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The health benefits of turmeric have been known for some time, but awareness of these amazing properties and how they can be beneficial to us has only really hit the big time in recent years.
The truth is that we are still learning so much about the health benefits, but what we do know so far is that the future is rosy when it comes to taking turmeric supplements on a regular basis.
So what are the benefits of turmeric, exactly? Well, we have a lot to cover here, and there’s a good chance you will be shocked at some of the health benefits of turmeric.
Who Can Take It?
Anybody can take turmeric, and indeed many studies have shown how it can be particularly beneficial for postmenopausal women, so if you were worried about its relation to hormones, then don’t be.
When it comes to this bright yellow spice, the only thing we recommend is that you do focus more on supplements rather than the turmeric spice in its raw form. Also, pay attention to any medication you are on. The sad part is that some of the health benefits associated with turmeric can interfere with existing medication.
The good thing is that there are lots of scientific data available on the positives and negatives of turmeric, so there is never a shortage of information if you have any doubts.
How to Take it
The best way to take turmeric in order to get the maximum health benefits has to be in supplement form. You do get some benefit from the turmeric you would use in cooking, but the main ingredient is curcumin, which is significantly lower when it’s in its natural form.
What happens with supplements is that the level of curcumin is increased. It’s pushed up to levels that are then actually beneficial to us. However, we will look more closely at those actual benefits shortly.
Also, do not exceed 2,000mg per day of turmeric. In various scientific studies, it has been shown that this is the maximum amount you should take before there is any real chance of suffering from various side effects.
Turmeric and Curcumin
Another point before heading into the benefits associated with turmeric extract, and that’s the discussion about turmeric and curcumin.
Turmeric is the spice used in Indian cooking to give it a yellow colour. However, it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, along with various other benefits, aside from being used in cooking.
In saying that, it’s the curcumin in turmeric that has the main benefits. It has been used in traditional medicine for a long time, and the potential health benefits have been known and understood in the Indian sub-continent for just as long.
However, if you want to get the most out of turmeric extracts, and gain from its potent anti-inflammatory or antioxidant properties, then you need to take it as a supplement rather than an ingredient.
The Health Benefits of Turmeric
The list of health benefits that we are about to cover doesn’t guarantee that it will be a complete cure for everyone. However, there has been enough evidence from different studies over the years to give some hope to people who suffer from the following conditions.
Anti Inflammatory Properties
Perhaps the main thing that turmeric and dietary curcumin is known for is the fact that it is an anti-inflammatory. Actually, some studies have indicated that it can be better at helping chronic inflammation than some anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin. However, the likes of aspirin do have other healing properties, so you shouldn’t stop using it altogether.
Curcumin is the part that has some anti-inflammatory benefits. When taken in high doses, it will reduce inflammation and make you feel more comfortable. Therefore, the anti-inflammatory compounds in curcumin can help reduce pain in active rheumatoid arthritis, while reduced inflammation can help people in chronic pain.
Curcumin is able to relieve pain, as it has been shown to be effective at tackling molecules in the body that leads to inflammation. By tackling them head-on, it means they cannot take hold in the same way, thus reducing discomfort.
Curcumin supplements have also been shown to be effective at tackling the issue of oxidative stress. Anything that has antioxidant effects will be good for the body, and a curcumin supplement is going to make a significant difference.
Oxidative damage, and also free radical damage, has been shown to play a major role in the development of different diseases in the body as well as ageing.
The problem with free radicals is that they attack and damage parts of your DNA, as well as fat cells and proteins. You need to look at ways to neutralise free radicals to stop this from happening, so a turmeric supplement is, in a sense, a form of an anti aging supplement in that it reduces the chances of this damage from occurring.
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Alzheimer’s
This benefit sounds elaborate, but research suggests that turmeric can help with a number of health conditions related to the brain.
It has been shown that turmeric can help the body create a protein involved in the development of neurons in the brain. This is important for a number of reasons.
BDNF protein plays a major role in brain function. It plays a role in helping us with learning, our memory, and turmeric can help when it comes to treating depression, while it may also reduce the impact of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other common brain disorders.
Alzheimer’s disease is a big concern. As of yet, there’s no cure for it. The good news is that it has been shown that curcumin is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, where it gets to work on overall brain health.
In the case of Alzheimer’s, it’s often the case that oxidative damage and inflammation can play a role in its development. Turmeric tackles both of these issues, so it makes sense how it can slow down the impact of this horrible disease.
Also, this protein is linked to other things such as body weight and what we eat or drink, so it’s a big deal.
However, even though we are aware that curcumin can help, more research is required to uncover all of the different health benefits linked to the active ingredient in turmeric.
So much of human health is linked to the heart in some way, so the idea of turmeric being capable of helping heart disease is astonishing to hear.
It is believed that one of the main benefits of turmeric in this area of helping heart diseases is in the way that it improves the health of the lining of your blood vessels. Known as the endothelium, having that lining in prime working order is key. It is known that having poor health in this lining can lead to heart disease, as well as your blood pressure and blood clotting issues.
But then, this is also linked to the role of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory agent. When you involve inflammation in anything, it can lead to so many health issues, and cardiovascular disease is just one of them.
By being able to help those blood vessels to work more efficiently and reducing your blood pressure in the process, it does mean your chances of developing heart disease will reduce.
It’s understandable that you may wonder how a simple turmeric dosage could help prevent cancer, but it’s not as crazy as it seems.
You need to remember that one of the main turmeric uses is in dealing with chronic inflammation. It is known that inflammation can lead to the development of some forms of cancer, so that’s where turmeric can come into its own.
This isn’t to claim that it’s some form of cancer treatment. It’s not going to directly attack those cancerous cells, like the normal cancer treatments. However, it is undoubtedly beneficial in other ways.
First, it reduces that oxidative damage to your cells, and that can play a major role. Any healthcare professional that is dealing with cancer on a daily basis will know that keeping your body as healthy as possible can go a long way to stopping problems from developing.
But turmeric is capable of doing a bit more than that.
In some studies, with more being carried out, it has been shown to play a role in preventing the development of blood vessels in tumours. This inhibits the growth of new cancerous cells, and it can then make it easier for other treatments to be effective.
In other words, the active compound in turmeric can do so much in the fight against cancer, and we have only scratched the surface of it so far.
A number of studies have been carried out regarding turmeric and arthritis, and it does show amazing promise. Once again, the key is with the inflammation side of things, so there’s little doubt that it can reduce pain as a direct result of this.
As mentioned earlier, curcumin prevents certain molecules from taking hold in the body that cause inflammation. These molecules cause pain, so anything that stops them in their track is a good thing.
Perhaps the surprising part is that a few studies have shown that curcumin goes beyond providing pain relief. Instead, it has been more effective than several arthritis drugs when it comes to the positive effects it can have on the body.
The amount of arthritis research that has indicated that taking some form of turmeric supplement can be beneficial does mean it is something you should seriously consider if you suffer from this particular condition.
Issues such as irritable bowel syndrome are very common, and this can be linked to what you eat, as well as stress. It causes a multitude of symptoms, and turmeric has the ability to help ease some of those symptoms and even keep others at bay.
Turmeric has been shown to be effective at reducing the number of spasms that people may have in their digestive tract. This can ease the symptoms of issues such as IBS, and considering it can also come with a great deal of pain, then turmeric can bring comfort in a number of different ways.
IBS also comes with gut inflammation, so we already know how turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. Once again, we can see how it may prove to be rather effective at helping some of the symptoms associated with this disease.
The final benefit we are going to look at is one that covers an array of issues. Metabolic syndrome can result in individuals suffering from issues such as problems with their blood sugar levels, the distribution of body fat, and high cholesterol, as a few examples.
In danger of repeating ourselves once too often, so much of this goes back to that oxidative damage and inflammation. As those two areas are at the absolute core of what curcumin can tackle, then it’s not a big leap in the imagination to see where this supplement can help.
But there is one problem. If you are on diabetic medication, then turmeric can, in some cases, interact with the medication and change blood sugar levels. That will cause problems, and it’s a prime example of how you need to seek some professional advice from a doctor before you go ahead and start taking the supplement.
One Key Point
Even though there are various health benefits that have been directly linked to components in turmeric, and in particular the curcumin part, we need to make one key point.
It has been shown that the curcumin group of ingredients work better when taking in conjunction with black pepper. In supplements, black pepper should be included, as the research indicates that it means the curcumin is absorbed better into your bloodstream.
So do double check that black pepper is included. You will tend to get better results.
Is Turmeric Good For You?
So, as you can see, there are a number of clear health benefits of turmeric, and that’s great to hear. Taking a turmeric supplement on a regular basis is going to be highly beneficial for most people, but just be aware of taking too much and whether or not it could possibly interfere with other medication.
As long as that’s not a problem, then anybody with interest in looking after their own health should consider using this sort of supplement. Remember, so many things have been proven by science to be effective, and it’s not some type of rumour.
Turmeric can also be taken safely for a number of months without it having a negative impact. However, most people are going to be fine taking it for around eight months before you need to take a closer look at how much you are consuming on a daily basis.