turmeric curcumin health benefits studies
turmeric curcumin health benefits studies

9 Powerful Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric (With Studies)

One of the most popular spices and a key to Indian cuisine is turmeric powder. Aside from its iconic deep yellow color, turmeric holds some powerful benefits for your health. Unfortunately, unless you are an Indian food connoisseur, you are probably not consuming nearly enough of it and are missing out on incredible benefits of this super spice. Luckily, after reading these benefits supported by studies, you are not too late to join team yellow.

1.Turmeric Has Powerful Antioxidant Effects

The nemesis behind many of our diseases and aging is something called Oxidative damage. It involves something called the free radicals, which are unstable molecules that react very quickly with other molecules. They can react with DNA, proteins, and other organic substances. As discussed previously, antioxidants can protect us from these crazy particles and prevent damage caused by them.

Curcumin, the substance found in turmeric, is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize these free radicals thanks to its unique chemical structure.  It can also help boost the body’s antioxidant enzymes naturally. Through this process of blocking the damaging free radicals and utilizing its antioxidant power, curcumin can provide a powerful shield for your health. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

2. Turmeric Can Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

Curcumin has shown positive results on several factors that play into the deadliest disease in the world – heart disease. Numerous factors contribute to heart disease, but curcumin may reverse quite a few steps in the heart disease development.

For example, curcumin is known to improve the function of the lining of the blood vessels. The malfunctioning of the endothelium can cause failures to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and other factors. It seems to play a vital role in heart disease. Curcumin has shown that it can improve the endothelial function naturally. Just how well does it work? Several studies show that it can be as effective as exercise and even the drug called Atorvastatin! A few other important factors such as inflammation and oxidation also improved with the use of curcumin.

Even those with existing heart problems may be helped as one study showed. 121 patients who were to have coronary artery bypass surgery were given 4 grams of curcumin per day or a placebo (days before and after surgery). The group that consumed curcumin had decreased the risk of having a heart attack in the hospital by 65%! [6][7] [8] [9] [10]

3. Turmeric May Help Arthritis Patients

Arthritis is a debilitating disorder that affects older people and causes joint inflammation. Curcumin, contained in turmeric, is shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory which can help treat arthritis symptoms and in some cases do so more efficiently than certain anti-inflammatory drugs.

When studying patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin appeared to be more effective than certain anti-inflammatory drugs. There were other studies which showed significant improvements in other symptoms of arthritis. [11] [12] [13]

4. Turmeric Can Prevent (And Potentially Treat) Cancer

There are many types of cancers with different elements playing key roles. However, many of them share some of the same things which are affected by supplementation of curcumin.

Research has shown that curcumin can be beneficial in affecting cancer development, growth, and spread at the molecular level. It has even been shown in reducing cancerous cells and inhibiting the growth of certain tumors in animals.

It’s not clear yet if taken in high doses with enhancers like peppers; curcumin can help treat cancer in humans, however. But there is evidence showing that curcumin may play a role in preventing these diseases in the first place (especially cancers dealing with the digestive systems).

In a study where 44 men with colon lesions that sometimes can turn cancerous, 30 days of 4 grams of curcumin per day resulted in 40% fewer lesions.

Curcumin is a promising component in the fight against cancer. [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]

5. Turmeric Can Improve Brain Function and Help Fight Degenerative Brain Diseases

Even after childhood neurons in your brain can form new connections, and in particular areas, they can make multiple in numbers.  A vital component to this process is BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which it a growth hormone in your brain.

Many disorders of the brain, like Alzheimer’s and depression., have been linked to a decrease in the BDNF hormone. The good news? Curcumin has been shown to increase the levels of BDNF. By doing so, curcumin can actually delay and even reverse many of the age-related brain diseases.

Also, while there haven’t been conclusive studies yet, by improving the BDNF levels, it is possible that curcumin may help your memory and make you smarter.  [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

6. Turmeric has Natural Anti-Inflammatory Abilities

Inflammation helps fight foreign bodies and helps repair damage in your body. Without it, our bodies would be in deep trouble. However, while short-term inflammation has its benefits, long-term inflammation can cause damage. Chronic inflammation is believed to be vital in almost every Western disease like cancer, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and more.

Being able to counter this long-term inflammation means potentially preventing or even treating some of the diseases. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory, and as mentioned before, stronger than some drugs. Curcumin can work at the molecular level to disrupt multiple steps in the inflammatory process. [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36]

7. Turmeric Has Powerful Benefits for Fighting Depression

Curcumin has real potential in the fight against depression. NIHM estimates that 16 million adults in the US had at least one depressive episode in 2012. It affects about 350 million people worldwide.

A controlled trial of 60 patients showed that curcumin could be just as effective as certain drugs. One group took a gram of curcumin, while the second took Prozac, and the third took a combination of both.

In 6 weeks, the group that took curcumin showed similar results as Prozac, while the group that received both, did best. This study shows that curcumin can be an effective antidepressant.

Seeing as how depression is linked to reduced levels of BDNF, it’s no wonder that turmeric helps, considering it is a natural BDNF booster. Some evidence also suggests that curcumin can boost dopamine and serotonin, which are vital components in the fight against depression. [37] [38] [39] [40]

8. Turmeric May Be Beneficial in Treating and Preventing Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is one of the worst neurodegenerative diseases, and unfortunately, it is the most common one. It is also the leading cause of dementia in adults. Even worse, there is no real treatment for Alzheimer’s as of today. Prevention may be the only solution at this time.

Luckily, curcumin found in turmeric can cross the blood-brain barrier and may help. Since oxidative damage and inflammation have been shown to play a role in the disease, curcumin may be beneficial in the prevention of this disease. It has positive effects on both inflammation and oxidation.

Another key to Alzheimer’s seems to be the building of protein tangles or amyloid plaques. Studies have shown that curcumin can aid in clearing these tangles.

While further studies need to be done, curcumin has thus far demonstrated its ability in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. [41] [42] [43]

9. Turmeric Holds Powerful Medicinal Properties Which Can Help You Live Longer

turmeric health benefits

The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. It is an incredibly powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Inflammation and oxidation play a significant role in aging, and for that reason, curcumin is often used in many anti-aging supplements.

If turmeric can truly prevent diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s, then it may hold the key to longevity.

Homemade Turmeric Detox Tea Recipe

The best way to consume turmeric is either by using it when cooking or drinking it as a tea. Here is a fantastic recipe to get the most out of your turmeric. We recommend buying organic turmeric powder as with all spices, since they won’t contain any pesticides and won’t be irradiated. You can get a pound of organic turmeric powder very cheap. You can also read why raw honey is better than conventional honey here.

Important Note

It’s important to note that the curcumin content in turmeric is about 3% by weight, while studies mentioned before using about 1 gram per day or more. It would be quite difficult to reach such amount by only consuming turmeric. However, many doctors still recommend taking turmeric over curcumin extracts because there are compounds in foods like turmeric that work synergistically and as nature intended. However, you can also purchase natural curcumin supplements. If you are going to be consuming curcumin, it’s best to consume it with fat or black pepper for best absorption.