Turmeric can be a real wonder supplement. This tasty spice is what gives the curry its orange color, but it does much more than that. There are many studies that point to turmeric’s ability to improve the health of your body and brain. But even before it was officially studied, turmeric had been used as a medicine in India for thousands of years.
So what’s in turmeric that’s so beneficial? Scientists have reduced it to curcuminoids, the most notable of which is curcumin. Curcumin has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, but its concentration in turmeric is not particularly high, around 3% by weight.
Eating turmeric is always a good option, but you can increase the benefits by looking for a good curcumin supplement.
But whether you eat turmeric or take a curcumin supplement, you’ll need another powerful ingredient to increase its absorption. Without it, most curcumin is likely to leave your body without being put to use. Read on to discover all the amazing benefits of turmeric – #6 is truly amazing, and then we’ll share the magical ingredient that makes everything better.
1. Natural Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Inflammation is a defense mechanism that is critically important when you have an injury or infection. It helps the body isolate the affected areas and fight the invaders of your body. Without inflammation, dangerous pathogens would have a clear path to controlling your body completely. However, inflammation is a somewhat blunt tool and can sometimes become chronic for no reason. When that happens, you’re at risk of getting all sorts of diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties so powerful that it competes with some drugs specifically designed to relieve inflammation, but without dangerous side effects. Curcumin is known to block the NF-kB molecule that travels to cell nuclei and activates inflammation. So when you eat turmeric or take a curcumin supplement, you’re reducing inflammation at the cellular level.
2. Improved antioxidant capacity
Antioxidants are able to block oxidative damage, which is one of the mechanisms behind aging and disease. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons, which can bounce around your body and react with fatty acids, proteins or DNA. The effects of this process are shown externally on your skin in the form of premature aging, or internally in the form of disease, especially cancer.
Antioxidants like curcumin bind to free radicals and neutralize them before they cause damage. But that’s not all curcumin can do. It also seems to stimulate a body’s own antioxidant enzymes to work harder. This way you get double protection when eating turmeric.
3. Better brain function
Neurons in our brains are never as active as they are in childhood, but that doesn’t mean they don’t continue to multiply and make new connections throughout our lives. This process is driven by a growth hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It is suspected that decreased levels of this hormone are behind diseases such as depression and Alzheimer’s.
Would you be surprised to learn that curcumin increases BDNF levels in the brain? That ability could very well delay or reverse age-related brain disorders, improve memory, and even make you smarter. It can certainly improve your mood on a daily basis. So be sure to consume curcumin in the days and weeks leading up to an exam or a great presentation!
4. Reduced risk of heart disease
Heart disease kills more people around the world than anything else. It’s a complicated disease with many contributing factors, but curcumin can protect you against it. As we have already discussed, curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound. Both functions can improve heart health.
More than that, curcumin seems to benefit the endothelium, or the lining of blood vessels. Problems with the endothelium lead to problems with blood pressure regulation, blood clotting, and other heart regulation factors. One study determined that curcumin is as effective as exercise in improving heart health, while another argues that it works as well as the heart medication Atorvastatin.
5. Cancer Prevention
Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases faced by humans and animals. It occurs when the growth of certain cells becomes rapid and uncontrolled. Uncontrolled cancer cells then grow tumors and spread to other parts of the body. There are many different forms of cancer, but some of them may be vulnerable to curcumin. Studies have shown that it can slow the growth and spread of cancer cells and even cause your death in some circumstances.
More studies are needed to determine exactly what role curcumin may play in treating cancer, but there is already compelling evidence that it can help prevent cancer development in the first place. This is especially true when it comes to digestive cancers such as stomach or colorectal cancer.
6. Pain Relief
Many of the so-called “painkillers” that can be purchased without a prescription are not really aimed at pain, but at inflammation. Ibuprofen is a good example. As a result, curcumin is at least as effective as these chemical anti-inflammatory drugs.
Studies have shown that it is particularly effective in reducing the pain experienced by arthritis patients. In fact, curcumin was found to be even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Curcumin may also be helpful for people with post-exercise injuries or pain.
Curcumin is a very powerful compound that improves your body’s function, slows down aging, increases brain capacity and mood. Turmeric is the best way to add curcumin to your meals, but the amount of curcumin in turmeric is relatively low. A curcumin supplement may be beneficial for people who are going to treat an existing disorder.
However, taking a curcumin supplement alone does not mean that most of it will enter the bloodstream. For that, make sure that the supplement you choose also contains a substance called piperine. Piperine is an active compound in black pepper that has all sorts of health benefits on its own, in addition to increasing your body’s ability to absorb curcumin by 2,000%.
When eating turmeric, be sure to include some black pepper. That’s no problem because the two spices taste great together. And here’s a few more news we hope will be welcome: curcumin is fat soluble, so it works best when taken with a fatty meal. Although we don’t recommend consuming too many unhealthy trans fats, you can eat as much avocado, nuts, and even eggs as you want with foods that include curcumin.
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