13 Sep Spice It Up: Turmeric For The Immune System And Its Benefits
Many individuals have been incorporating turmeric into their diet for its health benefits for centuries. Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family that is grown primarily in Southeast Asia. The turmeric underground stem is ground up and that creates the spice we can use for culinary and medicinal purposes.
The major component of turmeric, curcumin, is what gives turmeric its yellow color and also is shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and strong antioxidant content. When incorporating turmeric into your diet, it is recommended to add ½ tsp to a smoothie or scrambled eggs or to even coat nuts such as almonds or cashews with it1. Curcumin is also antimicrobial and antibacterial.
Curcumin has been proven to act as a strong anti-inflammatory property that blocks inflammatory molecule action in the body. Studies have shown positive effects of curcumin on individuals suffering from conditions. Turmeric is promoted as a dietary supplement to support a variety of conditions, including arthritis, digestive disorders, allergies, mood disorders, and many others.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is the bright yellow spice that has been utilized throughout Asia for centuries. In more recent decades, it has been embraced by the West for its remarkable list of health benefits. That is not disregarding its ability to satisfy any individual’s need for a curry appetite.
As mentioned, it is grown from the root, therefore it has an ancient history of being used in the following areas:
- Traditional medicine
- Fabric dyeing
What Are The Benefits Of Turmeric For The Immune System?
So now that we know a little bit about this spice, let’s look at some of the benefits this spice has to offer.
Turmeric Works As A Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation is an essential aspect of the body. The main avenues it conquers are the following:
- Repairing damage caused by viruses, injuries, or bacteria
- Fighting off harmful invaders
Anti-inflammatory acts as a powerful compound when it comes to the following areas:
- When it comes to heart disease, research supports that curcumin can improve the function of the endothelium, the lining of your blood vessels, and this, in turn, can help support a decrease in heart disease risk.
- Turmeric helps fight diseases such as cancer.
Turmeric Is A Strong Antioxidant
Studies have shown curcumin to be a well-rounded collector of oxygen free radicals. The oxygen-free radicals are chemically active molecules that damage an individual’s body cells. When the two factors of inflammation and free radical damage coincide, it becomes a key driver of cardiovascular disease.
Therefore, curcumin plays a huge part in managing and preventing heart disease. Additionally, turmeric has proven to lower triglycerides for individuals needing improved blood pressure and at risk for heart disease. The antioxidants in turmeric are also known to reduce the risk of:
- Macular degeneration
Turmeric Brings Anti-Cancer Effects
There have been countless animal and human studies exploring turmeric’s effect on cancer. Research on mice suggests that curcumin might assist with slowing down the spread of tumor cells and possibly preventing them from growing in the first place.
Turmeric operates this by affecting the following areas of cancer at a molecular level.
Research has shown that Turmeric can perform in the following ways when it comes to cancer:
- Reducing negative side effects of chemotherapy
- Contributing to the death of cancerous cells in numerous different cancers
- Reducing the actual spread of cancer
- Disrupting the formation of the cancerous cells at numerous stages in the cycle
- Interfering with cell signaling pathways
The Type Of Cancer Turmeric Can Treat
Turmeric Might Be Considered Food For The Brain
There is thriving evidence that suggests that Curcumin can cross the blood and brain barrier, and might be able to assist in protecting against Alzheimer’s disease. It does this by reducing the build-up of protein plaques in the brain and inflammation which are some of the main characteristics of individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
Some studies suggest that Turmeric can also aid in mood disorders and depression. There are Turmeric supplements that have been known to lower anxiety symptoms and depression. In numerous trials, depression scores.
To increase absorption, combining turmeric with the following items has proven to be beneficial:
- Fats such as rapeseed and olive oil
- Black pepper increases consumption by 2000%
Turmeric Might Protect Against Heart Disease
A past study has indicated that curcumin might improve endothelial function, also known as the health of the thin membrane that covers the inside of the blood vessels and the heart. This membrane plays an essential role in blood pressure regulation. The lower endothelial function is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and aging of an individual.
Turmeric can also assist with reducing a person’s likelihood of developing heart disease and it helps in protecting against age-related loss of function. In a case study, researchers compared the effects of aerobic exercise that was eight weeks long and a curcumin supplement aimed at improving endothelial function in postmenopausal women.
Both the curcumin and exercise group saw improvements equally in endothelial function, and the control group experienced no changes. In another study, curcumin was found to be equally effective at the improvement of endothelial function in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Turmeric Might Help With Easing Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis
Curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory properties as mentioned so it proves effective and safe as a long-term treatment option for individuals with osteoarthritis. In a past study, individuals with osteoarthritis who consumed 1,000 mg a day of the medication Meriva experienced substantial improvement in physical function and stiffness after eight months, the control group experienced no improvements.
Turmeric Might Help Prevent Or Treat Diabetes
According to the past review of previous studies, curcumin might be able to assist with treating and preventing diabetes, along with associated disorders such as diabetic nephropathy. The biggest disadvantage is most of the studies have been performed on animals, and not on humans. One study discovered that feeding 80 mg of one of the main substances of curcumin called tetrahydrocurcumin per kg body weight to rats with type 2 diabetes for 45 days led to a consequential decrease in blood sugar and an increase in plasma insulin.
Another study published in the July of 2019 issue of Nutrition and Metabolism indicated that in obese mice with type 2 diabetes, it was revealed that curcumin supplements helped in insulin levels being lowered after 16 weeks. Curcumin helps prevent diabetes through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It improves the following areas:
- Hyperlipidemia (which is a medical term describing elevated levels of fat in the blood)
- Insulin resistance
- High blood pressure
What Other Areas Does Turmeric Benefit?
Turmeric truly is a powerhouse element. Aside from everything mentioned above, there are so many benefits that Turmeric assists with.
- It helps reverse or delay Alzheimer’s disease.
- Turmeric plays a major role in treating depression.
- It might improve skin health.
- Turmeric can play a huge role in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
- It might work as an anti-aging supplement.
- Turmeric protects the body from free radicals.
- It improves memory.
- Turmeric boosts the immune system.
- It has first aid properties.
What Else Does Turmeric Assist With?
Turmeric is considered a superfood spice for great reason. It’s a magical spice with much more than anti-inflammatory properties. As you can see, turmeric possesses numerous health-boosting properties and the aforementioned benefits discussed are just scratching the surface of the tremendous amount of benefits that turmeric is celebrated for!
- The curcumin found in turmeric is also fat-soluble, which means it can break down and dissolve in fat or oil. It is recommended to take these supplements with a meal that’s high in fat.
- Curcumin is also a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure
- Curcumin can support the suppression of many molecules known to play major roles in inflammation, its bioavailability can be enhanced by the addition of piperine from black pepper.
- Research supports that curcumin can boost levels of the brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor aka BDNF which increases the growth of new neurons and may help fight various degenerative processes in the brain as seen in animal studies.
Get Healthy At FITTEAM Today And Use Turmeric For The Immune System
Our organic immune system support beverage, called FITTEAM Immune can provide your body with exactly what it needs. Contact us today to buy this worthwhile product and get your body back in shape.
Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian/ Nutrition Communications Specialist