Turmeric is a plant in the same family as ginger, originating in India and Indonesia. Once dried, the roots of turmeric are turned into a powder, also called turmeric, used as a spice.
Turmeric root powder is the main ingredient in curry, the famous Indian spice blend used in various dishes originating from this cuisine. Besides being widely used in the kitchen, this powder is also known for its medicinal properties, mainly for having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action.
One thing to watch out for when buying turmeric is that it can also be called turmeric, but we should not confuse it with turmeric.
Turmeric (or turmeric) is an orange powder sold in sachets or in bulk at supermarkets and fairs, at a generally affordable price. Saffron, in turn, is a red powder, sold in specialized emporiums and with a much higher price.
Discover some of the main benefits of turmeric proven by science and learn how to use this spice in your daily life:
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1. Anti-inflammatory Effects
Although inflammation is a process that helps our body fight harmful microorganisms and foreign particles, it can cause serious problems when it becomes chronic.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with a strong anti-inflammatory power. This component acts on cellular mechanisms and can block processes related to diseases associated with chronic inflammation, such as several types of cancer, metabolic syndrome and Alzheimer's disease (1).
2. Antioxidant Properties
Free radicals are components that react with fatty acids, proteins and DNA itself, causing oxidation. This process leads to damage that is related to aging and the onset of many diseases, including cancer.
Curcumin present in turmeric helps to counteract the action of free radicals in two ways: its chemical structure can neutralize these harmful molecules and it also stimulates the proper functioning of our body's antioxidant mechanisms (2, 3).
3. Protection of brain functions
Some studies have shown that curcumin can increase brain levels of the hormone BDNF, which is responsible for the formation of new connections between neurons and also for the development of new cells of this type (4).
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BDNF deficiency seems to be involved with a greater tendency to develop depression and Alzheimer's disease (5, 6). In this way, turmeric can help combat these diseases, as well as other aging-related conditions.
4. Reduction of heart disease risk
Curcumin has a positive effect on the endothelium, the cell layer that internally lines the chambers of the heart, arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels, contributing to the regulation of blood pressure and coagulation (7).
In addition, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of this substance are also important factors in preventing heart disease.
5. Cancer Prevention and Fight
For different cancers, research indicates that curcumin can prevent and even treat some tumors through various mechanisms of action. For treatment, there are studies suggesting that this substance may reduce the growth of a tumor and its molecular spread (8).
In addition, evidence was found that this component could reduce metastasis (when cancer spreads) and prevent the development of blood vessels in the tumor, in order to contribute to the destruction of this malignant cell mass (9).
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In the field of prevention, the researchers noted that daily consumption of 4 grams of curcumin is related to a 40% reduction in the number of benign lesions located in the large intestine that could become colon cancer (10).
6. Relief of Arthritis Symptoms
The beneficial effect of turmeric on inflammatory processes also contributes to relieving the symptoms of arthritis, which is inflammation of the joints.
In rheumatoid arthritis patients, the use of curcumin was even more efficient than traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, relieving stiffness and swelling (11).
7. Fighting depression
Among other factors, depression is related to a reduction in BNDF hormone levels and shrinkage of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in learning and memory.
Some studies show that curcumin can raise BNDF levels, which would help reverse these disease-related changes (12). In addition, this substance can also improve the action of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters linked to feelings of well-being and relaxation (13).
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How to use turmeric or turmeric
As turmeric is one of the most important ingredients in curry, one of the easiest ways to use it in your daily life is to add this spice to your dishes. It combines with red meat, chicken, sauces, soups, rice and cooked vegetables.
If you prefer to use pure turmeric, made from the root, you should just regulate the amount as it is very spicy and its flavor will stand out from the others. This spice just doesn't go very well with very light flavored candies and recipes.
You can also use this powder to make an infusion: add 1 tsp of turmeric to 150 ml of boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes before taking. It is recommended to drink 3 cups a day between meals.
In addition, turmeric can also be used to make a gel with anti-inflammatory properties. To do this, mix 1 tablespoon aloe vera with half a teaspoon of the powder and apply to skin inflammations such as psoriasis.
Despite all its benefits, turmeric is not recommended for patients who have gallstones or are taking anticoagulant medications. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, always consult your physician before starting to use any substance for therapeutic purposes.
7 Ways To Use Turmeric - Saturday Strategy (August 2021)