Turmeric, “the golden spice”, is a staple in India and surrounding regions. As of late, it’s becoming increasingly popular in western countries due to its versatility and healing benefits. It’s actually the star spice in curry powder.
Cousin to the ginger root, turmeric can help relieve gas, kill worms, improve digestion, regulate menstruation, dissolve gallstones, and relieve arthritis. It can also be used to treat problem skin and disinfect cuts, burns, and bruises.
Here are 5 other incredible benefits of this powerful spice.
6 Main Uses for Turmeric
Who knew this spice could do so much?
1. Liver Detoxifier
Curcumin, the most well-known compound in turmeric has many liver-healing and hepatoprotective abilities. In on study, researchers found that fermented turmeric could treat mild to moderately elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, which can signify liver damage and/or dysfunction.
According to the scientific journal Liver International “The curcumin ability to inhibit several factors like nuclear factor-kappaB, which modulates several proinflammatory and profibrotic cytokines as well as its anti-oxidant properties, provide a rational molecular basis to use it in hepatic disorders.
Curcumin attenuates liver injury induced by ethanol, thioacetamide, iron overdose, cholestasis and acute, subchronic and chronic carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)) intoxication; moreover, it reverses CCl(4) cirrhosis to some extent.”
The spice is also beneficial in the treatment of jaundice and other liver problems.
2. Fights Fat
Your body contains two types of fat: brown fat and white fat. White fat stores energy while brown fat burns energy to produce heat. While brown fat improves health, white fat increases the risk of disease and is a sign of living an unhealthy lifestyle.
Curcumin enhances the expression of brown fat specific genes to support weight loss and improve brown fat/white fat ratio.
It also stimulates the production of new mitochondria by increases fatty acid oxidation, increasing protein levels of hormone-sensitive lipase and p-acyl-CoA carboxylase and increases the activity AMP-activated protein kinase.
These activities break down existing fat, suppress the production of new fat, and improves metabolism. As such, turmeric is a safe and effective weight loss booster.
3. Boosts the Immune System
Curcumin has the ability to modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells to improve immune function. It can also stop the expression of various proinflammatory cytokines including TNF, IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12, and chemokines.
Plus, turmeric contains antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal compounds.
4. Reduces Inflammation
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory comparable in efficacy to drugs like hydrocortisone, phenylbutazone, or ibuprofen.
However, turmeric is much safer than these drugs and has nearly no side-effects.
Turmeric can even treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease as well as inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
5. Cancer Prevention
Turmeric has the ability to kill cancer cells and stop the progression of precancerous cells into cancerous cells.
It’s particularly powerful against breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.
Turmeric is also given as a complementary medicine for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. More studies are currently underway to determine how turmeric works and how to use it in cancer treatment.
6. Reduces Cholesterol Level
Studies show that small doses of turmeric have a positive effect on total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride in acute coronary syndrome patients.
Curcumin, in part, increases the production of mRNA to create more LDL-receptors, which allows liver cells to clear more LDL-cholesterol from the body.
Top Ways to Add Turmeric to Your Diet
Now that you know why you should eat more turmeric, here’s how to do it. Just make sure to combine the spice with some coconut oil and black pepper to improve absorption and bioavailability.
Smoothies: Incorporate ½ – 1 teaspoon of turmeric to your favorite fruit or veggie-based smoothies. Tumeric compliments kale, spinach, pineapple, mango, ginger, and coconut milk really well.
Tea: grating fresh turmeric or using a teaspoon or two the dried stuff makes for a healing and nutritious tea. Combine it with fresh lemon juice, raw honey, cinnamon or ginger to make it even better. You can also try making golden milk.
Season vegetables: turmeric brings out the flavors of sweet potatoes, greens, cauliflower, and broccoli.
Yellow Mustard: Turmeric is used in mustard to give it a bright yellow color, so use mustard more often to season meats, make salad dressing, and spread on sandwiches.
Eggs: Season scrambled, poached, hard-boiled, over-easy and omelets with this magical spice to make them pop. You can also add the spice to egg salad.
Soups: Brighten up a homemade chicken soup with turmeric to heal a cold and improve immune response.
Rice: Give your rice a bit of color by adding some turmeric to boiling water before placing in the rice.
Curry: turmeric is what’s gives curry its bright color and rich texture, so indulge in this warming food at least once a week.