Today, in this article, we are going to talk about one of the many blessings of Mother Nature. Indeed, she has given us everything: from valuable resources to build our civilizations up to the food that we eat every day. And today, we are going to talk about one of these blessings – the wonderful root crop, turmeric.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric with the scientific name, Curcuma longa, is a root crop in the same family as the ginger. In fact, the turmeric is sometimes commonly mistaken with its brother but the technique to distinguish it from the latter is its more vibrant color and milder taste. It has a bright orange hue, which is why it is also commonly used to add a pop of color on food.
The Many Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric has been known for its medicinal benefits ever since the time of Ancient China and India. And now, different researches are still being done to further explore the health benefits of turmeric that we might not have discovered yet. In the meantime, here is the information that is already available to us.
The turmeric is rich with the following vitamins and minerals: Manganese (up to 17%), Iron (up to 10%), Vitamin B6 (up to 5%), Fiber, Copper, and Potassium (each can go as much as 4%).
The main power, as you may put it, of turmeric, is its capability to reduce and prevent inflammation – sometimes even better than prescription drugs.
Reason 1: Turmeric Is An Effective Anti-Inflammatory Agent
One of the best abilities of this wonderfully natural ingredient is its anti-inflammatory abilities. Research shows that its oil and its pigments are as powerful as known anti-inflammatory agents like hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone – even Motrin. The only difference among these medicinal agents is that turmeric, or its pigment curcumin, doesn’t have any negative side effects. Common drugs in this category usually have toxic effects like ulcer formation and intestinal bleeding when not used properly and in moderate amounts. Turmeric on the other hand doesn’t have these side effects making it a safer alternative.
Reason 2: It Can Treat Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
As what we have mentioned above, this crop has anti-inflammatory components, and because of this, research shows that turmeric is also a good treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. What is even more interesting is that they have also discovered that, while turmeric can be taken in high doses without side effects, it already shows positive effects in smaller dose concentrations as well (with as low as .25%).
Reason 3: Say Goodbye to Arthritis
As a good anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric can also be a great help for those who are suffering from arthritis. Yes, there are different kinds of arthritis but one of the most common issues is the pain resulting from the inflammation of joints. Having said that, curcumin responds well to decrease the inflammation which in turn helps relieve the pain.
POWER OVER CANCER
Aside from its anti-inflammatory wonders, it is also a great agent to prevent and heal cancer.
Reason 4: Curcumin Can Help Prevent Cancer Cell Growth
Current studies show that turmeric can actually slow down the spread of cancer cells. In the experiment, researches have observed mice injected with human cancer cells and they were divided into groups. The control group did not receive any medication. The second group received only prescription drugs. The third group received only curcumin. And finally the fourth group received both curcumin and the prescription drug.
After the experiment, it has been discovered that only 50% or mice that received only curcumin, and only 22% of those that received curcumin and the drug have developed cancer. On the other hand, 95% of the control group, and 75% of those who only received the drug alone have developed tumors.
Reason 5: Turmeric Can Help Prevent Colon Cancer
Aside from the spread of cancer cells, studies show that the component of turmeric, curcumin, can also prevent the formation and spread of polyps that can lead to colon cancer. Patients who have received medication along with doses of curcumin show that their polyps have reduced number of polyp growth, and polyp size.
Reason 6: There Are Only A Few Cases Of Prostate Cancer In India, And The Secret Is Turmeric And Broccoli
It is said that India is one of the few countries in the world with relatively low cases of prostate cancer, and this may be because of their eating habits. Furthermore, it has been found out that the main figures behind this medical wonder are broccoli and turmeric.
They have tested one of the substances found in broccoli which is phenethyl isothiocyanate, along with curcumin, the substance found in turmeric. And together, they have this powerful ability to prevent tumor growth as well as the spread of cancer cells.
Reason 7: Turmeric Against Childhood Leukemia
Did you know that the recent years have brought a significant amount of increase in the number of patients that acquire leukemia even before they reach the age of five? Yes, this is a truly sad fact, but there might be a way to prevent this from happening. Like prostate cancer being rare in India, recent studies also show that countries in Asia have relatively lower numbers of patients afflicted with childhood leukemia, and turmeric is the reason once again why it is so. Latest researches show that curcumin prevents the formation of cancer cells and even help slow down its progress.
Ultimately, the reason why Asians have lower cases of cancer is because they have learned to incorporate turmeric as one of their base ingredients in cooking every day. Turmeric is simply part of their daily lives, which means that in every meal, they would get healthy amounts of cancer-preventing substances.
OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS OF TURMERIC
Reason 8: Turmeric Is Good For The Brain
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a growth hormone that can be found in the brain. It is the driving force that allows neurons to multiply and create new connections. This is basically one of the most important substance in the brain, so much so that a decreased level of this hormone may lead to different brain-related diseases like the dreaded Alzheimer’s.
In this light, it has been recently found out that curcumin can actually aid our brain develop more BDNF, which could then lead to the prevention and even a possible cure on this brain diseases. These are still on-going studies though but positive results are showing this early on in the research so we are expecting more good news ahead!
Reason 9: Be Happy
Another issue that can be brought about by the lack of the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is depression. It is said that once the levels of BDNF in the brain lowers, patients will also be prone to suffer from severe depression.
One of the most common antidepressant is Prozac. To prove that curcumin might be a good way to treating depression a study was made involving patients who suffered from this ailment. They were divided into three: those who only took Prozac, those who only took curcumin, and those who took both Prozac and curcumin.
The results were interesting in showing that curcumin was just as good as Prozac, but the patients who took both at the same time recovered best.
Reason 10: It Is Good For The Heart
While most of us dread the big C, we sometimes fail to realize that the biggest killer is still heart disease. One of the main factors of this illness is the health of the blood vessels themselves. Now, it mostly depends on endothelium, or the linings of the blood vessels.
Another good health benefit of turmeric is improving the function of endothelium which in turn could help prevent and minimize the cases of heart disease.
To support this theory, a study was performed involving one hundred twenty one patients who are about to undergo a coronary artery bypass surgery. From this group, patients were randomly selected to receive a certain amount of curcumin daily – before and after the surgery.
At the end of this study, it was determined that the patients who received the regular curcumin dosage has a sixty-five percent less risk of experiencing a heart attack, as compared to those who did not receive curcumin at all.
What We Can Say About Turmeric
In the end, we have found a common denominator on all the researches that we have mentioned here. The substance in turmeric called curcumin is almost as powerful and effective as different prescription drugs, which makes it a probably better choice because of its lack of negative side-effects. However, it produces as even better performance in supporting these medicines. It is still best to consult your primary healthcare provider before taking any supplements or drugs, even if it has been mentioned in the article to not contain any harmful side effects. What we suggest though is to incorporate turmeric into your daily cooking – even if you do not suffer from the diseases that were stated here. Prevention, in the end, is still better than cure. And we only hope for further good news in the future, regarding the latest discoveries when it comes to the benefits of turmeric.
As an additional bonus in taking your time to read this article, let us include different ways on how you would be able to include turmeric in your daily meals.
ADDING TURMERIC TO YOUR NEXT MEALS
Here are some helpful ways to add turmeric to your cooking:
- Add it to scrambled eggs and frittatas. If it is your first time using turmeric in your cooking, adding a pinch to scrambled eggs or frittatas are a nice place to start. In this way. Turmeric can add a nice dash of color and interesting flavor to your meal without overwhelming your taste buds.
- Add it to roasted vegetables for additional flavoring. The nice spicy flavor of turmeric will definitely complement well with roasted vegetables.
- Add some color to your soup. Do you find your creamy soup lacking that boost of hearty orange color? Then a dash of turmeric will certainly do the trick, not to mention, that it will add an interesting layer of taste and warmth to your soup.
- Add it to your cup of tea. Are you experiencing a soreness in your throat? Then maybe a nice cup of hot ginger tea will do the trick. Want to add even more health benefits to your cup of tea? Then add some turmeric with it as well. Not only does their flavor blend well together, you will also get to enjoy the additional benefits from turmeric.
- Finally feeling a bit adventurous? Then why not add your turmeric to meals that you would not necessarily expect that punch of flavor? Some ideas are adding a pinch of that orange powder to your morning smoothie (it makes it more interesting blended with that fruity flavors), desserts (why not surprise your guests with a hint of turmeric on your cupcake?), and rice – add some color and fancy to your otherwise plain cup of rice.
To conclude this article, it will still be up to you on how you will be able to use turmeric in everyday cooking. We only have one thing that is for sure: turmeric is one of the healthiest spices around. It has been given to us by Mother Nature to use and cherish. Let us not waste it and instead let’s put it to good use as much as we can. The benefits ahead are great! Your reward is that you can help your body prevent cancer, heart diseases, and brain ailments from developing and spreading.
Who knows what lies ahead in the future? We might be looking at the final cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s. We can only wait for now, as to what will happen, but what we can be sure of is that scientists and health professionals should definitely look into turmeric and its main component curcumin even further to learn even more benefits that we can reap from this wonder root.