Suppose you are about to be stranded on a small island out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – even if it’s totally inconceivable you’d actually get advance notice for that sort of thing – and you can take only one nutritional supplement with you. What would it be? Well, depending on your personal preferences and particular state of health, there are, arguably, several right answers. But the best answer? Let’s start (and end) with turmeric.
Turmeric is known worldwide as a spice that is extracted from the rhizome and root of the Curcuma longa plant, giving it the curcumin name, native to India and Indonesia, per livestrong.com. Even before we get into exploring turmeric’s many health benefits – thanks, mostly, to the presence of curcumin in turmeric – it’s worth mentioning the yellowish (some say golden) herb for its popularity as a spice whose earthy, pepper-like taste is a culinary delight. Check out the buffet at your nearest Indian restaurant – plenty of turmeric will be on display. If nothing else, you could concoct some tasty meals out of the turmeric and whatever else you could scrounge up on that lonely island.
OK, But What about the Curcumin?
We were about to get to that. Although curcumin makes up only about 3 percent of turmeric in terms of weight, it is turmeric’s most-active component in terms of providing health benefits to humans. It is curcumin that contains most of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and which has made the herb/spice so effective in dealing with such a wide range of health issues, and which we will soon get into, in this article.
As potent as curcumin is on the health front, it does need a boost when it comes to being absorbed by our bloodstream, which, of course, needs to happen before it can really go to town doing its multitasking job. Problem solved with piperine, an organic substance found in black pepper that improves the absorption of curcumin by 2,000 percent, per healthline.com, and which can be found as an active ingredient in Turmax™.
Just How Nutritionally Rich is Turmeric?
First, though, let’s take a quick look at the nutritional power of turmeric/curcumin. Simply, it is perhaps the world’s most abundant herb when it comes to nutritional value, with its inclusion of protein, vitamin C, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, sodium, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, and manganese, per organicfacts.net.
A Summary of Turmeric/Curcumin’s Health Benefits
Get out your pad and pen or pencil – this is a long list and worth taking note of, while being sure to consult with your physician before making turmeric/curcumin – or any other supplement – a regular part of your daily regimen:
- Boost brain function: Curcumin has shown to be effective in boosting cognition in areas such as concentration and memory retention. This is probably because of its ability to help protect the neural pathways from chronic oxidative stress and the accumulation of plaque, per organicfacts.net. It’s no wonder turmeric/curcumin has also been linked to a potential to help Alzheimer’s patients.
- Prevent blood clots: As a natural anticoagulant, turmeric powder is a potent blood thinner that helps to prevent blood clotting.
- Cardiovascular health: Not only can curcumin lower cholesterol levels, it also works to prevent heart disease by working against atherosclerosis, a disease that involves unwanted hardening and narrowing of the arteries, per livestrong.com.
- Alleviate joint pain/arthritis: As a robust anti-inflammatory agent, curcumin can calm the joint inflammation and pain associated with arthritis, often in ways more effective than some prescription drugs.
- Treat depression: Trials involving patients with depression have shown curcumin to be on a par with prescription antidepressants such as Prozac for producing improvements.
- Diabetes. Curcumin can help lower blood-sugar levels and reduce the risk of both type-1 and type-2 diabetes, per organicfacts.net.
- Irritable bowel disease (IBD): The dietary fiber content of turmeric can work well in soothing the digestive process, even for more serious problems such as Crohn’s disease.
- Antioxidant: Curcumin not only is a robust antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals, it can also boost the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
- Anti-inflammatory: Per healthline.com, curcumin, through its anti-inflammatory capabilities, which includes targeting the inflammatory pathways at the molecular level, can not only help the body battle foreign invaders, it can help repair any damage that results.
- Anti-aging: Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are key in this regard, working to stave off many of the diseases normally associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and skin problems.
- Skin care: For now, let’s just limit the discussion to acne. Turmeric can help keep pimples from forming by obstructing the growth of zit-causing bacteria while also decreasing the amount of oils secreted by sebaceous glands, per organicfacts.net.
- Weight loss: Because turmeric can assist in speeding up our metabolism, it pushes our body to burn a great number of calories, leading to weight loss. Simultaneously, it can help reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, per organicfacts.net.
- Liver health: Curcumin contributes to the efforts to detoxify our liver by stimulating the lymphatic system and effectively removing toxins.