1. Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color.
It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb.
Recently, science has started to back up what the Indians have known for a long time… it really does contain compounds with medicinal properties.
These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
2. Curcumin is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound
Inflammation is incredibly important.
It helps the body fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage.
Without inflammation, pathogens like bacteria could easily take over our bodies and kill us.
Although acute (short-term) inflammation is beneficial, it can become a major problem when it is chronic (long-term) and inappropriately deployed against the body’s own tissues.
It is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions.
Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases.
It turns out that curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory, it is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs.
Curcumin actually targets multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway, at the molecular level.
3. Turmeric Dramatically Increases The Antioxidant Capacity of The Body
Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases.
It involves free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons.
Free radicals tend to react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA.
The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial, is that they protect our bodies from free radicals.
Curcumin happens to be a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure.
But curcumin also boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
4. Curcumin Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases
The neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in certain areas of the brain, they can also multiply and increase in number.
One of the main drivers of this process is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain.
Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone. This includes depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Interestingly, curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF.
By doing this, it may be effective at delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function.
5. Curcumin Leads to Various Improvements That Should Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world.
It has been studied for many decades and researchers have learned a lot about why it happens.
It turns out that heart disease is incredibly complicated and there are various things that contribute to it.
Curcumin may help reverse many steps in the heart disease process.
Perhaps the main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease, is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels.
It is well known that endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors.
Several studies suggest that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function. One study shows that is as effective as exercise, another shows that it works as well as the drug Atorvastatin.
But curcumin also reduces inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above), which are also important in heart disease.
6. Turmeric Can Help Prevent (And Perhaps Even Treat) Cancer
Cancer is a terrible disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells.
There are many different forms of cancer, but they do have several commonalities, some of which appear to be affected by curcumin supplementation.
Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. It can affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level.
Studies have shown that it can reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors), metastasis (spread of cancer), as well as contributing to the death of cancerous cells.
7. Curcumin May be Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia.
Unfortunately, no good treatment is available for Alzheimer’s yet.
Therefore, preventing it from showing up in the first place is of utmost importance.
There may be good news on the horizon, because curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier.
It is known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. As we know, curcumin has beneficial effects on both.
8. Arthritis Patients Respond Very Well to Curcumin Supplementation
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries.
There are several different types, but most involve some sort of inflammation in the joints.
Given that curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory, it makes sense that it could help with arthritis. Several studies show this to be true.
In a study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug.
Many other studies have looked at the effects of curcumin on arthritis and noted improvements in various symptoms.