All you need to know about this trendy rhizome
Do you know what empowers us Indians the most when it comes to our kitchen? Well, it’s what we house in our cabins as our everyday spices. So, whether it is the seeds of cumin, carom, fennel, fenugreek, pepper or turmeric powder, we always have something that is beyond its culinary value in our cooking arsenal. And, when we talk about the health benefits of turmeric, there’s more to the spice other than mixing it with milk, (the notorious ‘haldi wala doodh’) to cure a cold or bad throat in India.
For over decades, in many parts of India, there has been this ‘tradition’ of drinking a glass of water mixed with turmeric powder for young girls and women while they’re on their period. At the cost of sounding like a ‘baseless’ lore, a lot of people over the years trust that this helps lessen menstrual discomfort.
A correlation between turmeric and its possible role in reducing pain?
Now, let’s quickly trace the relevance of turmeric from how it evolved to become the most common and indispensable spice in the Indian kitchen.
Turmeric and the Indian Food History
In tune with recorded evidences from the Vedic times, the mention of turmeric goes way back to about 4000 years ago, where it was extensively used for cooking and religious rituals.
Back then in India, while being used as an ingredient and indeed a natural food color, it was also earmarked as auspicious owing to its ‘purifying’ nature. With time, the turmeric crop expanded its relevance and cultivation in southern Asia, and today, we have India producing almost all of the world’s turmeric, which is also regarded as the cornerstone quality because of its high and optimum content of Curcumin.
Yes! If you’ve heard of this substance often recently, this is where Curcumin supplements come from. Here’s a consummate explanation about how the turmeric rhizome is processed traditionally and commercially.
To get to know how extraordinary this root is, here are some outstanding health benefits of turmeric, which somehow remained undermined until nearly 25 years back, when modern medicine scientifically established them through in-vitro studies on animals and humans.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
1. Turmeric is Anti-Inflammatory
According to statistics, the incidence of lifestyle diseases today across the world, particularly among Asians, stems from the consumption of processed food over the traditional native food. Be it Heart diseases, Type-2 Diabetes, Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or Obesity, there’s one common factor along all of these – INFLAMMATION.
Studies on turmeric have demonstrated its main component Curcumin to have anti-inflammatory properties superior to even those of the regular OTC drugs like Ibuprofen and Aspirin.
Hence, to fight any disease symptomatic of inflammation in the body, doctors suggest patients to cut down on the consumption of processed food and ingredients, increase mobility, and include a certain combination of naturally anti-inflammatory spices into their diet. Inclusion of turmeric and pepper is one such combination that is known to have dramatic effect in reducing inflammation without any side effects unlike the regular pain-killer drugs.
This has already been the case with a large section of population suffering from Arthritis, as Curcumin works effectively in healing inflamed joints.
2. Curcumin improves Heart Health
We live in a dismal age where we have been hearing at least about one person that we know to suddenly die a day out of a stroke or heart attack. Heart diseases haunt the present population, which is perennially stressed over various life problems and lifestyle issues. Most of the heart-related problems are linked with chronic inflammation, which again proliferates to high blood pressure (hypertension) in people irrespective of their age bracket.
As per a research study, interestingly, regular ingestion of Curcumin can lead to an improved vascular endothelial function. This implies that it can potentially reduce inflammation and actively normalize blood pressure, which can be elevated due to a deteriorating vascular health. It was found that with the consumption of curcumin along with a routine involving aerobic exercises, flow-mediated dilation was largely noticed.
Thus, turmeric helps prevent age-related decline in endothelial function and promotes a healthy and ageless heart.
3. Turmeric – a natural Anti-oxidant and Anti-Cancer element
Do you know what causes a lot of deadly diseases like cancer and neurodenerative disorders?
Well, it’s FREE RADICALS.
Our current lifestyle infested with the dependence on processed food items swaddled with a sedentary life opens doors to the production of free radicals in our body that often lead to life-threatening diseases.
Anti-oxidants, either through our dietary nutrients or supplement, curb the free radicals and inhibit their further propagation, thus preventing the incidence of such diseases.
The curcumin in turmeric has been found to possess some amazing anti-oxidant properties.
Likewise, Curcumin has been probed to be powerful in killing tumor cells. According to a research study, having 4 grams of curcumin everyday actually reduced the number of pre-cancerous lesions.
While that is true, curcumin has been established as a highly potent substance that increases the sensitivity of tumors to chemotherapy, thus battling chemo-resistance ensuring better responsiveness of cancer patients to chemotherapy.
4. Skin Health benefits of Turmeric
Since centuries, turmeric has been known to most Asians as a talisman for skin problems.
Whether it is about dealing with skin that is dry, acne-prone or inflamed due to any reason, turmeric is the first anti-septic product we have been familiar with.
Turmeric can kill germs that infect open pores in the skin and cause pimples leading to unsightly blemishes subsequently. So, a paste of turmeric (best when combined with natural sandalwood paste) rubbed on the affected skin yields results like no chemical peel or dermabrasion session can.
Well, poeple who have dealt with acne for a really long time, can tell from experience that this remedy can fight any skin problem one could think of. Turmeric armors and boosts skin health with its antioxidative nature which also prevents the sagging of skin that indicates pre-mature ageing.
Here’s a 2016 study which tells that turmeric can boost the overall look of the skin, whether ingested orally or applied topically.
5. Turmeric – for Digestive health
For ages, in the Indian subcontinent, turmeric has been used to cure bloating, flatulence and indigestion.
More so, Ayurveda identifies turmeric to completely heal inflammation in the digestive tract and solve problems of indigestion.
Scientists and nutrionists recommend the consumption of turmeric with pepper, ginger or nano curcumin oil etc for its maximum absorption.
So, isn’t Turmeric a health wonder?