In recent years, Turmeric has been coming into its own, as some experts are touting it as one of the superfoods for good health. In the same family as ginger, this somewhat vivid yellow-orange colored spice has been a staple in recipes from such exotic lands as India, Southeast Asia, and Middleast. For centuries the spice was used in India for medical purposes, such as in alleviating breathing problems.
But the question is—what benefits does Turmeric offer those who choose to use it?
One of the compounds found in Turmeric is that of curcumin. It is the curcumin that has scientists excited about the role the spice may play in easing the symptoms of depression as well as aiding prescribed antidepressants to work better. Although research on this is mixed, it does look promising.
One of the benefits of curcumin is that it can both fight inflammation and steady blood sugar levels, making it a useful substance in the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes. In a study that ran over nine months, 240 adults diagnosed with prediabetes took curcumin, and the odds of their developing diabetes significantly lowered. Ongoing research looks encouraging, but is being done on animals, and not humans.
Turmeric tea has long believed to be a significant aid in the battle against viral infections. With Turmeric containing only 3% curcumin, and that our bodies do not absorb curcumin very well, do not expect an occasional cup of tea here and there to be a cure-all.
When researchers conducted a study that followed the same women for three of their menstrual cycles, they discovered that supplements of curcumin worked significantly to ease their PMS symptoms. In a similar study on guinea pigs and rats, there were indications that Turmeric was effective in alleviating the discomfort of menstrual cramps.
The studies are mixed at best when it comes to the effect of Turmeric on your heart. Some research shows that Turmeric can help the lowering of LDL “bad” cholesterol, while others will counter that they found the spice has little to no effect. Yet another study found evidence that Turmeric prevented heart attacks in those individuals who have had by-pass surgery.
Alzheimer’s Disease, by its very nature, has the side effect of chronic inflammation. One of the benefits of Turmeric is that it presents as a natural anti-inflammatory. Although there is no hard evidence that Turmeric may be a valuable alley in the treating of Alzheimer’s, research is still ongoing to make sure just how much of a role it may play.
Turmeric has shown great promise in the treatment of joint pain and stiffness with its ability to relieve inflammation. Research continues on this possibility, so doctors are not claiming it as a go-to treatment for arthritis. If you would like to try it for your joint pain, eat it with black pepper to increase your ability for better absorption.
Turmeric can benefit the treatment of many ailments, with research ongoing to validate its benefits in yet other areas. If you choose to try Turmeric for yourself, follow all the directions and precautions on the bottle.