The Benefits of turmeric are many. The peppery, golden spice has been used for thousands of years throughout India and China. Turmeric is also known as Indian saffron because of its similar hue. Although originally used as a dye, it was soon discovered that turmeric had many healing properties. Today, the spice is used in mustards and curies as much for its yellow color as for its warm and earthy flavor.
The health benefits of turmeric are due to its primary active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin is also the compound that gives turmeric its vivid yellow color. There are so many health benefits attributed to the use of turmeric; it’s definitely worth it to try to incorporate this spice into your diet. The following are just some of the many health benefits of turmeric.
Turmeric has strong antioxidant properties. Consuming turmeric on a regular basis can help prevent free radical damage associated with premature aging, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases. Indian populations have a fraction of the incidences of Alzheimer’s disease than Americans do. Traditional Indian diets are rich in curry based dishes. It’s thought that the turmeric in their curry dishes is at least partially responsible for the low incidences of Alzheimer’s in India.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. The active ingredient curcumin has been shown in several studies to be as effective as many prescription and over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs. And unlike traditional medications, curcumin is nontoxic. Many sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis have found relief from painful joint pain by adding turmeric to their diets.
Regular use of turmeric is associated with lower risks of lung, breast, prostate and colon cancers. A recent study concluded that turmeric may also slow the spread of existing cancers. Scientists were able to keep breast cancers from spreading to the lungs of mice by giving them curcumin.
Asian children have a much lower risk of childhood leukemia. Some scientists feel that the use of turmeric is partly responsible for the lower childhood leukemia rates. Turmeric has been shown to destroy leukemia cells in laboratory tests.
Turmeric has been used for centuries for its ability to detoxify the liver. Several studies support this historical use with findings that turmeric can protect the liver from alcohol and other toxic substances.
Natural Blood Thinner
Turmeric can help to keep blood platelets from sticking together. This anti-platelet activity can have numerous health benefits. Not the least of which is helping to prevent blood clots, heart attack and stroke.
One of the traditional uses of turmeric is as a digestive aid. The spice works by increasing bile production in the liver which helps with fat digestion. This same effect may also aid in weight loss.
Although turmeric is a fairly safe substance, large quantities should be avoided by those with bile obstructions or gallstones. Also, if you have a clotting disorder or are on blood thinning medications, consult your doctor before using turmeric.