In this post I am answering the question of "What are the 10 Benefits of Turmeric? I love incorporating ingredients like turmeric into my diet by adding it to dishes I cook, drinking turmeric tea, and making my favorite immunity boosting shot which you can find the recipe for here.
At the end of the day, I always come to my eating choices with a “what can I add” mindset and using ingredients that are flavorful while also providing healthy benefits is what I focus on the most.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a bright orange root from the Curcuma longa plant — a perennial plant in the ginger family. Ginger and turmeric are cousins, which explains why they look very similar. However, turmeric is bright orange inside. It is often used for cooking in the powder form. Some common dishes you’ve probably seen it in are curries and stews as well as juices and smoothies.
Turmeric contains a polyphenol called curcumin. Curcumin is what provides many of the benefits of turmeric below that answers the question what are the 10 benefits of turmeric.
Cultures throughout the world have recognized the medicinal properties of turmeric for centuries. However, it has only been in recent years that the bioactive compounds that lead to the health benefits have been researched and studied. In India it is used in curries, in Japan it’s used in teas, and in Korea it is served in drinks.
Here are just 10 benefits of turmeric.
What are the 10 Benefits of Turmeric?
1. It is high in antioxidants
One of the 10 benefits of turmeric is that is high in antioxidants and has been shown to improve markers of oxidative stress. But what does that mean?? Well, oxidative stress in the body leads to cell and tissue damage. This tissue and cell damage can lead to many chronic illnesses. Any food that helps decrease this oxidative stress can decrease your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other inflammatory illnesses. Turmeric is great for this!
2. Has anti-Inflammatory Properties
Research has shown that supplemental curcumin significantly decreased anti-inflammatory cytokines in people with metabolic syndrome. Basically, this means that people who were given a curcumin supplement had less inflammation than people given a placebo. Inflammation in the body from physical and mental stressors can really have a negative impact and lead to things like heart disease and high blood pressure. So keeping inflammation under control is always a positive.
3. It aids in relieving muscle soreness
Since it is anti-inflammatory, it has also been shown to help reduce and relieve muscle soreness. Particularly, exercise-induced muscle soreness and inflammation. So if you are an athlete or training for a race, adding some turmeric can be a way to see this one of the 10 benefits of turmeric.
4. It has anticancer properties
Since curcumin in turmeric has antioxidant properties, it leads to a decrease in free radicals in the body that are caused by toxins in the environment and also foods we eat. In this way, turmeric can protect the body against carcinogens.
5. It supports your immune system
This is because turmeric is antimicrobial. So adding it to your immune system boosting routine can really help. If you want to find my Immunity Booster Shot recipe, you can read this post next.
6. Can reduce pain caused by arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint condition and has inflammatory aspects. Since medications for arthritis can be pricey, there is interest in alternative medicine such as eating certain foods to help manage symptoms. A study conducted by the Journal of Medicinal Food showed evidence that 8-12 weeks of turmeric extracts (typically 1000 mg/day or curcumin) can reduce arthritic pain, mainly inflammation related symptoms. And that the supplementing led to similar improvements as ibuprofen.
7. Decreases the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of risk factors for cardiovascular disease including abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, impaired fasting glucose, high triglyceride levels, and low HDL (good) cholesterol. A person is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome if they have 3 or more of these. Often, people withe metabolic syndrome have insulin resistance. Basically, this can be the start of a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Diet plays a big role in prevention of metabolic syndrome and weight loss or healthy diet improvements overall can have a positive effect. When it comes to the 10 benefits of turmeric specifically, it has been shown to decrease several aspects of metabolic syndrome.
8. It can improve insulin sensitivity
A study from Molecular Nutrition and Food research (a peer reviewed academic journal focusing on molecular aspects of food science) suggested a glucose-lowering effect of curcumin (found in turmeric) in people with type 2 diabetes. This was when compared to a placebo.
9. It can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Alternative approaches to treating mental health issues including anxiety and depression are definitely on the rise, including diet and mood-boosting foods. Turmeric has been used for a long time in ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety and depressive disorders. There have been clinical trials suggesting a benefit of curcumin on major depressive disorders. Even more encouraging, evidence is growing that proves this. And while turmeric certainly doesn’t replace mental health treatment, it can be added to the diet in order to help.
10. Helps reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.
A 2017 study published in the Nutrition Journal showed that turmeric and curcumin may also help prevent heart disease. This is because research shows that turmeric can help to decrease LDLs (the bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.
It is important to note that turmeric by itself isn't absorbed very well in the body. But combining it with black pepper makes it up to 2000% more absorbable. This is because of an active component of pepper called piperine.
Some great ways to get turmeric in your diet is to have it in teas, eat curries or soups or other recipes with turmeric, or add it to a juice recipe like the one found here.
The foods that you eat have an impact on your overall health so if you want to look and feel your best, try incorporating healthier foods like turmeric and other spices, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats where you can!
In this article I answered the question what are the 10 benefits of turmeric including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that lead to decreased arthritic pain, muscle soreness, and risk of metabolic syndrome. All the way to decreases in anxiety and depressive symptoms.
I hope you will add some turmeric to your dish!
Other posts you may enjoy:
Immunity Booster Shot [CLICK HERE]