31 Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
The health benefits of turmeric are countless. In childhood when we used to catch a cold the first thing our mom would give us is turmeric milk. Turmeric was applied to our wounds to heal it quickly.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an important spice, used widely in the Indian subcontinent and other south Asian countries. Perhaps all of you have heard that turmeric is called a ‘miracle herb’. The bioactive ingredients found in turmeric increase its medical value to a greater extent. Components found in turmeric such as demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, curcumin are collectively called curcuminoids. Some of the turmeric’s other components are turmerone, zingiberene, atlantone, proteins, sugars, resins, etc (1).
Nutritional Value of Turmeric
Turmeric is full of nutritional value. It has many vital nutrients that help us stay healthy (2). So let us take a look at the nutritional value of turmeric
(In every 100 grams)
Total fat 10 grams
(Saturated fat 3.1 grams, polyunsaturated fat 2.2 grams, monounsaturated fat 1.7 grams)
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 38 mg
Potassium 2525 mg
Total carbohydrate 65 grams
(21 grams dietary fiber, 3.2-gram sugar)
Protein 8 grams
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin B6 90%
Vitamin B12 0%
Vitamin C 43%
Vitamin D 0%
Note: Percents are according to a 2,000 calorie diet.
What Are The Health Benefits of Turmeric?
When I recommend turmeric use in daily food, many of my readers ask me what is turmeric good for? As mentioned above, there are lots of health benefits of turmeric. Let us look at some of those
1. Relieves Cough and Cold
Through ages, turmeric is known to cure a cough and cold. Turmeric milk is used to cure a cough and cold. Turmeric oil relieves a cough and sputum. Inhaling the flame of burning turmeric relieves nasal congestion (3). This is one of the best health benefits of turmeric.
2. Wound Healing
Turmeric has anti-bacterial properties; that’s why it helps healing wounds. It also relieves inflammation and protects your skin. Make a paste of turmeric by mixing it with water and apply it gently on the wound. Cover it with a bandage once you are done, and wait for 12-24 hours. Do it for three days to see the wound cure. (4)
3. Fights Hepatitis
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are mainly 5 kinds of hepatitis– type A, B, C, D and E. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, so it benefits in case of hepatitis as well. Turmeric protects our liver and helps you recover fast from hepatitis. (5)
4. Fights Depression
Turmeric helps in fighting depression. Research done regarding its effect on depression shows that curcumin combined with Prozac (one kind of antidepressant) fights depression more effectively. Turmeric treats depression and other depressive disorders as an antioxidant, neuroprotective agent and anti-inflammatory agent. (6)
5. Weight Loss
Turmeric contains an anti-obesity property that helps in reducing weight. Curcumin decreases the size of adipose tissues. Turmeric combined with sulfur can prevent the deposition of fat and also improve the lipid profile of the liver and blood. Turmeric tea is very helpful in weight loss as it contains all the required nutrients that would help your body reduce fat deposits. Along with food try yoga asanas for weight loss. (7)
6. Eye Health
Curcumin is an antioxidant, which is beneficial for the treatment of cataracts. The neuroprotective and antioxidant properties of curcumin treat glaucoma as well. Improved eye health is one of the best health benefits of turmeric. Eye diseases like retinitis pigmentosa can be cured by curcumin. (8)
7. Benefits Mouth Ulcer
Curcumin can also heal the mouth lining of mouth ulcers. Curcumin gel heals mouth ulcers and pain as well within just 7 days. (9)
Here is an amazing video from Dr. Axe about the health benefits of turmeric
Turmeric is a natural painkiller. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory, which helps reducing pain. Researchers show that curcumin is as useful as aspirin as a painkiller. Turmeric also relieves neuropathic pain. (10)
9. Helps Controlling the Blood Pressure
10. Thyroid Health
Turmeric benefits thyroid health. The usage of turmeric in the diet reduces the occurrence of goiter. It reduces inflammation in thyroiditis. Turmeric also reduces oxidative stress that occurs in the case of hyperthyroidism. (12)
11. Heart Health
Turmeric is beneficial for the health of our hearts. Turmeric offers cardioprotection. The cardioprotective effect of curcumin cures cardiac damage. It helps in atherosclerosis, benefits in thrombosis and helps in maintaining anti-coagulant status. (13)
12. Helps in Arthritis
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin help in treating arthritis. Supplementation of curcumin helps in reducing the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and improves joint function. It also benefits in juvenile arthritis. (14)
13. Reduces Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome
Turmeric reduces symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. The anti-inflammatory property of curcumin helps to cure the pain of premenstrual syndrome. Curcumin also helps in modulating brain chemicals, reducing stress, depression and mood changes in premenstrual syndrome. (15)
14. Helps to Recover from Bone Fracture
Turmeric helps to recover from bone fractures. Consumption of turmeric milk and applying turmeric paste to the affected region hasten the recovery process. The inflammation property of curcumin is responsible for the speedy recovery from a bone fracture. Turmeric also helps in the remodeling of bones and protects bone tissues. This is one of the best health benefits of turmeric.
15. Skin Aging
Turmeric reduces the aging of the skin. It protects the skin from damage, wrinkles and the aging process. The antioxidant property of curcumin reduces skin aging. You can also try some yoga asanas for glowing skin. Turmeric face mask help to rejuvenate your skin and keep it healthy. Turmeric is one of the best home remedies for glowing skin.
Curcuminoids are natural antioxidants. It helps in raising the level of antioxidant enzymes, reduces oxidative stress, reduces the imbalance between antioxidant and prooxidant species in our body and scavenges free radical species which cause oxidative damage. It also helps to reduce oxidative stress in thalassemia and diabetes. Turmeric is an antioxidant-rich food.
17. Fights Acne
Turmeric helps in treating acne. The anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and wound-healing properties of curcumin aid in the treatment of acne. The growth of bacteria which cause acne is also inhibited by curcumin.
18. Healthy Pancreas
Turmeric keeps our pancreas healthy. Research shows that anti-inflammatory property can treat and prevent pancreatitis. Turmeric benefits in treating and preventing pancreatic cancer, and stimulates the production of insulin in the pancreas.
19. Boost Memory
Memory loss is a pretty common disease in old age. Usually caused by age-related illnesses, such as dementia, which is caused by Alzheimer’s – resulting in a progressive cell loss in the brain. There are also many causes of dementia, such as AIDS, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease, injury in the head, brain tumors, etc. Turmeric is known to boost memory and beneficial in case of memory loss. The memory changes due to the aging process are ameliorated by turmeric. Turmeric also counteracts memory deficits which are caused by several neurodegenerative diseases.
20. Lowers the Risk of Cancer
Research shows that turmeric lowers the risk of cancer. Strong anti-cancer or anti-carcinogenic properties of turmeric terminate cancer cells’ growth, prevent the proliferation of those and stimulate cancer cell death. Turmeric also prevents metastasis, hence preventing the cancer cells to spread in other parts of the body and increases chemosensitivity and radiosensitivity.
21. Improves Digestion
Turmeric improves the digestion process. The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin protect our digestive tract from various bacterial infections. Turmeric is a carminative, which relieves bloating. It is one of the best turmeric health benefits.
22. Helps to Treat Urinary Infections
Turmeric prevents urinary infections. Curcumin is found to inhibit the growth of microbes that cause urinary tract infections or UTI. The anti-inflammatory property of curcumin reduces inflammation in urinary disorders.
23. Lowers Cholesterol
Turmeric reduces the level of cholesterol. According to research, supplementation of curcumin in a high dose can lower cholesterol levels in just 12 weeks. Curcumin also reduces inflammation in metabolic syndrome and obesity. It is one of the best turmeric powder health benefits.
24. Anti-Inflammatory Agent
Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory agent – the foremost reason behind using turmeric in almost any health condition. Curcumin, as an anti-inflammatory agent, inhibits nuclear factor Kappa B (the master protein which stimulates the inflammatory process)’s activity. Curcumin inhibits the activity of COX and LOX (inflammatory enzymes), proteins like TNF-alpha, interleukin and various inflammatory chemicals as well.
25. Helps in PCOS
Turmeric benefits in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS also. Curcumin is able to regulate hormones and is an anti-inflammatory agent – which benefits in the treatment of PCOS. If you are suffering from PCOS start following a PCOS diet. Treatment of PCOS is one of the best health benefits of turmeric.
26. Reverses Prediabetes
Turmeric reverses prediabetes. According to a survey, 240 people with prediabetes were treated with curcumin. After 9 months, none developed diabetes, while 16.4% of the placebo group developed diabetes. Curcumin controls the level of blood sugar and improves the beta-cell function in the pancreas and insulin sensitivity.
27. Good Liver Health
Turmeric maintains the health of the liver and keeps it well. It protects the liver from toxicity caused by drugs, poisonous compounds, and heavy metals. It also protects the liver from toxicity caused by alcohol and cures the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
28. Prevents Gallbladder Stone Formation
Turmeric prevents the formation of gallbladder stones. If turmeric is consumed as a part of the diet, it can prevent gallstones from occurring in the first place.
29. Oral Health
Turmeric is beneficial in maintaining oral health. Turmeric helps getting rid of plaque, benefits in the treatment of periodontitis, treat oral lichen planus and cures oral ulcers. Oral turmeric gel reduces the inflammation of gingivitis. This is one of the best turmeric powder health benefits.
30. Helps with Asthma
Turmeric is beneficial in the treatment of asthma. The anti-asthmatic property present in curcumin reduces airway obstruction in bronchial asthma and improves breathing capacity. Curcumin also reduces inflammation in various kinds of asthma.
31. Healthy Spleen
Turmeric keeps our spleen healthy. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin benefit spleen health and boost the immune function of the spleen, and protect it from heavy metal toxicity.
How to Select the Best Turmeric While Shopping Grocery?
Organic turmeric, i.e. turmeric which is grown without using any sort of pesticides or manure is the best. To identify genuine organic turmeric, you can –
- Look for the ‘Certified organic’ seal on it.
- Buy from well-known sources.
- Avoid supplements and powder with additives and filters.
- Avoid turmeric supplements which contain Dibasic Calcium Phosphate (DCP).
This is how you can select the best turmeric while shopping grocery.
How to Store Turmeric?
Fresh turmeric is always more welcome than dried turmeric. Dried turmeric is bitterer than fresh turmeric. To store fresh turmeric, you can wash its root and scrub it. Don’t peel it. You can grate it using a ginger grater or a cheese grater. You can also smash it with a mortar and a garlic press. Turmeric can also be stored in the fridge – it can last for a year or more even if stored in the fridge.
Other Important Turmeric Uses
Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, turmeric has other usages also. Some other usages of turmeric are –
- Turmeric can cure irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
- It helps to treat tuberculosis.
- Turmeric can cure SLE or systemic lupus erythematosus.
- It is highly effective for high cholesterol.
- It can cure pruritus or itching.
- Turmeric prevents ringworm.
- It is beneficial in the treatment of diarrhea.
- It can also cure fibromyalgia.
Generally, there are no side effects of turmeric if you consume it in the prescribed portion. The overdose of curcumin may result in stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness etc.
Here are two recipes for turmeric –
1. Turmeric Tahini Dressing:
- Ingredients: ¼ cup tahini, ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, 2 tbsp olive oil, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Recipe: Take tahini, turmeric, olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and ¼ cup of water, and whisk together until smooth. Add pepper and salt to taste. Now dress hearty salads and grain bowls such as kale to make it more delicious.
2. Massaman Curry Paste:
- Ingredients: 12 dried bird chiles, 3 thinly sliced lemongrass stalks, 11 peeled cloves garlic, 1 thinly sliced medium shallot, 6 whole cardamom pods, 1tbsp vegetable oil, one ½” thinly sliced piece of peeled ginger, one 1” piece cinnamon stick, 6 whole cloves, 2tbsp coriander seeds, 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, ½ cup cilantro root, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ cup dry-roasted, salted peanuts, ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Also, a pestle and a mortar.
- Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 ₒ. Take water in a bowl, warm it and soak chiles in it. Then drain it and pat dry. Then toss garlic, chiles, shallot, galangal, and lemongrass with oil on a baking sheet. Roast for 6-8 minutes until fragrant and golden brown chiles. Let the mixture cool. Meanwhile, combine cloves, cardamom, coriander, cumin and cinnamon in a small dry skillet. Toast for 2 minutes in medium heat until fragrant. Then let it cool. Crush pods gently and remove cardamom seeds from it gently. Grind spices in mortar and pestle, and then transfer it to a food processor. Add cilantro, peanuts, nutmeg, chile mixture, salt, and turmeric, and make a smooth paste.
Turmeric side effects
Turmeric doesn’t cause any side effects usually; however, if consumed more than the usual, stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness can occur. Also, the consumption of turmeric might slow the coagulation process and can decrease the blood sugar level in diabetic patients.
So, this is why turmeric is called a miracle herb. Turmeric can really help you live longer – and healthier too.