Turmeric is the heart of several East and Middle East dishes. It is used for its unique taste, as well the visual appeal it brings. Traditionally used to spice meat (particularly lamb), and vegetables in curries.
Turmeric originated in the tropical areas of South Asia, and requires a temperature between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to flourish. The plants are harvested for their rhizomes. These are then boiled, and dried, and ground into a deep orange-yellow powder. This is the powder that is the base of many curries, and many other South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
7 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric
1. Chronic Inflammation and Pain
The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds. It found that aspirin (Bayer, etc.) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) are least potent, while curcumin is among the most potent anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agents in the world. This means turmeric not only has great promise with chronic pain, but since it has less side effects, it may provide safe, lasting results!
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Due to its high anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is highly effective at helping people manage rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A recent study out of Japan evaluated its relationship with interleukin (IL)-6, the inflammatory cytokine known to be involved in the RA process, and discovered that curcumin “significantly reduced” these inflammatory markers. This suggests that regular turmeric use could be a potent strategy to prevent the onset of RA from developing to begin with!
Researchers from the Government Medical College (Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India) published the results of the first study this past April to evaluate curcumin’s ability to manage depression in a controlled setting. Taking 60 volunteers diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) and diving the group to determine how patients treated by curcumin compared against fluoxetine (Prozac) and a combination of the two, it discovered that that the principal curcuminoid in turmeric is not only as effective as Prozac in managing depression, it doesn’t carry with it all the dangerous side effects as anti-depressive drugs do. According to the paper, “This study provides first clinical evidence that cur cumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD.” (
Turmeric is shown to lower blood glucose levels and reverse insulin resistance.
Turmeric acted as an anti-diabetic and antioxidant in diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes improved metabolic function and reduced the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries of type 2 diabetes patients
Recent studies show turmeric is a powerful adversary to cancer. Curcumin shows a marked ability to inhibit cancer cell growth, boost antioxidant levels and the immune system, and kill cancer cells. It seems to work on improving mitochondrial function at a cellular level, and it improves metabolism. Even against drug-resistant strains of leukemia, curcumin caused cell death of cancer cells.
6. Skin and Aging
Turmeric has many healing properties for skin. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory so it reduces redness or other skin irritations. It’s antibacterial, so it’s great for blemishes, acne and skin balance. Turmeric is wonderful at improving the texture of the skin because it is an exfoliant but also rich in antioxidants. It’s a wonderful natural treatment inside and out!
7. Brain Health and Memory
It’s all in your head … literally. This vital organ is the fundamental keeper of everything you’re able to think, act or dream. By taking turmeric, you can improve the oxygen intake of the brain, which helps in all of the brain’s functions and processes. Turmeric is extremely healing for the brain and for increasing memory function. Not surprisingly, when your brain functions at its best, then you increase the uptake of hormones, such as seratonin and melatonin. So, by healing the basic functioning of the brain, you can also heal other mental illnesses.
Add it to your diet…
Fresh turmeric root or ground turmeric spice is a healthy addition to your diet. Add grated turmeric root or a pinch of turmeric powder to smoothies, rice and quinoa (when cooking), curries, soups, stir-fries, egg dishes and dips.