Ounce for ounce, turmeric may just be the most powerful nutritional supplement on the planet.
In this article I’ll show you why that is and how that can benefit your health.
Turmeric comes from the Curcuma longa plant. This plant, a close relative of the ginger plant, thrives in the hot, rainy climate of its native southwest India.
For thousands of years, the people of India have boiled the roots of the Curcuma longa plant, dried it, and ground it into a gorgeous golden powder.
We call this powder turmeric.
Turmeric has been used in traditional Indian and Ayurvedic medicine since ancient times. When used as a spice, turmeric gives Indian curry it’s distinctive yellow color and appetizingly spicy flavor.
But even if you’re not a fan of curry, chances are good you recently consumed turmeric and from a most surprising source…
Fun fact: In 1904, the R.T. French Company began adding turmeric as an ingredient in their “creamy salad mustard”.
Yep! Every time you give your burger, bratwurst or Ball Park frank a squirt of yellow mustard you’re also giving yourself a shot of turmeric!
The World’s Healthiest Food?
The secret to turmeric’s awesome health benefits is curcumin. This chemical compound, along with other helpful compounds known as curcuminoids, show up naturally in turmeric.
There have been thousands of scientific articles published documenting the ways that turmeric, and its primary component, curcumin, can improve just about every aspect of your health.
To give just a few examples, recent research has shown that curcumin can:
- Increase lifespan (1)
- Lower cholesterol levels (2)
- Lower risk of heart attack (3)
- Protect against many forms of cancer (4)
- Protect against age-related brain diseases (5)
10 Terrific Health Benefits of Turmeric
As I researched the health benefits of turmeric I was more than impressed… I was AMAZED!
Narrowing this list down to just 10 of turmeric’s proven health benefits wasn’t easy, but here are some of the ways turmeric can benefit your health:
1. Naturally Soothe Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is at the root of all of our modern diseases… especially “diseases of old age” including cancer, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s, metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
Although some inflammation is essential to our good health, when inflammation rages out of control (often as a result of environmental toxins or eating too many pro-inflammatory foods) our good health suffers.
And that’s where turmeric can help. In multiple studies, curcumin has been found to be strongly anti-inflammatory because it inhibits molecules that play a major role in causing chronic inflammation. (6)
Even better: Curcumin has been shown to be as potent as many anti-inflammatory drugs… WITHOUT the potentially dangerous side effects. (7)
2. Quickly Ease Aches and Pains
Do you reach for aspirin (Bayer, etc.) or ibuprofen (Advil, etc.) to relieve stiff, sore joints? You’d be better off swallowing a teaspoon of turmeric instead.
New research published in the journal Oncogene found that aspirin and ibuprofen are least potent when it comes to easing your aches and pains, while curcumin is among the most potent anti-inflammatory agents available. (8)
This means that turmeric can help you spring out of bed pain-free each morning… and could be far more effective at managing your chronic pain than the risky painkillers at your local drugstore.
3. Protection Against Alzheimer’s Disease
As we age, our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease shoots up.
Alzheimer’s is the most common neurodegenerative disease and, sadly, at this point no effective treatment for it exists. That’s one reason that prevention is so important.
Scientists and doctors agree that a major contributing factor to Alzheimer’s is chronic inflammation. So turmeric’s proven anti-inflammatory properties make it a smart choice.
But that’s not the only brain-protecting benefit turmeric has to offer.
One feature of Alzheimer’s disease is an accumulation of protein tangles in the brain known as Amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin is very effective at clearing away these plaques. (9)
Although more research is needed, the early evidence points to curcumin playing an important role in Alzheimer’s prevention.
4. Wow Your Friends with Younger, Smoother Skin
Curcumin protects your skin by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation through what’s known as nuclear factor-KB inhibition. It also has potent anti-bacterial properties, so it’s great for clearing up blemishes and acne. And that’s not all…
Curcumin can also improve the texture of your skin and (perhaps) smooth out wrinkles thanks to the positive effect it has on collagen. (10)
For younger, smoother skin ditch the over-priced cosmetics and skip the painful plastic surgery. A teaspoon of turmeric is a safer, more cost-effective alternative.
5. Powerful Cancer Protection
Cancer can and does strike people of all ages, but our likelihood of developing this dreaded disease increase as we get older.
New studies have shown that turmeric (specifically the curcumin found in turmeric) may be an “age old” remedy to this devastating “old age” disease, cancer.
Research published in the journal Cancer Letters showed that curcumin can interfere with metastasis (the growth of cancer cells) as well as contribute to the death of cancerous cells in a variety of cancers including leukemia and lymphoma, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, and gastrointestinal cancer. (11)
6. Relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
Here’s another case of turmeric proving better at relieving pain than prescription medications:
In a 2012 study, forty-five patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis were randomly placed into two groups with half receiving turmeric (as 500 mg curcumin) and half diclofenac sodium (50 mg).
At the end of the study, patients in both groups showed significant reduction in the swelling and tenderness associated with rheumatoid arthritis. But get this:
Patients in the curcumin group “showed the highest percentage of improvement […] and their scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group.” (12)
What’s more, curcumin treatment was found to be safe and didn’t result in any negative effects.
7. Promotes Improved Digestive Health
In Germany, doctors prescribe turmeric for digestive problems. The curcumin found in turmeric stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which can aid digestion.
And one double-blind, placebo-controlled study (the Gold Standard of scientific studies) found that turmeric reduced gas and bloating in people suffering from poor digestive health. (13)
8. Treatment for Diabetes
Turmeric has been used to treat diabetes in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. Here in the west, turmeric shows exciting potential as a treatment for diabetes.
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, could have a favorable effect on most of the key aspects of diabetes, including insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and islet apotosis and necrosis.
In addition, curcumin can help to treat negative complications of diabetes, including diabetic neuropathy, retinopathy and diabetes-associated liver disorders. (14)
9. Freedom from Depression
If you’ve ever known someone who has struggled with depression, then you know what a debilitating disease it can be.
Here’s some GOOD news: The main compound in turmeric, curcumin, shows great promise as a safe, effective anti-depressant.
In a randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers at the Government Medical College in Gujurat, India, 60 volunteers with major depressive disorder were divided into two groups.
For six weeks, one group received fluoxetine (Prozac) and the other group received 1,000 mg curcumin. At the end of the trial period both groups were significantly less depressed, with one key difference:
The curcumin group suffered none of the suicidal ideation, psychotic disorders or other negative symptoms that can be a side effect of Prozac and other pharmaceutical anti-depressants. (15)
10. A Longer, Healthier Life
When you consider turmeric’s proven ability to soothe inflammation, ease joint pain and protect against cancer… well, this just might be Nature’s true fountain of youth!
Let’s look now at how YOU can begin benefitting from all of the health benefits turmeric has to offer.
More Powerful Than Modern Medicine?
As you’ve seen, the health benefits of turmeric truly are terrific!
In fact, a growing mountain of scientific research suggests that turmeric could be as or more effective than the following drugs:
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (Ibuprofen)
- Anti-depressants (Prozac)
- OTC painkillers (Bayer)
- Arthritis medications (Diclofenac)
- Diabetes drugs
- Blood-thinners (Tylenol)
Does that mean you should toss out your Tylenol in favor of turmeric?
What it does mean is that, for many people, traditional medical approaches such as turmeric can very effectively complement more modern approaches to treatment and prevention.
But remember: Any health or medical changes you might consider making should be discussed with your doctor.
What’s an Effective Dosage?
The following dosages are recommend for adults: (16)
- Cut root: 1.5 to 3 g per day
- Dried, powdered root: 1 to 3 g per day
- Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 to 600 mg, 3 times per day
- Oil: ½ tablespoon of turmeric 3 times per day
Does Turmeric Have Any Side Effects?
Turmeric has been used since ancient times to treat sickness and promote health. And while it’s generally safe and well tolerated by most people, side effects are possible.
Taking large dosages of turmeric over a long period of time can lead to stomach upset and, in extreme cases, ulcers.
Because turmeric can have a thinning effect on the blood, you should stop taking turmeric at least 2 weeks before surgery. Tell your doctor or surgeon that you have been supplementing with turmeric.
You’ve just seen 10 of the ways turmeric can benefit your health. When it comes to a multi-purpose nutritional supplement turmeric is tough to beat!
For health and medicinal purposes, it’s easiest to take turmeric as a powder or in capsule form.
And because turmeric is a spice, don’t think twice about adding it to your favorite dishes: try it in soups, stews, smoothies and, my favorite, a delicious curry.
You can also try my Golden Milk Recipe to get the terrific health benefits of turmeric in a creamy, sweet drink!
Golden Milk Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes Serves: 2
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon coconut oil
- a pinch of cinnamon
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup water
- Pour almond milk and water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer
- Add in turmeric powder, ginger powder, coconut oil and cinnamon. Simmer for two minutes.
- Stir and pour into two coffee cups. Enjoy!
My favorite way to enjoy a tasty glass of Golden Milk is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
It gives you a nice boost of energy through the first half of your day (without the jitters that can come from coffee), plus it makes your mind as bright and clear as the new sunrise and floods your body with powerful antioxidants!
Your turn: Do you include turmeric as part of your diet?