Turmeric is a staple of diets in India and other parts of Asia, but it’s not quite as well known in the United States. But maybe it’s time that should change, because the health benefits of turmeric are plentiful.
Whether you mix it into a tea, into a dish or use in supplement form, the positive effects of turmeric are well documented. These are just a few benefits of turmeric, and some of the reasons why you might want to consider adding it to your favorite tea or food.
What is Turmeric?
Before discussing the many benefits of turmeric, let’s take a minute or two to go into exactly what it is.
Turmeric is a plant that grows not only in Asia but also Central America. It has been used in Asian medicine for many different health conditions. One of its more common uses is as a spice. And it’s a key ingredient in curry powder, which is wildly popular in India. The stem of the turmeric plant is typically dried and then used in tea and supplements.1
A lot of health benefits are associated with the use of turmeric.
These mainly come from the active ingredient in the plant, which is known as curcumin.
The benefits of turmeric are backed by solid scientific evidence.
Here are just a few:
1. It Might Help to Battle Blood Clots
Your blood needs to clot, or “coagulate,” or else you wouldn’t be able to stop bleeding — even from a tiny paper cut! But that same life-saving blood clotting could also be dangerous. For instance, if your blood clots somewhere it’s not supposed to, that clot can travel to places like your lungs — which could be fatal.2
The process behind clotting is known as “platelet aggregation,” which is basically the build-up of platelets in your blood that can stop blood flow. When too many platelets accumulate, that leads to a clot.3 There is evidence that one of the benefits of turmeric is that it can help to reduce platelet aggregation.4
It’s also believed that curcumin plays a role in reducing blood clots. Research suggests that curcumin can help inhibit the formation of thromboxanes, which are essential to the formation of clots.5
2. It Can Boost Your Mood
Have you ever had one of those days where you just feel like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Well, studies show turmeric can help with lifting your mood!
Two studies supported the findings on the effects of curcumin on emotional health. One involved 56 patients, while the other involved 108 participants. Both studies found that the use of curcumin helped improve the participants’ mood.6,7
3. Your Skin May Glow
Now, did you know turmeric has strong antioxidant properties as well? Antioxidants help to protect your body from oxidative stress, which can lead to major health problems.8,9
One of the benefits of turmeric is that its antioxidant properties could help improve the appearance of your skin. It has also been shown that the antioxidant effects of this spice include helping wounds heal faster and helping reduce the development of blemishes.10,11
4. It May Ease Joint Discomfort
Millions of people suffer agonizing discomfort arising from a variety of joint issues. Yet another of the health benefits of turmeric is that it could help ease that discomfort.
A group of 45 people who suffer from joint problems participated in a study aimed at analyzing the effects of curcumin on joint discomfort. The results showed that curcumin had a substantial effect on reducing their discomfort. These results have spurred other scientists into determining whether the use of turmeric could help support other aspects of joint health.12
Another analysis of several clinical trials showed that taking supplements containing turmeric could help your joints feel better.13
5. It Maintains Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
This spice could also help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Researchers found that curcumin is extremely effective in helping to activate a key enzyme known as AMP-activated protein kinase — or AMPK.14
The reason this is so important is that researchers believe AMPK activation can help to reduce your body’s resistance to insulin.15 Insulin resistance isn’t good for your body, or your waistline, so it’s important to eat a healthy diet to keep your blood sugars at normal levels — and adding some more turmeric to your diet definitely wouldn’t hurt!
Of all the potential health benefits associated with turmeric, this is one of the most important.
6. It Reduces the Risk of Obesity
The effects of turmeric could include helping to fight obesity. This is yet another of the most exciting health benefits of the spice since so many people around the world deal with this issue on a daily basis. One study showed that curcumin could help stop fat cells from forming in the first place.16
7. It Benefits Digestive Issues
Many people feel the effects of digestive problems regularly. The benefits of turmeric are amazing, of course. But one of the most important may its ability to help sufferers of certain digestive issues manage their symptoms.
Researchers took a detailed look at several studies analyzing the effects of curcumin on people suffering from bowel irritation. They found that participants who used curcumin were much less likely to suffer a relapse than those who didn’t.17
Wrapping it Up
In the end, a lot of health benefits are associated with turmeric. And this amazing spice can be used in a lot of ways. You can simply sprinkle this powerful antioxidant into a tea, or use it in a wide variety of delicious dishes.
So, if you are interested in taking advantage of the benefits of turmeric, talk to your doctor to make sure it will be completely safe to do so.
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