Good health is golden, and the health benefits of curcumin found in golden turmeric are worth knowing about and implementing in your daily diet.rn
Curcumin is the active ingredient you’ll find in turmeric. It gives this spice a distinct bright yellow/orange color and a pungent flavor many of us enjoy in our curry. Turmeric is related to ginger and both have been gaining a lot of attention lately as more and more studies reveal their powerful medicinal benefits. The health benefits of curcumin are extensive. Curcumin acts as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and anticancer compound that may treat and prevent many major diseases we face today.
Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties reduce oxidative stress and inflammation that damage the arteries and heart (1, 2, 3). It lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels and prevents plaque buildup in the arteries (4, 5). This may also have a beneficial effect on blood pressure, though this effect has not been well studied. Curcumin can improve your chances of not having a heart attack, even after open heart surgery (6).
Curcumin causes apoptosis in cancer cells (7). Apoptosis is the natural cellular death that cells undergo when damaged, old, or malfunctioning. Cancer cells are dangerous because they ignore these triggers and continue growing unchecked, but curcumin convinces them to self-destruct. This means curcumin prevents the spread and metastasizing of cancers (8, 9, 10). On top of this, curcumin prevents the formation of many cancers before they even become a problem as a natural anti-mutagenic (11). The antioxidant properties of curcumin help prevent the formation of cancer by neutralizing many carcinogens and free radicals that cause the cellular damage that can spawn cancer to begin with (12).
Curcumin is gaining interest in combatting many of the problems associated with Alzheimer’s. Curcumin protects against oxidative stress and inflammation (13). The anti-inflammatory nature of curcumin may be as powerful as many prescription drugs (14, 15). Curcumin does pass the blood brain barrier to have this effect within the brain itself (16). Curcumin also stimulates macrophages, the disposal units of the body, to break up and remove amyloid plaque, a major contributor to Alzheimer’s disease (17). Curcumin also improves focus and memory, which may help with dementia and other brain disorders associated with aging (18).
Curcumin is one of the most potent anti-inflammatories found in nature. It and ginger seem to compete with over the counter painkillers for effectiveness (19, 20). Curcumin seems to reduce the COX-2 enzyme responsible for pain and inflammation response in the joints and body associated with arthritis.
Curcumin may act like an antidepressant by blocking an enzyme that breaks down dopamine and keeping the euphoric neurotransmitter around longer (21). Curcumin also prevents the break down of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, a major contributor to brain health (22). Combining it with black pepper, piperine, increases the effects (23). Combining it with bromelain, a pineapple enzyme, or a healthy fat, like coconut oil, may also increase absorption and effect.
Curcumin protects the liver against a host of toxic compounds that can cause serious damage, preventing damage, improving function, speeding healing, and reversing damage after exposure. (24, 25, 26, 27).
Curcumin stimulates the release of bile to hopefully help clean the gallbladder and help prevent or dislodge gallstones (28). More studies need to be done.
We’ve already established that curcumin acts as a powerful antioxidant that protects the brain, liver, heart, and more (29). It seems curcumin also increases the antioxidant action of other compounds and enzymes throughout the body (30, 31, 32).
Turmeric is related to ginger, a common remedy for nausea, stomach pains, indigestion, and diarrhea. It is unsurprising that curcumin also helps with stomach problems, including helping to heal ulcers (36).
Turmeric, and thus curcumin, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat a multitude of illnesses and conditions. It is used topically to treat wounds, infections, and skin conditions and internally to treat lung disorders, food poisoning, parasites, circulation problems, infection, and much more. Not all of these health benefits have been studied, but the anecdotal evidence is very supportive and points to many more studies to come.
Side effects for turmeric are rare and mild, especially when used as a spice in food. Large medicinal doses (more than used in food) are not recommended for pregnant women. Large doses should also not be used when breastfeeding as no studies have been done on its safety. Very large doses can cause some stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and nausea.
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