You might be familiar with turmeric as that ginger-like herb that gives color and flavor to Asian food. Chances are you might have also used it in its powdered form. While turmeric powder is extensively used for a number of purposes, turmeric root is said to be quite beneficial for health. However, most of these benefits are still being researched and there isn’t enough conclusive proof yet.
If you’re wondering what makes turmeric root so healthy, here are 4 reasons why turmeric root may be great for you.
1. Improves Digestion
Turmeric root is rich in an antioxidant called curcumin. This antioxidant is said to stimulate the production of bile in the gall bladder, improving digestion. This function of curcumin makes turmeric root suitable for treating indigestion and reducing bloating and gas.1 Not just that, it could also temporarily ease the symptoms of a chronic disease called ulcerative colitis, which causes inflammation of the digestive tract. In mild cases, turmeric may also aid in the treatment of stomach ulcers. However, high doses should be avoided to prevent counter effects.
2. Maintains Heart Health
Turmeric root, thanks to its abundant curcumin, is said to prevent platelets from forming blood clots in artery walls. It may also prevent atherosclerosis by reducing the buildup of plaque, which blocks arteries. Animal studies have revealed that curcumin in turmeric extract reduces the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.2 This could prevent the occurrence of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. However, more studies need to be conducted to confirm these findings in humans.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Curcumin, which is the primary active ingredient in turmeric root, contributes to its anti-inflammatory effects. It does this by reducing the activity of two enzymes that are responsible for inflammation in the body. This makes turmeric root a possible choice for easing the symptoms of illnesses that affect your joints and muscles like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.3 However, further research is required to confirm this possibility.
4. May Prevent Cancer
Turmeric root possesses antioxidant properties thanks to the presence of curcumin. These properties are responsible for turmeric’s ability to eliminate molecules called free radicals, which cause cell and DNA damage. The lower the number of free radicals in your body, the lower your risk of acquiring cancer.
Various animal and test tube studies show that turmeric root may be beneficial in the treatment of different kinds of cancer such as pancreatic, gastric, prostate, breast, and oral cancers.4 However, more research needs to be conducted for the confirmation of the same effect in humans.
Apart from these benefits, research suggests that turmeric root may also help some forms of depression.5 The curcumin in it is said to improve the activity of two mood-influencing substances in the body called serotonin and dopamine. However, further research is required to confirm these results.
If you find the root difficult to obtain and use, you could try turmeric root powder or turmeric essential oil.
Tips For Use
- Stick to fresh turmeric root as much as possible. You should be able to get it at grocery stores.
- Ensure that you wear gloves when you handle the fresh root because it tends to stain.
- You could either cut the root into small pieces and eat it just like that or add it to your food.
- Wrap unused turmeric root in a paper towel and store it in your refrigerator.
Consume the root in doses of a maximum of 1.5–3 g daily. Talk to your doctor before you consume it as turmeric may react with other medicines you might be taking.
|↑1||Turmeric. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑2||Ramırez-Tortosa, M. C., M. D. Mesa, M. C. Aguilera, J. L. Quiles, L. Baro, C. L. Ramirez-Tortosa, E. Martinez-Victoria, and A. Gil. “Oral administration of a turmeric extract inhibits LDL oxidation and has hypocholesterolemic effects in rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis.” Atherosclerosis 147, no. 2 (1999): 371-378.|
|↑3||Curcumin. Oregon State University.|
|↑4||Jurenka, Julie S. “Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research.” Alternative medicine review 14, no. 2 (2009).|
|↑5||Sanmukhani, Jayesh, Vimal Satodia, Jaladhi Trivedi, Tejas Patel, Deepak Tiwari, Bharat Panchal, Ajay Goel, and Chandra Bhanu Tripathi. “Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial.” Phytotherapy research 28, no. 4 (2014): 579-585.|