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Turmeric: The Super Spice

Updated on September 23, 2016

Turmeric is best known as the spice that turns a popular Asian recipe, curry, yellow. You may have tasted this at least once before.

Turmeric or Curcuma longa is a native plant of south India and can be found in parts of Asia and Africa. Although the curry powder is probably found almost everywhere in the world especially now that its health benefits is making the humble spice trendy.

People from India and China have long used the plant for medicinal purposes. Several modern findings suggest that the powdered form of the turmeric root does contain medicinal value that can actually help in a number of illnesses. However, people are still cautioned by experts in the use of spice as not all studies have been conclusive yet.

Chicken Curry
Chicken Curry | Source

What makes turmeric a super spice?

Curcumin - It is a compound found in turmeric that is said to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Aromatic turmerone - Is a lesser known compound in turmeric that is found to “promote repair to stem cells in the brain”

Turmeric can help you with:

  • High cholesterol - Enough research suggests that regular intake of turmeric extract for three months may reduce total cholesterol, bad cholesterol, and tryglycerides found in the body of obese people
  • Itching - People suffering from pruritus or itching due to long-term kidney disease may benefit from a regular dose of turmeric.
  • Joint pains - Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory powers can aid people with joint pains and arthritis. It can even be as strong as an ibuprofen for those with knee osteoarthritis
  • Heartburn and indigestion - Turmeric plant was found effective in preventing heartburn and symptoms of indigestion according to a small study back in 1989.
  • Heart attack - In 2012, a hospital study found that curcumin also helped in preventing heart attacks for bypass patients.Still, doctors firmly believes that turmeric is no substitute for proper medicines as further studies are still needed.
  • Pre-diabetes - Those suffering from pre-diabetes may find help from consuming foods high in turmeric. Another 2012 study found that turmeric can actually delay diabetes for people with pre-diabetes.

  • Cancer - For those who have relatives who have/had cancer, turmeric may be a good supplement for your family. Although not conclusive, some studies showed promise ofcurcumin’s ability to fight against cancer.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases - Turmeric was found to improve memory according to a 2008 study. Again, further research is needed to confirm true benefits of turmeric however, a healthy dose may not fully go to waste. A new study found that ar-turmerone in turmeric can actually help stem cells responsible in the recoveringour brain for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and stroke.
  • Eye inflammation - Some studies found health benefit of turmeric for people with long-term inflammation in the middle layer of the eye, however, more research is needed to finalize turmeric’s real effect on eye inflammation.
  • Depression - Early research in turmeric benefit found some effect of curcumin for people with depression. The compound seem to have the same effect as fluoxetine, an anti-depressant drug.

Health Benefits of Turmeric

A healthy dose of turmeric in your day will certainly boost your overall health. However, experts warn the use of turmeric for people with gall bladder problems, bleeding problems, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hormone sensitive conditions, infertility, iron deficiency and sugery. If you are concerned with any of those mentioned, consult your doctor first before supplementing your diet with turmeric.

Turmeric has certainly risen ranks from other healthy foods around and it has become a popular additional staple for health conscious people. However, there is still a lot of research to do to conclude how we can get the best benefit from this super spice.

© 2016 MangBerto08


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    • MangBerto08 profile image

      MangBerto08 13 months ago from Philippines

      Thanks for finding this helpful!

      I also love the idea that it's both flavorful and healthy :)

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 13 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Nice and useful information about turmeric!

      We in India are used to having turmeric in our daily diet. It's health benefits are too many and that is why it is a must in every Indian kitchen.

      Thanks for summing up the many benefits of this important food.