmeric milk to your regular diet? Dr. Gautam suggests five top reasons to add a pinch of this golden spice in your daily glass of milk.
- Having milk at night is anyway beneficial for health and it induces good sleep. When teamed with turmeric, it also acts as an anti-ageing tonic.
- Turmeric milk fastens the recovery from an injury. Most people have is especially after a physical trauma, sickness or surgery to speed up the healing.
- Turmeric has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory properties, anti-microbial, anti-allergic properties
- Having turmeric milk is also beneficial in treating joint and bone issues including arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- It also helps with fighting skin infections, disorders and allergies
The amazing health benefits of turmeric
Inexpensive, mild-tasting turmeric may have benefits for nearly every system in the body, say some nutritionists. (Photo: Swapan Photography/Shutterstock)
Turmeric, an orange-colored spice imported from India, is part the ginger family and has been a staple in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cooking for thousands of years.
In addition, ayurvedic and Chinese medicines utilize turmeric to clear infections and inflammations on the inside and outside of the body. But beyond the holistic health community, Western medical practitioners have only recently come on board in recognizing the benefits of turmeric.
Here are some of the ways turmeric may benefit your body:
- Blocking cancer
- Powerful antioxidant
- Potent anti-inflammatory
- Osteoarthritis pain relief
- Indigestion and heartburn aid
- Heart disease
- Impact on diabetes
- “Raw is best”
10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.
Many high quality studies show that it has major benefits for your body and brain.
Here are the top 10 evidence-based health benefits of turmeric.
- Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties
- Curcumin is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound
- Turmeric Dramatically Increases The Antioxidant Capacity of The Body
- Curcumin Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases
- Curcumin Leads to Various Improvements That Should Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
- Turmeric Can Help Prevent (And Perhaps Even Treat) Cancer
- Curcumin May be Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
- Arthritis Patients Respond Very Well to Curcumin Supplementation
- Studies Show That Curcumin Has Incredible Benefits Against Depression
- Curcumin May Help Delay Ageing and Fight Age-Related Chronic Diseases
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Botanical view of Curcuma longa
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) /ˈtɜrmərɪk/ or /ˈtjuːmərɪk/ or /ˈtuːmərɪk/ is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to southwest India, requiring temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season.
When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled for about 30–45 minutes then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep-orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in Bangladeshi cuisine, Indian cuisine, Pakistani cuisine and curries, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. One active ingredient is curcumin, which has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell.
In the U.S., turmeric is best known as a spice. It's one of the main components of curry powder. In India and other parts of Asia, turmeric is used to treat many health conditions. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and perhaps even anticancer properties. Why do people take turmeric? Curcumin, a substance in turmeric, may help to reduce inflammation. Several studies suggest that it might ease symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, like pain and inflammation. Other compounds in turmeric might also be medicinal.
In lab tests, curcumin seems to block the growth of certain kinds of tumors. One study showed that turmeric extract containing curcumin could -- in some cases -- stabilize colorectal cancer that wasn't helped by other treatments. But more research is needed. Other preliminary lab studies suggest that curcumin or turmeric might protect against types of skin diseases, Alzheimer's disease, colitis, stomach ulcers, and high cholesterol. Based on lab studies, turmeric and curcumin might also help treat upset stomach, scabies, diabetes, HIV, uveitis, and viral infections. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these studies have been done in the laboratory. Researchers haven’t yet conducted significant studies on the benefits of turmeric and curcumin. So it's too early to say what health benefits turmeric might have.
How much turmeric should you take? - Turmeric is an unproven treatment, though it has years of traditional use and some preliminary convincing research. There is no standard dosage. Ask your health care provider for advice. Can you get turmeric naturally from foods? - Turmeric, as a spice, is a common ingredient in Indian cooking. The spice (and supplement) comes from the underground stems (rhizomes) of the turmeric plant.
Turmeric (Curcumin) Shown to Possess a Powerful Anti-Aging Effect
The latest, and most likely, program theory of aging is the telomere shortening theory. Telomeres are the end-cap segments of DNA (our genetic material). Each time a cell replicates, a small piece of DNA is taken off the end of each chromosome. The shorter the telomere gets, the more it affects gene expression. The result is cellular aging and an increased risk for immune dysfunction, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and other degenerative diseases. New research shows that curcumin, the yellow pigment of turmeric (Curcuma longa), may exert significant benefit in preventing telomere shortening and may actually promote elongation of telomeres.
Background Information - The key to slowing down the aging process and extending maximal human lifespan will ultimately involve preserving or restoring telomere length to the DNA (as well as decreasing chromosomal damage, cellular oxidation, and many other factors).
Several measures have already been shown to achieve this goal:
- Simply adopting a comprehensive dietary and lifestyle change consistent with good health has been shown to preserve telomere length.
- Physical exercise has been shown to be associated with preserving telomere length.
- Meditation has been shown to preserve telomere length by reducing the negative effects of stress.
- Higher vitamin D levels are associated with longer telomeres
- Since levels of inflammatory markers in the blood correlate with telomere shortening, natural strategies that reduce inflammation are very important in reducing the rate of telomere shortening.
Curcumin or Turmeric
Curcumin is the yellow pigment associated with the curry spice, Turmeric, and to a lesser extent Ginger. It is a small molecule that is the prototypical 'curcuminoid', and has effects similar to other polyphenols but unique in a way as it is a different class of polyphenol (relative to the other classes of 'flavonoid', 'stilbene', etc.) It exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects, and these anti-inflammatory effects seem to be quite protective against some form of cancer progression.
However, curcumin has additional anti-cancer effects that are independent of its anti-inflammatory effects and thus is a heavily researched molecule for both cancer prevention and treatment. Other areas of interest as it pertains to curcumin are alleviating cognitive decline associated with aging, being heart healthy by both electrical means and reducing lipid and plaque levels in arteries, and both reducing the risk of diabetes and being a good treatment for the side-effects associated with diabetes.
It has a poor oral bioavailability (a low percentage of what you consume is absorbed) and thus should be enhanced with other agents such as black pepper extract, called piperine. This is unless you want the curcumin in your colon (as it is a colon anti-inflammatory and can help with digestion), in which case you wouldn't pair it with an enhancement. Doses up to 8g curcuminoids in humans have been shown to not be associated with much adverse effects at all, and in vitro tests suggest curcumin has quite a large safety threshold.
Turn to turmeric to brighten skin
Turmeric, also known as “haldi”, has a multitude of beauty benefits
Westworld actress Thandie Newton describes the spice as “extraordinary”, and adds it to tinted moisturiser for a base or a spoonful to a glass of water. Why? Because turmeric, the deep orange root from India, is amazing for your skin.
Native to Southeast Asia, it is often found in curries, giving the food its brilliant, golden orange colour. Turmeric is used as a balancing ingredient in Ayurvedic diets and is associated with many health benefits.
And Indian brides have long used the spice as a head-to-toe body scrub and face mask to brighten skin before their weddings.
Could a curry a week PREVENT dementia? Turmeric 'blocks the rogue proteins that trigger Alzheimer's disease'
Curcumin, the key chemical in turmeric used in everything from mild Kormas to the hottest Vindaloos, is believed to block rogue proteins called beta amyloid which clumps together to form plaques which destroy neurons - a key hallmark of Alzheimer's disease
Eating curry at least once a week may help ward off dementia, according to scientists.
The study shows that a spice commonly used in the dish boosts brain power and protects against memory loss in old age.
Curcumin, the key chemical in turmeric used in everything from mild Kormas to the hottest Vindaloos, is believed to delay or prevent dementia symptoms.
A study of middle aged and elderly people found those who popped a capsule of the stuff three times a day had better memories than those given a dummy pill.
Why Fresh Turmeric is Good For You
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