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  • 6/12/2013

Turmeric, Queen of Spices


In cooking, herbs and spices boost the flavor of our food. But did you know these same spices and herbs can also deliver health benefits that, in some cases rival our strongest medications?  Turmeric, known in the west for its use in Indian cooking, is often referred to as the “Queen of Spices”‌. It comes from the dry ground root of Curcuma longa, typically found in India and Indonesia. It has a deep yellow-orange tinge, from which it earns one of its nicknames, “Indian saffron”‌. Health benefits of turmeric include antiinflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, and antioxidant properties. In India and China it has been used medicinally for centuries. In the Western world, however, turmeric is best known for its culinary prowess. Also, it is one of the main ingredients in curry dishes. It has a bitter, peppery flavor and smells like a mixture of orange peel and ginger. Turmeric´s health benefits are well-known and documented.

Undoubtedly, the most powerful ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin gives turmeric its characteristic yellow color. It is a substance that is non-toxic and is found in turmeric along with other nutrients. These nutrients are included in the list below. The nutrients and quantities in 2 teaspoons (4.52 grams) of turmeric powder is as follows: · Dietary Fiber – 960 mg · Manganese – 0.36 mg · Vitamin B6 – 0.08 mg · Iron – 1.88 mg · Potassium – 114.48 mg

The most well-known benefit of turmeric is its anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin has been shown to produce anti-inflammatory effects that rival those of ibuprofen and hydrocortisone. As an added benefit, curcumin does not have the potential toxicity that pharmaceutical drugs exhibit.

Turmeric Health Benefits

 Prevents Cancer

Turmeric helps to prevent prostate cancer and stops the growth of existing prostate cancer and even destroys cancer cells. According to different research works, it has been found that the active components present in turmeric turns out to be the best protector against radiation-induced tumors. It also has a chemo-preventive effect against tumor cells such as T-cell leukemia, colon carcinoma, and breast carcinoma.

Relieves Arthritis

The anti-inflammatory properties present in turmeric help a lot in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. At the same time the anti-oxidant property present in turmeric destroys the free radicals present in the body which are responsible for damaging body cells. It has been found that those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis when consume turmeric on regular basis can get much relief from the moderate to mild joint pains as well as joint inflammation.

Controls Diabetes

Turmeric also helps to moderate the insulin level and thus it can be used in the treatment of diabetes. At the same time turmeric helps to reduce insulin resistance, which may prevent the onset of Type-2 Diabetes. It also improves glucose control and increases the effect of the medications used to treat diabetes. However as turmeric can cause hypoglycemia- low blood sugar when used with strong medications, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before taking turmeric capsules.

Reduces Cholesterol Level

Research works have proved that when turmeric is used simply as a food seasoning it can reduce serum cholesterol levels. It is a known fact that high cholesterol level is not a good thing as it can lead to various other health problems. When the cholesterol level is maintained in the body, it prevents many cardiovascular diseases.

Immune Booster

Turmeric contains a substance known as lipopolysaccharide which helps to stimulate and increase the activity of the immune system. At the same time the anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal agents present in turmeric help to make the immune system strong. When the immune system is strong there is less chance of suffering from colds, flu and coughs. At the onset of symptoms of colds, flu and coughs, you must mix one teaspoon of Turmeric powder into a glass of warm milk and have it once daily. Within a few days you will feel better.

Heals Wound

Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent and hence it can also be used as a disinfectant. Whenever you suffer from wounds and regular cuts and burns, just sprinkle the turmeric powder on the affected area in order to fasten up the healing process. Turmeric also helps to repair damaged skin. At the same time turmeric helps in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Weight Management

It has also been found that turmeric powder can also help a lot in maintaining ideal body weight. There is a component present in turmeric that helps to increase the flow of bile, an important component in the breakdown of dietary fat and thus help in controlling weight. Those who wish to lose weight or treat obesity and other associated diseases must take one teaspoon of turmeric powder with every meal.

Prevents Alzheimer’s disease

Brain inflation is suspected to be one of the leading causes of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. As turmeric removes plaque build-up in the brain and improves the flow of oxygen in the brain and keeps the brain functioning better, it also prevents and slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. At the same time regular consumption of turmeric supports brain health.

Improves Digestion

There are many key components in turmeric that stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which in a way improves digestion and reduces symptoms of bloating and gas. Also turmeric helps to treat most forms of inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis. However it is important to bear in mind that people suffering from any kind of gallbladder diseases should not take turmeric as a dietary supplement as it may worsen the condition. It is best to consume turmeric in raw form when suffering from any kind of digestion problem.

Prevents Liver Disease

Turmeric is a kind of natural liver detoxifier. The liver detoxifies the blood through the production of enzymes and turmeric increases the production of these vital enzymes. These vital enzymes break down and reduce the toxins present in the body.

To conclude, looking at the innumerable health benefits of turmeric, adding this powerful plant to your diet is one of the best things you can do to increase the quality of your life. You can add turmeric in powder form to curries, stir fried dishes, smoothies, warm milk and even to spicy salad dressings. At the same time turmeric can be taken in pill form also. However, turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction.




Other links:

The Mysterious Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Ginger, Natural Cure to Numerous Disorders

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