In this article, we are going to see the health benefits of turmeric, it how to use it, side effects, turmeric recipes and more
Turmeric, a spice widely used for its virtues
Turmeric, which stands out for its beautiful orange colour, is an exceptional spice.
This plant has been cultivated and used since ancient times in some parts of the world, and it is one of the most widely used plants in natural Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
Its high nutritional value is partly due to its content in curcumin, a very powerful active ingredient. But she is not the only one responsible for the benefits of turmeric.
Many other active molecules participate in the virtues and properties of this extraordinary spice.
The many studies on turmeric (which once was only the emblem of oriental cuisines) now make it a medicinal plant particularly prized for its many therapeutic virtues.
The health benefits of turmeric arouse all curiosities. And for good reason: this spice is one of the most fascinating there is.
Turmeric and its countless health benefits
Turmeric comes from a plant that grows in the south of the Asian continent, and more specifically in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar. In cooking, the rhizome (underground part of the plant) is dried and then reduced to powder to form a spice.
But it is now common to find turmeric in the form of a food supplement. In the past, it was consumed exclusively as a simple spice or food colouring.
Turmeric has for several years found its place among the most consumed food supplements in the world. So, just a fad or real efficiency?
Numerous studies on the subject have shown that turmeric does indeed have effects on the body.
But for that, you have to choose a quality product, with a high content of curcumin, its main active ingredient. Some other criteria such as provenance and processing method are also to be taken into account.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a perennial rhizomatous herbaceous plant, which belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. Its rhizome is the part that is used in the preparation of the spice, but also in traditional medicine.
Turmeric, scientifically named Curcuma Longa, has been used as a spice in South Asian cuisine for centuries. And more precisely in India.
Its colour and flavour give dishes height, but also a lot of freshness. This spice is inseparable from Indian cuisine and Asian gastronomy.
However, beyond its culinary interest, turmeric is also a medicinal plant of the first choice. It has long been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for its various health benefits.
And it is now found in the composition of many food supplements, whether in solid or liquid form.
The one that constitutes the main ingredient of curry has preventive and curative properties which we will come back to in detail in a few moments. Turmeric is one of the most powerful medicinal plants in the world.
Origin of turmeric
It’s hard to put a date on the first use of turmeric. However, traces of its presence can be found in the writings of Sanskrit literature.
These date back to more than 2000 years before our era. If its temporal origins remain unclear, its geographical origins are very clear. This plant comes from the regions of southern and southeastern Asia, and more specifically India and Myanmar.
You should know that the story of turmeric is twofold. The plant has a very rich culinary past and an equally interesting medical past.
In cooking, turmeric is used to enhance the flavour of dishes, but also as a natural colouring and food preservative. It is the main ingredient in curry.
Within the framework of medicine, it is used in traditional uses, in herbal medicine and for some other notable effects.
But it is also considered to inhibit the development of several types of cancer. Anti-inflammatory, digestive regulator, natural antioxidant… It has many roles that we will detail. What are the health benefits of turmeric?
The health benefits of turmeric on the body
Main virtues of turmeric
•Powerful natural anti-inflammatory
•Contributes to the protection of the joints
•Improves digestive comfort
•Maintain liver health and facilitate fat loss
•Antioxidant properties to fight against oxidative stress
•Contributes to a good nervous balance
•Helps limit the accumulation of fat
The natural components of turmeric
Turmeric stands out as one of the most powerful antioxidant plants in the world.
This property is mainly due to the presence of curcumin and curcuminoids in its composition. Curcumin is the major active ingredient in turmeric, often reduced to spice after harvest.
But the exceptional composition of turmeric is even richer than that. We can find in particular essential oils (3 to 5%) such as turmerones (a powerful antioxidant), curcumins, but also zingiberene and zingiberene (the latter two are also found in ginger).
These molecules make it a powerful medicinal plant. Also, turmeric contains vitamins (C, E, K, B1, B2), including vitamin B6 in large quantities, but also many minerals. The latter are zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and potassium.
Other active ingredients complete this list: dihydro curcumin, desmethoxycurcumine and bisdemethoxycurcumin. There are added alkaloids, lignans, phenylpropanoids, steroids, benzenoids and some other quinoids.
Effects and use of turmeric
•Turmeric, an unparalleled antioxidant
Curcumin and curcuminoids are active and particularly potent antioxidant components.
Both participate in the elimination of free radicals stored in our body. By acting against these harmful substances, the active principles of turmeric make it possible to limit the ageing of cells.
But these two elements are far from being the only antioxidants present in the composition of turmeric! Vitamin E, for example, is renowned for its antioxidant properties. It is the same for vitamin C (ascorbic acid), also present in turmeric.
You should know that free radicals are favoured by internal and external factors such as stress, pollution or the consumption of tobacco and alcohol.
Lack of sports activity or an unbalanced diet can also promote the proliferation of free radicals in the body.
The active ingredients in turmeric help the body to detoxify. They allow us to eliminate the free radicals present in excess in our body and thus, to preserve the cells from accelerated ageing and some other damage which they cause.
Also, the spice helps protect against external and internal aggressions (acidity of meals, stress, etc.) considerably.
•A powerful anti-inflammatory
Turmeric has been used for a long time as part of traditional medicine, especially because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric is shown to be as effective in preventing as it is in relieving pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. In general, turmeric is effective in all forms of inflammation.
Scientific studies have been able to demonstrate the regenerating and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and the benefits of its use on tendonitis and following an accident or a sports injury.
Turmeric and its curcumin increase recovery capacities and reduce muscle and joint pain. These substances also improve blood circulation, and therefore wound healing.
•Turmeric, benefactor of the digestive system
Scientists have demonstrated the benefits of the digestive system. The plant is particularly useful in the fight against gallstones, liver diseases and other diseases related to the functioning of the liver.
It can also fight some symptoms of fibromyalgia. The root of the plant therefore helps to promote digestion by increasing bile secretions.
Turmeric offers a certain intestinal comfort daily. It can be combined with the consumption of aloe vera juice to optimize its effects.
Also, the plant is able to act against the effects of drug or food poisoning. Its effects are also beneficial in the fight against constipation, inflammation and bowel disorders and in particular against irritable bowel syndrome.
It is shown to be extremely effective against gastroenteritis, digestive pain or even infectious diarrhoea.
Turmeric is often part of dietary rebalancing programs. And this, because of its capacity to participate in the destocking of fats via the liver. But also because it can rebalance the intestinal flora.
•Effects on cholesterol
The spice has stood out on numerous occasions in preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which has the common nickname “bad cholesterol”.
It is known that turmeric has a beneficial influence on blood circulation, which helps limit the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
But it also acts on the general cholesterol level as well as on the metabolites. In short, turmeric reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and prevents the appearance of arteriosclerosis (oxidation of cholesterol).
On the other hand, various independent studies have demonstrated the ability of turmeric to lower LDL cholesterol levels in the body.
These studies show that it helps to better control blood sugar levels, which is an important point in diabetes. By increasing the enzymatic activity of cholesterol, curcumin promotes the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids in the liver. It thus helps to reduce bad cholesterol in the body more generally.
Besides, we must clarify that the curcuminoids that turmeric contains are among the most powerful natural antioxidants.
Curcumin is a kind of curcuminoid. And it is the antioxidant molecule par excellence. These compounds protect the cardiovascular system and prevent a large number of diseases.
•Role of turmeric on cognitive functions
The benefits of turmeric are very numerous, and they also concern the brain system and cognition. Turmeric and its components show beneficial effects against certain memory disorders and various degenerative diseases.
The root of the plant can be particularly useful in the prevention and the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. It can also slow the progression of the disease as well as its development.
In areas where turmeric is consumed almost daily, the incidence of this disease is much lower. This is the case for the regions of origin of turmeric.
Besides, the spice can drain the heavy metals present in the body and clean it by eliminating amyloid plaques. These are clumps of proteins that are deposited on and damage nerve tissue.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are behind the benefits of turmeric on cognition. So it is the curcuminoids and curcumin that act here. Finally, the association with omega 3 (hemp oil, in particular) generally reinforces the benefits of turmeric on the cerebral system and inflammation.
•Turmeric and sport
Many athletes have integrated it into their diet or supplementation. Indeed, turmeric is an antioxidant that can be of interest in the context of physical recovery after exercise.
But also as a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be used for prevention or in case of pain, inflammation or injury. It will support the body in its recovery and healing efforts, which can be decisive in sports and the repetition of more or less intense physical efforts.
Finally, thanks to its effects on vitality, it can also contribute to a significant energy gain. The benefits of turmeric are highly sought after by athletes looking for increased performance.
•Turmeric and Cancer Studies
Cancer research is interested in the potential of all plants and foods. Those which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties stand out, particularly in this context.
The properties of turmeric in the context of cancer prevention have been studied since 1985 (R. Kultan “ Potential Anticancer Activity of Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) ”).
The results of experiments carried out on mice in vivo and in vitro have demonstrated the action of turmeric (and curcumin) on the development of certain tumours.
Precisely, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the plant make it possible to prevent and better treat several forms of cancer.
Subsequently, many studies have also been conducted on the inhibitory effects of turmeric and curcumin on the development of several types of cancer. Best of all, this tasty spice is believed to be able to stimulate the production of enzymes that block and kill cancer cells.
The results obtained during these studies have led organizations (including the American Cancer Society) to openly recommend turmeric as part of cancer prevention.
But also as part of chemotherapy. The preventive and curative properties of turmeric against cancer are taken very seriously by the scientific community. The spice is said to be very effective in stabilizing pancreatic and colon cancers.
•Increased energy levels
One of the lesser-known benefits of turmeric is energy gain. If this does not generally correspond to the first effects sought during its consumption, turmeric can increase the energy levels of the body.
This effect stems from its beneficial action on the digestive system. Indeed, our digestive system is energy-intensive and can monopolize up to 90% of our physical energy.
Several methods and tips can help us optimize our digestion and thus reduce the energy consumption of the digestive system. Turmeric consumption/supplementation is of course one of them.
By improving our digestion and the general functioning of the digestive system, turmeric also indirectly increases energy levels as well as our vitality. More energy available daily results in less fatigue / less intense and more available energy.
The end of health benefits of turmeric. Make sure to check out our related articles on turmeric below.