Turmeric Health Benefits

Turmeric Health Benefits

 

Many individuals have been incorporating turmeric into their diet for its health benefits for centuries. Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family which is grown primarily in Southeast Asia. The turmeric underground stem is ground up and that creates the spice we are able to 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 a 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.

 

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 is promoted as a dietary supplement to support a variety of conditions, including arthritis, digestive disorders, allergies, mood disorders, and many others1
  • The curcumin found in the turmeric is also fat soluble,this 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 fat1.
  • The curcumin is also a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure2
  • When it comes to heart disease, research supports that curcumin is able to improve the function of the endothelium, the lining of your blood vessels, and this in turn can help support a decrease in heart disease risk3.
  • Curcumin is able to 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 pepper4
  • 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 studies5,6.

 

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!

 

Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian/ Nutrition Communications Specialist

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6636482/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5310664/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9619120/
  5. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2019.00363/full
  6. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/bdnf/