The health benefits of turmeric may help to explain why it is an ingredient in numerous pain relief medications. In fact, a paper published in Nature Communications claims that curcumin from the spice turmeric (curcuma longa) has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It may help to prevent the development of cardiovascular disease. It may also help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Research also suggests that curcumin may help to prevent cancer.
The research on the health benefits of turmeric comes from observations made by Professor Sudhanshu Sahoo at the Department of Biology, Harvard University. The spice has a chemical composition which includes curcumin, a compound with several roles. The Harvard team published their findings in the prestigious journal Nature. The scientists found that when mice were pre-treated with cancer cells, they were more protected from the disease if they took the spice in the laboratory. In addition to preventing the development of cancer, the study suggested that curcumin may also be effective in stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s.
The antioxidant activity of turmeric has been established in laboratory settings. In tests on mice and rats, the mice showed no signs of damage to arterial walls when given high doses of curcumin. Oxidation caused by free radicals is believed to be one of the major causes of cardiovascular disease, and the ability of antioxidants to neutralize these free radicals is a major factor in preventing cardiovascular disease. The use of turmeric in Ayurvedic medicine has given some researchers hope that the herb can provide additional protection against degenerative eye diseases and cancer. The antioxidant effects of turmeric may work synergistically with other natural antioxidants like vitamin C and beta carotene to provide strong protection against degenerative eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.
Curcumin is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories known. When turmeric powder is sprinkled in a bowl of water, the resulting paste should have enough turmeric to cover the surface of the table. The same effect can be achieved when turmeric is topically applied to the eyes. By treating inflamed tissues directly, the health benefits of turmeric become clear. In order to get the most out of the natural anti-inflammatories of turmeric, a few simple guidelines should be followed:
Use turmeric as part of a healthy diet. The health benefits of turmeric were proven not only by clinical trials but also by more casual studies. According to Ayurvedic practitioners, the most beneficial way to take turmeric per day is in the form of a tea. While many people prefer to take the herb in capsule form, others believe that a glass of milk is better than nothing. However, according to studies suggest that the acidity levels of milk are too low to offer a benefit to the body.
Choose turmeric supplements wisely. Research indicates that curcumin, one of the main components of turmeric, can be absorbed by both the liver and the bloodstream. Thus, it may have multiple health benefits. The absorption rate of curcumin varies from person to person, so it’s important to ask your doctor before starting a supplement program. If you don’t already take a daily multivitamin, talk to your pharmacist about taking a supplement containing curcumin.
Boost your immune system. According to Ayurvedic medicine, the ingredients curcumin and aloe vera, when combined, may help improve the activity of the brain’s natural killer cells, which are responsible for keeping our blood-brain barrier in place. This is important because preventing the entry of harmful substances into the brain is one of the primary mechanisms through which stroke and coronary artery disease occur. Whether or not this combination will produce measurable results is yet to be seen, but studies have shown promise in both lab rats and human subjects.
In sum, there are many potential benefits of using turmeric as a daily spice in your diet. However, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any supplement program. Remember, too, that while some of these claims may be exaggerated, others may be true. So be careful what you put in your body. But if you use turmeric in reasonable amounts and do it wisely, curcumin may be just what you need to keep your heart healthy.