Where people complain that staying healthy is quite challenging, there are few spices and herbs in our home that can aid in a healthy living if consumed on a regular basis. Turmeric is one such spice which is filled with phenomenal medicinal properties. Turmeric is a flowering plant that belongs to the Curcuma Longa of the ginger family. It is usually used as a spice for cooking, especially in Indian recipes.
Turmeric has been used for treating ailments in various parts of Asia especially India and China since ancient days. Its therapeutic properties have made it an important component in the alternative branch of medicines like Ayurveda, Unani, and traditional Chinese medicine.
In India turmeric which better known as ‘Haldi’ is used in various customs and rituals. There is a ‘Haldi Ceremony’ held before marriages in India which is considered to be very auspicious. This ceremony has both scientific and regional beliefs associated with it. ‘Haldi’ or turmeric is considered to be a great antiseptic. Thus, the application of healthy on the bodies of the bride and groom ensures the purification of their bodies and detoxification. It also helps to exfoliate the skin making it glowing for the big day. Another reason for applying turmeric is that both the bride and the groom feel nervous before the main day. Turmeric acts as a natural relaxant that prevents nervousness and soothes the mind at the body. The color yellow radiates positivity and is considered lucky for the new beginnings of the bride and the groom.
Let us now look at some of the health benefits of turmeric:
1) Anti-Inflammatory – Turmeric has the ingredient curcumin which has anti-inflammatory properties. This bio-active substance fights at the molecular level to fight chronic inflammatory diseases. It prevents the NF-kB molecule to enter the nuclei of our cells that turns on the genes related to inflammation. According to past studies, it is more effective than medicines like Advil(Ibuprofen) and aspirin for treating inflammatory diseases.
2) A great Anti-oxidant- The oxidative damage of the body over time leads to a lot of aging and other diseases. The ingredient Curcumin also has antioxidant properties that protect our body against free radicals. I neutralizes free radicals. It also boosts the anti-oxidant enzymes of our own bodies. Thus, it helps in two ways! It not only blocks the free radicals but also activates our own body’s antioxidant enzymes for defense.
3) Lowers the Risk of Heart Diseases- Endothelial, the thin membrane that covers the inside of the heart and blood vessels plays a key role in maintaining the blood pressure. Curcumin helps to improve the endothelial function and prevents any age-related slowing down the function of the heart. It also lowers the LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol level. This reduces the likelihood of getting any heart disease. It also reduces the chances of heart attacks.
4) Treats and Prevents Diabetes- The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant property of turmeric prevents a pre-diabetic person from getting type 2 diabetes. It helps to keep the insulin at a moderate level and boosts the effectiveness of the medicines for treating Diabetes. It also improves the other factors like Hyperlipidemia (the elevated level of fat in the blood) to keep diabetes under check.
5) Boosts Immunity- Turmeric consists of a substance called Lipopolysaccharide that has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties that boosts the immune system. It helps to fight against viral infections, flu and prevents cough and cold.
6) Helps in Digestion- Turmeric stimulates the various digestive organs to produce the different enzymes, thus, aiding the process of digestion. It helps to detox the liver by breaking down the toxins. It helps in blood circulation and is instrumental in maintaining a healthy gut. It also reduces gastric and bloating issues.
7) Helps in Treating Arthritis Pain- The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties help to fight the free radicals that damage the cells. The daily consumption of the spice helps in treating joint pains, stiffness, and inflammation associated with arthritis.
8) Prevents and Treats Cancer- Curcumin affects the growth of cancerous cells and prevents its spread and development at the molecular level. It also kills the cancerous cells and reduces angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and metastasis (spread of cancer). Studies suggest that it reduces lesions in the colon that prevents the cell to turn into cancerous. Thus, it prevents cancer, especially in the digestive system.
9) Improves Brain Function- Curcumin boosts the release of the brain hormone, BDNF(brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF helps to keep the nerve cells (neurons) healthy, improves communication, and strengthens memory. Turmeric helps in the growth of new neurons and fights the different degenerative processes in the brain. Thus, it helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease as well.
10) Helps to fight Depression- Curcumin acts as an anti-depressant. Depression reduces the BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) level in the brain of the person, thereby reversing the changes. It also boosts the release of chemicals in the brain namely serotonin and dopamine that contribute to well being and happiness in a person.
11) Improves Skin Texture- The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric helps to treat acne conditions. It helps to reduce the redness and swelling of the pimples. When applied topically on the skin as face makes, it infuses a new glow on the skin and improves its texture.
12) Healing Properties- Owing to its anti-bacterial properties, turmeric is considered to be a natural antiseptic and disinfectant. When applied to the affected areas topically, it helps it to heal faster.
13) Eases PMS symptoms in women- PMS(pre-menstrual symptoms) is a combination of physical, psychological, and behavioral changes. The neurologic and anti-inflammatory properties of Curcumin eases the PMS symptoms in women. It also gives relief during menstrual cramps and bloating.
To sum it all, Turmeric has amazing benefits on health. So much so that it is all-encompassing. As it prevents and treats many chronic ailments that come with age, therefore it aids longevity in a person. Adding this to your diet along with a healthy lifestyle will ensure a fit and happy life!