Turmeric is a root spice, a part of the ginger family. In India, it’s commonly used for cooking curries as well as colour dye and medicines. Turmeric has been in my diet since I was very young and my Mum even uses it for medicinal purposes in our household. I now find myself using it in the same way.
There are many ways turmeric can benefit your health and this is largely due to a component called curcumin, which is explained a bit further on. Here are my top 4 turmeric health benefits:
- It’s an anti-inflammatory
- It’s an anti-oxidant
- It’s an anti-depressant
- Helps fight colds and flus
1. It is an anti-inflammatory
Although my ancestors have been milking the medicinal benefits from turmeric for a very long time, western scientists have recently looked deeper into why it helps so much. They discovered a compound called curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, which has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
It’s said that curcumin cannot be absorbed in the bloodstream that well so taking black pepper with the turmeric is supposed to aid absorption.
It’s also often used in self-made lotions and potions to reduce inflammation, and also on sprains and strains for the same reason.
2. It’s an anti-oxidant
Oxidative damage is said to be one of the mechanisms behind many major diseases in the news today. Anti-oxidants protect our bodies from free radicals (highly reactive molecules), blocking them directly to stimulate the body’s own antioxidant mechanism. More anti-oxidants means less oxidative damage in your body.
3. It’s an anti-depressant
There are a lot of studies on depression and mental health in general so it can be a very tricky and sticky statement to say that turmeric helps with depression. However, to get scientific, a study published in Phytotherapy Research, took 60 volunteers diagnosed with depressive disorders like manic depression and treated half of the group with Prozac and the other half with curcumin. It was found that all volunteers managed curcumin well, as opposed to different reactions with prozac, and that it had the same effect at managing depression as Prozac! Incredible. Don’t do drugs – do turmeric (just kidding)!
4. Helps fight colds and flus
I remember when I was younger, being given honey and turmeric in water because it helps soothe the through and helps fight colds and flus! This is probably due to the anti-inflammatory nature of the herb but what a blighter!