1. Reduces Inflammation
Perhaps one of the best known benefits of turmeric is its anti-inflammatory properties. First of all, what is inflammation? Inflammation can rise in the body for a number of reasons—usually identified as something that’s painful, red, hot, or swollen. Inflammation can be silent and not noticeably painful, but the inflammation is still there and affects our health. Inflammatory mediators are compounds that are produced to try to deal with the injury—but when these compounds don’t go away, it causes chronic inflammation or illness.
2. Improves Cognitive Health
One of the most important and interesting applications for turmeric is for cognitive health. Conditions like aging, dementia, and conditions of the brain can be considered inflammation. The increase in these inflammatory mediators can cause damage to the brain cells or inhibit their function, and this can contribute to cognitive decline, memory loss, and other conditions .
3. Can Help With Heart Disease and Cholesterol
Curcumin works in a number of different ways to help with heart disease, as well. It helps with LDL cholesterol in two ways: one, it works as an antioxidant to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, keeping it beneficial instead of harmful; two, it increases LDL receptors to give LDL cholesterol more places to go and do its job, preventing it from spending too long in our bloodstream and oxidizing. Both of these are excellent steps to take in the direction of healthy cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health!
Curcumin is also helpful for endothelial function. We have this lining of all our blood vessels called the endothelial and its job is to keep blood vessels healthy. When that’s not working, it’s a failure of, or disease of, or lack of action in this endothelial spot. Curcumin helps the endothelial work better, helping the vessels use their own safety mechanisms to keep themselves healthy.
4. Can Improve Liver Functions
Fatty liver disease can occur through excessive alcohol consumption or, more commonly nowadays, through sugar consumption. It is becoming very common, and increasingly common in younger people. The good news is that by fixing up the diet to avoid refined sugars and things that break down easily into sugar, you can take a big step towards avoiding fatty liver. Curcumin also helps, though! It’s been shown to lower liver enzymes which are the markers that are used to measure liver function.
5. Works As Anti-inflammatory
Most people who think of inflammation think of arthritis—and turmeric, through its curcumin content, definitely helps the pain associated with this condition. In fact, it helps with Rheumatoid Arthritis as well! Its powerful antioxidant effects neutralize free radicals. Free radicals damage healthy cells and cell membranes, and they are quite prevalent in conditions like arthritis because they are responsible for causing the joint pain and damage. By neutralizing these free radicals, curcumin helps stop their spread throughout the body, protecting the cells and joints from their damaging effects. In fact, a recent study showed that the effects of curcumin on rheumatoid arthritis were comparable to those of a medical anti-inflammatory when dealing with morning stiffness and joint swelling.
6. Can Improve Thyroid Functions
Turmeric is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, including Manganese. In fact, just 2 teaspoons provides 17% of your daily recommended intake of this vital mineral. What does manganese do for you? For one, it helps maintain proper thyroid function. It has been estimated that 200 million people in the world have some form of thyroid disease. In Canada, 30% of the population suffer from a thyroid condition. Of those, as many as 50% remain undiagnosed.
7. A Good Source Of Pigment Rich Vitamins
Finally, turmeric is a good source of other vitamins and minerals, such as iron, fibre, vitamin B6, copper, and potassium. In just 2 teaspoons, it has 10% of your recommended iron intake. We know that iron is mainly an aid in our energy, since it helps metabolize proteins and plays a role in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. But it’s important to not just get iron from red meat, as this can actually cause a burden on the body. Turmeric is a great meat-free source of iron! And what about vitamin B6? 2 teaspoons contain 5% of your daily B6 intake, which helps to stimulate co-enzyme activities, protect the immune system, and produce positive effects on things like metabolism, PMS, hormones, skin conditions, and the like.