5 Reasons to Start Adding Turmeric to Your Diet
This orange-coloured spice from India is growing in popularity for very good reasons. A staple in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cuisine, turmeric is offers numerous health benefits. Used in Ayurvedic and Chinese healing, turmeric helps clear infections and treat inflammations. Even western medical practitioners recognize the many benefits of this spice.
Here are five health benefits you can get from adding turmeric to your diet:
Prevents and Treats Cancer
Turmeric can block enzymes which promote the growth of head and neck cancer. In a study conducted by doctors at UCLA, 21 subjects with head and neck cancers took two tablets containing 1,000 milligrams of curcumin, the main component in turmeric. An independent lab in Maryland evaluated the results. They found that curcumin inhibits the cancer-promoting enzymes in the subjects’ mouths. This helps to prevent the spread of the malignant cells.
The University of Maryland’s Medical Center also found that the powerful antioxidant properties of turmeric can fight cancer-causing free radicals, minimizing or preventing some of the damage they can cause. Recent studies also show that curcumin may also help prevent or treat other types of cancer, including prostate, skin, and colon cancer.
Strengthens the Heart and Naturally Fights Heart Disease
According to studies conducted by the University of Tsukuba in Japan, turmeric gives the heart the same benefits as aerobic exercise. These studies show that women who took a curcumin supplement experienced improved vascular endothelial function and arterial compliance. The same results were observed in women who were performing moderate aerobic exercises.
Other studies suggest that curcumin helps prevent atherosclerotic plaque buildup which may clog arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes. Turmeric helps weaken the adhesive properties of blood platelets, preventing them from forming clots. Turmeric also relaxes blood vessels and alleviates heart damage after a person has suffered from a heart attack.
Prevents Diabetes from Developing
Turmeric is an effective natural remedy for treating diabetes. This spice has anti-glycaemic properties that helps maintain the proper function of the pancreas. This organ is responsible for regulating and stabilizing insulin levels. This wonder spice’s ability to decrease insulin resistance helps to strengthen the immune system of the body. As it controls and stabilizes blood sugar levels, it also reduces infections. Turmeric prevents insulin resistance in the body and lowers blood sugar levels, effectively addressing diabetes.
According to Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, medical director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, “Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available.” He cited a 2006 University of Arizona study which found that turmeric causes a significant reduction of the symptoms of pre-existing rheumatoid arthritis.
Other studies show that curcumin may also ease the symptoms of uveitis, a long-term inflammation in the middle layer of the eye. Taking turmeric everyday for several months are also said to improve kidney function for individuals suffering from kidney inflammation.
Relieves Osteoarthritic Pain
According to studies, turmeric is a good natural alternative for non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), which are widely used to treat osteoarthritis. Curcumin is effective in blocking inflammatory pathways, preventing the production of proteins that cause pain and swelling. In addition, curcumin also has the ability to reduce tissue irritation which causes heat, redness, pain, and swelling associated with osteoarthritis.
The said studies show that individuals who took 200mg of curcumin as part of their daily treatment plan experienced improved mobility and reduced pain. Taking curcumin is also a good alternative to NSAIDs which can cause cardiovascular problems and liver or kidney damage after prolonged use.
Natalie Kling, a nutritionist based in California, recommends adding turmeric to food whenever possible. “Raw is best,” she said. “Sprinkling it on vegetables or mixing it into dressings is quick and effective.” Natalie also suggests rubbing turmeric on meat and adding it into curries and soups. When cooking with turmeric, add a small amount of healthy fat like healthy coconut oil to bring out the flavor.