Turmeric is a popular spice in Asia, but its popularity has spread globally as a food ingredient and herbal remedy. The benefits of turmeric range from cardiovascular health to antioxidant properties. Discover all the great things about turmeric before adding it to your kitchen.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a family of ginger that mostly grows in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The most widely-used part of turmeric is its rhizome, which has unique deep orange-yellow color.
What does turmeric taste like? Turmeric has a slightly bitter, earthy flavor, with a hint of black pepper-like tone, yet not as hot as ginger. The aroma is a combination of mustard-like and earthy. Adding the right amount of turmeric into recipes for potato, meat, fish, curries, and various vegetarian dishes will create an aromatic combination.
Aside from cooking, turmeric is used for traditional medicines in Asia, from China to India and various Southeast Asian countries. Traditionally, turmeric is used in home remedies for skin, circulatory systems, digestive systems, and joints.
Active Components in Turmeric
Turmeric roots have active compounds collectively called curcuminoids. Curcumin is the most important component of curcuminoids and contributes to most turmeric’s health benefits.
Curcumin is known for having an anti-inflammatory effect. Curcumin also works as a strong antioxidant, although it must be fortified by another active compound like piperine for maximum absorption.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
You can gain many good things from consuming turmeric or using it as an herbal remedy. Here are several benefits of turmeric for general health.
1. Reducing Fat Buildup around Liver
Fat buildup around the liver can contribute to hepatic steatosis or fatty liver disease. While it mostly attacks alcoholics, non-alcoholics can also get this condition. It can show as jaundice, engorged liver, swollen belly and esophagus, constant drowsiness, and even liver failure.
Curcumin in turmeric is fat-soluble and can be absorbed by people with extra fat around their livers. The active ingredient may reduce liver injury from the excess fat. However, it would be best to balance it with a healthy diet, lifestyle, and check-up.
2. Assisting in Weight Loss
Research may reveal more turmeric benefits for weight loss, especially in reducing fat buildup in the body. It can also reduce inflammation, encourage the body to build water weight, and make insulin more sensitive. While further studies are needed to prove the benefits of weight loss, you can try consuming turmeric supplements with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
3. Reducing Oral Inflammation
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory quality can be used to reduce the symptoms of oral inflammation. Gargling with turmeric water is a home remedy for reducing swelling, pain, and redness on gums. Curcumin mouthwash or lozenge can also soothe oral inflammation, a side symptom of radiation treatment for cancer.
4. Reducing the Risk of Prostate Cancer
Turmeric benefits for men include reducing the possibility of getting prostate cancer. It could be achieved by consuming concentrated curcumin instead of just sprinkling turmeric powder into the food or drink. The active components in turmeric might stop the growth of potentially cancerous cells that affect the prostate, although further studies are necessary.
5. Reducing Arthritis Pain
Arthritic pain happens because of inflammation in the joints. The anti-inflammatory function of turmeric’s active compounds can help reduce pain. Consuming a concentrated amount of curcumin, such as in supplement, can contribute to the routine arthritic treatment.
6. Reducing the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Curcumin can improve the work of endothelium or the lining of blood vessels. Since damaged endothelium prevents your body from properly regulating blood pressure, curcumin can reduce the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. It includes keeping regular blood pressure and reducing blood clotting. Plus, the anti-inflammatory function reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease caused by inflammation.
7. Reducing the Free Radicals
Stress, pollution, and unhealthy food can increase the free radicals, which result in various conditions from a lowered immune system to cancer risks. Turmeric contains a high level of antioxidants that reduce free radicals, keeping your body in its best condition.
8. Keeping You Healthy as You Age
Many chronic diseases during aging are caused by oxidation, free radicals, and inflammation. Turmeric’s active components help reduce the risks of chronic diseases. It is probably why turmeric is considered a longevity plant in traditional medicines.
9. Keeping Your Skin Healthy
The anti-inflammatory quality of turmeric makes it a popular remedy for acne. Aside from soothing acne, turmeric is also good for reducing post-acne scars, making them less obvious. The antioxidant is also good for reducing the effects of sun damage on the skin.
How to Use Turmeric for Health and Beauty
There are many ways you can use turmeric to get its benefits, both for health and beauty. Here are some examples:
👉 Turmeric Paste for Acne Scars
Reduce acne scars by mixing turmeric with citric acid. Mix a teaspoon turmeric powder with two tablespoons of raw honey and several drops of lemon juice. Turn them into a paste and apply it to the acne scars. Leave for 10 minutes before washing your face with warm water.
👉 Curcumin Supplement for Health
The easiest way to get the potent benefits of turmeric is by taking a curcumin supplement. Many curcumin supplements are available for easier consumption. Some products mix curcumin with piperine from black pepper to increase absorption.
👉 Turmeric as Part of Daily Diet
Turmeric is great for dishes like curries, meat stews, rice dishes like biryani and seafood rice, and soup. However, you can add extra turmeric to your daily diet by sprinkling some of it in yellow/golden food like pancakes, scrambled eggs, and frittata. You can also create a spiced milk drink by boiling two cups of almond milk with a teaspoon of powdered turmeric and ginger, plus a tablespoon of honey.
👉 Turmeric Mask for Sun-damaged Face
Create a face mask to reduce the effect of sun damage on your face. Mix four tablespoons of aloe vera gel (from the container or package) with 10 drops of turmeric essential oil. Wash your face and apply the mask to it. Wait until dry before you rewash your face.
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