There’s more to this vibrant spice than meets the eye. Traditionally used in Indian cuisine, having a peppery, warm and bitter flavour, extensive studies on the health benefits of tumeric have been consistently positive.
There are lots of reasons to make tumeric part of your life. Tumeric’s health benefits and medicinal value come from its polyphenols: curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Bit of a mouthful but they are powerful compounds. Curcumin is probably the most studied at this stage but all three compounds give tumeric its medicinal properties.
These properties are:
- An effective anti inflammatory – making it very helpful in any chronic disease and as a preventative too.
- Tumeric’s antioxidants neutralise free radicals throughout the body (including your brain, liver, kidney and heart).
- It also adds to this benefit by encouraging the body to make its own antioxidant enzymes (excellent bonus).
- There is evidence curcumin intake may prevent cancer, especially in the digestive system (colon cancer).
- While it might be toxic to cancer cells, it is non-toxic to healthy cells.
- Curcumin may help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s – research is ongoing in this area.
- It can cross the blood-brain barrier and is proving helpful for improving memory.
There is a long list of health issues curcumin and the other compounds in tumeric are being shown to help. If you want to reach the higher therapeutic levels for a particular condition, you would need to use a nutritional supplement (preferably prescribed by a practitioner).
Tumeric is a root with so many benefits and it is truly worth making this wonderful, vibrant plant a regular part of your life.
Amanda Hunter ND