Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric

Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric

What can turmeric do you for you? A lot, apparently. The superfood – or superspice, rather – may help with diabetes, heart health, eczema and psoriasis, pain relief and so much more.
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This vibrant yellowish-orange root is a natural wonder. Used in Asia for thousands of years both as a dye and for medicinal purposes, turmeric has also been and still is a cooking staple (its hue makes curry and mustard, yellow). Originating from the same family as ginger, the most active element in turmeric is curcumin, and is where most of this golden spice gets its long list of healing properties. To get more details about the impressive health benefits of this spice, we turned to Joy McCarthy, certified holistic nutritionist and founder of Joyous Health to get the scoop.

Fights Inflammation
“Turmeric’s biggest claim to fame is that it’s super anti-inflammatory,” explains McCarthy. Chronic inflammation has been shown to cause diseases including cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and more. One study done on curcumin found it had significant anti-inflammatory properties, powerful enough to match the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs.

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Packed with Antioxidants
Another big bonus of turmeric is its antioxidants. Antioxidants help us fight free radicals, and excessive amounts can be damaging to our DNA and cells. Curcumin is the key component in turmeric offering its antioxidant powers. Studies have shown it’s extremely effective in both fighting free radicals and boosting the body’s antioxidant enzymes.

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Regulates Mood
There’s definitely hope that turmeric can help to regulate mood, including the treatment of depressive disorders. A 2014 study tested the efficacy of curcumin with a common antidepressant, fluoxetine, shares McCarthy. Individuals were either given 1,000 milligrams of curcumin and 20 milligrams of fluoxetine individually or combined, and found 1,000 milligrams of curcumin can be used to treat patients exclusively suffering with major depressive disorder.

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Improves Your Complexion
The health benefits of turmeric extend beyond internal health. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric can also boost the complexion when applied topically, boosting radiance and controlling oily skin. Unfortunately the answer isn’t slathering it directly onto your face, as it can stain skin yellow, instead look for a product that incorporates it, like Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque, $47, available at Kiehl’s stores at kiehls.ca).

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Balances Blood Sugar
“The blood sugar balancing effects of turmeric make it a great option for those with type-1 or type-2 diabetes,” says McCarthy. “It helps to lower blood-sugar levels and fight insulin resistance.” One tasty way to incorporate it into your day is on food and drinks. McCarthy’s favourite is her Turmeric Ginger Tea recipe. Look for fresh and ideally certified organic turmeric.

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Reduces Joint Pain
We’ve already told you that turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s no surprise it may help to reduce joint pain. A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine had 107 subjects with knee osteoarthritis take either curcumin or ibuprofen for their pain. The researchers found that curcumin is comparable to the drug for dealing with pain relief and improved function.

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Detoxifies the Body
The body naturally gets rid of waste, mostly with the help of the liver. But some experts feel you can help the process. “Turmeric helps support our organ’s natural detoxification systems,” explains McCarthy. “It does this by thinning the bile. This allows the bile to flow more freely through the intestines and eliminate it from the body.”

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Boosts the Immune System
A strong immunity can help your body better fight off germs and viruses. Turmeric has been shown to increase the immunity-boosting proteins in the body. Consider whipping up a batch of curry soup and be sure to top with some black pepper, which has been shown to help the body’s absorption of curcumin.

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