Turmeric is one of the most studied spices on the planet and has been used for thousands of years in India. Below is just a short list of some of the benefits of putting Turmeric into your diet.
1.) Fights Inflammation: It is now well known that many of life’s worst diseases (cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and many other metabolic diseases) are directly impacted by inflammation levels. Turmeric has been shown to be such a powerful anti-inflammatory that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs. (1,2)
2.) Increased Antioxidant Absorption: Coupled with inflammation, high levels of oxidative damage (caused from high temperature cooking with low quality fats, damaged proteins, etc.) lead to free radical formations which are linked to a lower life span by causing gene mutations. Turmeric has been shown in multiple studies to not only be a potent antioxidant that helps get rid of free radicals, but also increases the bodies own antioxidant enzymes. (3,4)
3.) Increased Brain Function: One of the main ways we grow new neurons in our brains is by a hormone called Brain-Derived Neuotrophic Factor (BDNF)(5). People with depression and Alzheimer’s disease have been shown to have a decreased level of this crucial hormone. Turmeric has been shown to increase levels of (BDNF) in the brain (6). This means that consuming Turmeric not only helps combat these diseases, but also could potentially help increase memory due to the increased levels of this hormone.
Important Note: When consuming Turmeric make sure to add black pepper as a chemical called Piperine helps increase absorption by 2000% (7).
- Julie, S., and M. T. Jurenka. “Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent.” Alternative medicine review2 (2009).
- Coussens, Lisa M., and Zena Werb. “Inflammation and cancer.” Nature6917 (2002): 860-867.
- Menon, Venugopal P., and Adluri Ram Sudheer. “Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.” The molecular targets and therapeutic uses of curcumin in health and disease. Springer US, 2007. 105-125.
- Biswas, Saibal K., et al. “Curcumin induces glutathione biosynthesis and inhibits NF-κB activation and interleukin-8 release in alveolar epithelial cells: mechanism of free radical scavenging activity.” Antioxidants & redox signaling1-2 (2005): 32-41.
- BINDER, DEVIN K., and HELEN E. SCHARFMAN. “Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor.” Growth factors (Chur, Switzerland)3 (2004): 123–131.
- Xu, Ying, et al. “Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB.” Brain research1 (2006): 56-64.
- Shaikh, J., et al. “Nanoparticle encapsulation improves oral bioavailability of curcumin by at least 9-fold when compared to curcumin administered with piperine as absorption enhancer.” European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences3 (2009): 223-230.
This Chart Shows some of the things Curcumin (chemical in Turmeric) has been shown to help combat.