Turmeric powder has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine for centuries, although that is not the only evidence we have of turmeric's remarkable healing properties. Modern medicine has not only proven the claims of traditional medicine, but has found even more health benefits.
- Turmeric has some of the strongest anti-inflammatory properties in the natural world, as anyone who suffers from arthritis or rheumatism, and uses turmeric will tell you.
- It may also reduce your chances of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and has been shown to reduce the incidence of cancer in a couple of different ways.
- Turmeric might help with depression, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
Let’s have a closer look at turmeric powder….
Curcumin – a surprisingly potent ingredient
The key to all the health benefits of turmeric is curcumin, the chemical that makes turmeric the bright ochre colour it is. However, it’s not just a pretty face. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, with many scientifically proven benefits for our health.
- Research has found that the curcumin in turmeric may assist in reducing inflammation and oxidative damage, preventing heart disease and diabetes, reducing anxiety, alleviating the painful symptoms of arthritis, as well as relieving post-workout inflammation and associated muscle soreness. Many people like to take it as a general health tonic to maintain good health.
Fortunately, you only need a little curcumin a day to reap all the benefits. You can include in when preparing meals, or take it as a tea. A combination of lemon juice, crushed garlic, turmeric, a pinch of pepper, and honey in warm water is a variation on a traditional tonic that should keep you healthy, happy and smiling.
The major active ingredient in turmeric is a chemical called curcumin. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and may assist in preventing heart disease and diabetes, and relieving anxiety and the painful symptom of arthritis.
Could provide arthritis relief
The curcumin in turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and there are many studies which show a direct correlation between ingestion of turmeric and reduction in arthritis symptoms.
- In fact, in one clinical study on 45 patients, curcumin was found to be significantly better than a common ingredient in osteoarthritis medication. Another study demonstrated how curcumin slowed the development of osteoarthritis and reduced the associated symptoms.
Another form of arthritis is gout, and turmeric has been found to relieve this extremely painful condition. A 2013 study found the curcumin in turmeric significantly relieved inflammation in their patients. It is thought to do this by blocking the particular protein responsible for the inflammation connected with having gout.
You can take turmeric powder in three different ways to help with gout.
- Firstly, you can include it in your cooking. It goes well in curries, soups, smoothies and sauces.
- Secondly, you can apply it directly to the skin over the effective area. There isn’t much scientific evidence that this works, but there is a great amount of anecdotal evidence that it helps. Simply add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to 2 tablespoons of yoghurt or honey. Mix thoroughly then apply to the affected area – very, very gently. Leave on for about 10 to 15 minutes before washing off.
- Finally, you can drink it as a tea, or in stirred into a glass of water.
In order to reap these benefits, it is recommended you take the equivalent of 500mg of turmeric powder twice a day for rheumatoid arthritis, and up to 600mg three times a day for osteoarthritis. There is no recommended dosage for gout, but around the same amount should bring some relief.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric and is responsible for relieving the pain and inflammation of arthritis and gout. People with arthritis should take between 500 mg and 600 mg of turmeric powder a day to reduce inflammation and pain.
May prevent heart disease
Turmeric powder can contribute to heart health in three significant ways.
- First, the powerful antioxidants in turmeric fight the free radicals which damage and destroy healthy cells and tissue in our body. This can lead to signs of early ageing, but also more serious conditions such as heart disease.
There are many types of antioxidants, but one of the functions they have in common is to seek and destroy these free radicals, thereby keeping our internal organs healthy and protected from danger.
- Secondly, one of the main causes of heart disease is damage to the lining of our blood vessels, which may have serious repercussions, such as creating an inability to regulate blood pressure. In a study on 39 participants aged 45 and over, the curcumin in turmeric was found to strengthen the lining of blood vessels and ensure it functioned properly.
- Finally, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric help protect the heart. There is another study whereby 121 patients who had undergone coronary bypass surgery were given curcumin which the researchers concluded greatly reduced the incidence of heart attacks amongst post-surgery patients.
There is also some evidence that taking turmeric powder on a daily basis can help prevent the build-up of plaque in our arteries, known as atherosclerosis.
Turmeric powder may protect our heart from oxidative damage, prevent clogged arteries, and strengthen blood vessels. Its anti-inflammatory properties also protect our heart and reduce the chances of heart attack.
Might prevent cancer
Turmeric powder is also a powerful ally against cancer. For instance, a 2019 study found that the curcumin in turmeric showed the most promise as an anti-cancer substance, especially bowel, lung, skin, stomach, and breast cancers.
Turmeric tackles cancer in three different ways.
- It attacks and helps cancerous cells.
- It prevents new blood vessels from forming in cancerous tumours, thereby reducing nourishment for the tumour.
- It helps reduce the spread of cancerous cells.
There is even some evidence that turmeric can help prevent cancer from forming in the first place. Evidence to lend some support to this statement was discovered when researchers studied pre-cancerous lesions in the colons of 44 men. Just 4 grams of turmeric a day equated to a 40% reduction in lesions over a 30-day period.
Furthermore, curcumin is believed to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy and also to protect healthy cells from the harmful effects of radiation therapy.
To conclude, we DON’T recommend turmeric, or curcumin, as a replacement for prescribed medical treatment or medication. However, we do suggest it might be wise to consult your doctor about taking turmeric powder IN CONJUNCTION with any treatments you are undergoing.
Turmeric powder has been found to attack and kill cancerous cells, cease the formation of blood vessels in tumours, reduce the spread of cancerous cells and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy. And while there is evidence to support these claims, more human studies need to take place.
Might prevent Alzheimer’s disease
Studies have shown a positive relationship between turmeric powder and the relief of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
- One way turmeric may help prevent Alzheimer’s is due its antioxidants which help reduce oxidative damage to internal cells and tissue. It further reduces inflammation in the brain, although the exact mechanics of how this happens is not yet known.
- Secondly, research published in 2014 states that a bioactive compound in turmeric promotes the growth of new brain cells and might therefore be valuable in the battle against Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.
- Turmeric powder has demonstrated an ability to reverse some of the behavioural symptoms of Alzheimer’s such as anxiety, apathy, and irritation, and in two cases (out of 3), they were able to recognise their family after a year of taking turmeric powder.
It has also been found to improve memory and cognitive function in middle-aged people who show no signs of dementia. This means turmeric could be useful in the prevention of the onset of dementia, and Alzheimer’s, although more tests need to be conducted.
Turmeric has been shown to reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the brain, and encourage the growth of new brain cells. It may also help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, though more testing is needed.
Could relieve depression
Research into turmeric’s effect on depression is still in its infancy, although the results are very encouraging.
Curcumin, and its tremendous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, are once again to thank. There is a known link between inflammation and depression. In fact, it is thought they form a kind of vicious circle, with each one further aggravating the other.
A 2017 review found that turmeric may well be a safe way to treat both conditions.
There is evidence to suggest that chronic inflammation may be responsible for the inhibition of two hormones responsible for helping us to feel good. It’s easy to see how suppressing those hormones might make us feel depressed. So apart from clearing up the inflammation, turmeric is also freeing the release of our happy hormones.
Again, while turmeric may be successful at treating mild cases of depression, we always recommend talking to a medical professional before introducing any herbal preparation into your life.
Although, there’s nothing wrong with using it in your cooking, and every little bit helps.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric contribute to the reduction of inflammation, which is thought to be at least partly responsible, in some cases, for depression. By doing this, turmeric is also clearing the very thing that blocks serotonin and dopamine – our happy chemicals.
May prevent and treat diabetes
Turmeric powder maybe able to treat diabetes and even prevent it. Researchers concluded after reviewing relevant medical literature, that the curcumin in turmeric powder has the ability to reduce the amount of blood glucose. It was also found to have remarkable effects on other diabetes 2 symptoms, leading the researchers to state that curcumin may play a significant role in the prevention of diabetes.
- The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin are also responsible for lowering the levels of oxidative damage and inflammation linked to diabetes. Furthermore, they also help reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood, and help prevent insulin resistance, two factors associated with the onset of diabetes.
A study published in 2012 relating to research on people with pre-diabetes found that those who took curcumin over a 9-month period were more unlikely to go on to develop Type 2 diabetes than the people taking a placebo. In the same study, the researchers discovered that curcumin also helped the pancreas to improve insulin production.
Finally, by adding turmeric powder to your daily diet to help manage diabetes, you are also helping to prevent heart disease as research has found that a person with Type 2 diabetes has a greater chance of developing heart disease.
The curcumin found in turmeric powder has been found to help prevent or slow down the onset of Type 2 diabetes in people diagnosed with pre-diabetes. It does this by lowering inflammation, oxidative damage, reducing cholesterol, improve insulin production and prevent insulin resistance.
What happens if you take turmeric powder every day?
Since there have been no long-term studies on the effects of taking turmeric daily, there isn’t a definitive answer to this question. However, using turmeric powder in cooking or taken as a tea is considered a safe daily amount. The World Health Organisation states that “1.4 mg per pound of body weight” is an adequate amount to take – 1 pound being roughly half a kilogram.
Can turmeric burn belly fat?
Turmeric has been found to reduce weight in few ways. Its powerful anti-inflammatory properties are well-proven to relieve internal inflammation, a common cause of obesity. Furthermore, the curcumin in turmeric can regulate blood sugar levels, which has the effect of reducing the chances of developing insulin resistance. It can also increase bile production, which means a greater amount of dietary fat is broken down. And finally, it has been found to restrict the growth of fat cells.
Who should not take turmeric powder?
While turmeric has amazing health benefits, there are cases where medical professionals recommend no intake of turmeric. These people include those with arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), bleeding disorders such as haemophilia, diabetes, gallbladder problems, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), iron deficiency, or liver disease. Furthermore, women who are pregnant, or anyone planning to have surgery should not take turmeric.
How long does it take for turmeric to start working?
While the effects of turmeric powder depend on the height and weight of the person taking it, 2008 research suggests health benefits should be noticeable from between 4 to 8 weeks of having started taking it. However, it also depends on why you are taking turmeric, as some conditions will take longer than others to get under control.
Does turmeric need pepper to be absorbed?
It is the curcumin in turmeric that is not very well absorbed into the bloodstream. Therefore, adding a little black pepper to anything with turmeric will greatly assist its absorption into your body so you can enjoy the benefits. In fact, a 2017 study found that when combined with black pepper, curcumin (turmeric) has its ability to be absorbed increased by a whopping 2000%. And you only need a small pinch of pepper for this to happen.
What is turmeric powder good for?
Turmeric contains very potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories which have many and varied health benefits. Not only can it be beneficial for heart health, brain health and the health of our other organs, but is has been proven to stop the growth of tumours and kill cancer cells, as well as help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. It fights against arthritis and depression, as well as ageing and age-related degenerative conditions. It is useful in fat burning, and can be used internally and externally for clear skin.
Turmeric powder and the curcumin within have been used for centuries in traditional medicine. Modern science has gone a long way to investigate why this is so, and is slowing uncovering the many health benefits of this golden rhizome. Of which there are many.
In this article, we have looked at some of the major ways in which it helps us, although there are many more we haven’t discussed, and probably many more we have yet to discover.
In closing, we would just like to reiterate that while the health benefits of turmeric powder are pretty amazing, we do not support ignoring a medical professional’s advice, and we do recommend checking with your doctor before taking turmeric in larger than normal, everyday doses.
We would also like to remind you that a little bit of black pepper will enhance the benefits of turmeric.
What do YOU take turmeric for?