We have all probably used turmeric at one point in time or another, with a little bottle stashed at the back of the spice rack, right? But what is all this hype about turmeric being this magical ingredient that is good for our health?
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a tropical herb that is closely related to ginger. It is used widely in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Turmeric has been used in natural medicine since around 1900 BC, as a treatment for a variety of diseases and conditions. In modern times, turmeric is available in many different forms; as a spice, a fluid extract, tablets or in your latte.1
How is Turmeric good for us?
There is a specific part of turmeric within its roots called curcumin, it’s this stuff that scientists believe gives all these great health benefits. But what are these health benefits and what do they mean for us as everyday people? The two most compelling benefits of turmeric are that it is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, which have been linked to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and depression.2
Turmeric as an anti-oxidant
We have all heard the word anti-oxidant and we know these foods are good for us, but what does it even mean? In a nutshell, turmeric helps our body create little cells that help our body get rid of other bad little cells. These bad cells are toxic to our bodies and are made both naturally, or un-naturally through things like smoking, drinking alcohol and eating too much fatty foods and can cause heart disease, cancer, pre-mature aging and brain disorders. So, turmeric can help collect these nasty cells and remove them from our body.3
Turmeric as an anti-inflammatory
You cut yourself, the cut becomes a bit red, warm to touch and swollen. That’s inflammation. Well inflammation can happen inside our bodies, which is totally normal, but when it doesn’t go away it can damage organs such as the heart, lungs and veins and cause numerous diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis, depression and diabetes.4 Without going into all the science-y mumbojumbo, there is a lot of fancy biomedical paths that occur in our body casuing inflammation in our organs, and turmeric can jump in and blocks these paths from to stop inflammation from happening.5
The bottom line
Turmeric has been linked to improving and preventing so many different conditions that it is becoming hard to ignore as a very powerful and functional food to add into our diets.
Shannon Cook – An Everyday Dietitian
For more check out @aneverydaydietitian on Instagram
- EBSCO CAM Review Board. Turmeric as an altermatic treatment. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health. 2017.
- Vyas, K. The Cure is in the Roots. Nutr Disorders Ther. 2015; 5(3): 1-6
- Lobo,V. Patil, A. Changra N. Free Radicals, Antioxidants and Functional Foods. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010; 4(8): 118-126
- Libby, P. Inflammatory Mechanisms: the Molecular Basis of Inflammation and Disease. Nutrition Reviews. 2007; 65(3): 140-146
- Baj, T. Seth, R. Role of Curcumin in Regulation of TNF-a Mediated Brain Inflammatory Responses. Recent Patents on Inflammation and Allergy Drug Discovery. 2018; 12: 69-77