Top 10 Turmeric benefits, Curcumin

Turmeric benefits are numerous and have rich history of culinary and medicinal use. Its vibrant colour, distinct flavour, and potential health benefits have made it a popular ingredient in many cuisines and traditional medicine systems worldwide.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric, scientifically known as Curcuma longa, is a perennial flowering plant that belongs to the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, where it has been used for centuries as both a culinary spice and a medicinal herb.

In culinary applications, turmeric is a staple spice in many cuisines, particularly in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian dishes. It is commonly used to flavour curries, soups, stews, rice, and various vegetable and meat dishes. The spice not only imparts a vibrant colour to the food but also adds a warm and aromatic flavour.

The active component responsible for turmeric’s distinctive properties is called curcumin. Curcumin is a polyphenol compound that has been widely studied for its potential health benefits. It is known for its anti inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, making turmeric a popular ingredient in traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.

Nutritional facts of Turmeric

Turmeric is low in calories but contains a variety of nutrients. 1 tablespoon (9 grams) of ground turmeric includes:

Calories29 kcal
Protein0.91 gm
Fat0.31 gm
Carbohydrates6.31 gm
Fiber2.1 gm
Sugar0.3 gm
Iron1.88 gm
Potassium170 mg
Manganese0.37 mg
Table 1: Nutritional facts of Turmeric

What are top 10 Turmeric benefits?

Turmeric is a popular ingredient in traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. It has been studied by many scientists. Keith Singletary (PhD) did research on the same and have documented turmeric benefits in his paper. Turmeric benefits are countless. Some are list below:

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Powerhouse: Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, exhibits potent anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting various molecules that contribute to inflammation. This may help alleviate symptoms of chronic inflammation and related conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and certain cancers.
  2. Powerful Antioxidant Effects: Turmeric is rich in antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful free radicals and protect cells from oxidative stress. Curcumin boosts the body’s own antioxidant enzymes and acts as a scavenger of free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases and slowing down aging processes.
  3. Joint health and pain relief: The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric may provide relief from joint pain and improve overall joint health. It has been studied for its potential to alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, reducing pain and improving joint mobility.
  4. Digestive support: Turmeric has traditionally been used to support digestive health. It can stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile, which aids in fat digestion. Turmeric may also reduce symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and gas. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
  5. Heart health: Curcumin may promote heart health by improving endothelial function, reducing inflammation, and lowering the risk factors associated with heart disease. It may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, regulate blood pressure, and prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which can contribute to plaque formation in arteries.
  6. Brain health and cognitive function: Curcumin has shown potential in promoting brain health. It may cross the blood-brain barrier and exhibit neuroprotective effects. Studies suggest it may help improve cognitive function, enhance memory, and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  7. Liver support and detoxification: Turmeric supports liver health by stimulating the production of enzymes involved in detoxification processes. It may help protect the liver from damage, improve liver function, and aid in the removal of toxins from the body.
  8. Skin health: Turmeric has been used topically for centuries to improve skin health. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may help reduce skin inflammation, irritation, and redness. Turmeric pastes and masks are believed to promote a healthy complexion, even out skin tone, and address conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
  9. Immune system support: Curcumin has immunomodulatory effects, which means it can help regulate and support the immune system. It may enhance immune responses, promote the activity of immune cells, and provide defense against infections and diseases.
  10. Potential anti-cancer properties: Some studies suggest that curcumin exhibits anti-cancer properties by inhibiting the growth and spread of cancer cells, inducing apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells, and reducing tumor formation. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential role of turmeric in cancer prevention and treatment.

Combining turmeric with black pepper, which contains piperine, can enhance curcumin absorption. Additionally, turmeric should not replace medical treatment, and it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional before using it for therapeutic purposes.

Are there any side effects of Turmeric?

Turmeric is generally safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts as a spice in food. However, some individuals may experience side effects or interactions, particularly when consuming large doses or using turmeric supplements. Here are a few considerations regarding potential side effects:

  1. Gastrointestinal issues: High doses of turmeric may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, such as stomach upset, bloating, or diarrhea, especially in sensitive individuals.
  2. Allergic reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to turmeric, experiencing symptoms such as skin rash, itching, or swelling. If you notice any allergic reactions after consuming turmeric, discontinue use and seek medical attention.
  3. Interaction with medications: Turmeric may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners like warfarin or antiplatelet drugs. It may also interfere with the absorption and metabolism of certain medications. If you take any medications, consult your healthcare provider before using turmeric supplements.
  4. Gallbladder issues: Turmeric stimulates the production of bile, which can potentially worsen gallbladder problems or trigger gallbladder colic in individuals with gallstones or bile duct obstruction.
  5. Pregnancy and breastfeeding: While turmeric is commonly used in culinary amounts during pregnancy, high doses or supplements should be avoided, as their safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been well established.
  6. Iron absorption: Turmeric contains compounds that may inhibit the absorption of iron from the diet. Individuals with iron deficiency or those relying heavily on plant-based sources of iron should be mindful of this.

It’s important to remember that individual sensitivities can vary, and it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional if you have specific health concerns or are considering using turmeric supplements.

Turmeric recipes

1. Golden Milk Recipe

Turmeric Golden Milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of milk (dairy or plant-based)
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder (or grated fresh turmeric)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ginger powder (optional)
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • Sweetener of your choice (such as honey, maple syrup, or stevia) to taste
  • Optional additions: a dash of vanilla extract, a sprinkle of nutmeg, or a drizzle of coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until it begins to steam. Be careful not to boil the milk.
  2. Add the turmeric powder, cinnamon powder, ginger powder (if using), and a pinch of black pepper to the milk. Whisk well to combine the ingredients.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the golden milk cool slightly.
  5. Add your preferred sweetener to taste and any optional additions, such as vanilla extract or coconut oil. Stir well to incorporate.
  6. Pour the golden milk into a mug and serve warm.

Note: You can adjust the quantities of turmeric, spices, and sweetener according to your taste preferences. Feel free to experiment with different spices or additions to customize your golden milk.

Enjoy your soothing and flavourful turmeric golden milk!

2. Turmeric and Ginger Tea

Turmeric and Ginger Tea

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder (or grated fresh turmeric)
  • 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (or sweetener of your choice)
  • Juice of half a lemon (optional)
  • A pinch of black pepper (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the turmeric powder and grated ginger to the boiling water.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to infuse.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the tea into a cup using a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Add honey or your preferred sweetener to taste. Stir until it dissolves.
  6. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, if desired, for a tangy twist.
  7. Optionally, add a pinch of black pepper, which can enhance the absorption of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric.
  8. Stir well and serve the turmeric and ginger tea hot.

Note: You can adjust the quantities of turmeric, ginger, honey, lemon juice, and black pepper to suit your taste preferences. Feel free to experiment with additional spices like cinnamon or cardamom for extra flavor.

Enjoy your invigorating and warming turmeric and ginger tea!

Conclusion

Turmeric, with its active compound curcumin, offers a myriad of health benefits. From its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects to its potential in supporting brain health and aiding digestion, turmeric has rightfully earned its reputation as a superfood. Whether used in cooking, as a supplement, or in the form of turmeric tea, incorporating this golden spice into your daily routine can contribute to overall well-being.

So, unlock the treasure trove of benefits that turmeric offers and make it a staple in your kitchen. Let this golden spice add both colour and wellness to your life, empowering you to embrace a vibrant and healthy lifestyle.

Want to know more about superfoods? Check Health benefits of Chia Seeds.