Trendy Turmeric

You may have heard the recent buzz around turmeric root and its health benefits.  Well, it’s true; this stuff is seriously good for you! Although you may be familiar with turmeric as a popular Indian spice, this nutrient goes well beyond the kitchen.  It not only packs a serious punch of flavor, but also scores high points in nutritional value.

Turmeric, a dried powder derived from Curcuma Longa, possesses a unique phytonutrient called curcumin, which is the most extensively studied component of this spice.  Research has shown many health benefits to consuming turmeric root, most notably, its efficacy in supporting healthy levels of inflammation. Here’s what all the hype is about:

 

  • Inflammation – Research shows turmeric root may help to support healthy levels of inflammation by inhibiting enzymes within the inflammation pathway. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory activity was first demonstrated by a study conducted in 1971, which found that the effects of turmeric compared to that of hydrocortisone – a steroidal drug often prescribed for inflammation. More recent studies showed that turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties may help treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, postoperative inflammation and inflammatory bowel conditions.  No doubt, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory characteristics are something to brag about!

 

  • Cholesterol – Turmeric root may also help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. One study followed 10 healthy volunteers who received 500mg of curcumin daily for 7 days and the result was a 33% decrease in serum lipid peroxides, 29% increase in serum HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and nearly 12% decrease in total cholesterol. However, not only may turmeric be beneficial for healthy adults,another study followed patients with atherosclerosis (plaque build up in the arteries) who received 10mg of curcumin twice a day for 28 days and the results were lowered LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and increased HDL levels (good cholesterol).

 

  • Depression & Memory – A recent review of clinical trials found that curcumin may reduce depressive symptoms in patients with major depression. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that regular consumption of turmeric root has been associated with reduced cognitive function diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

 

  • Skin Health – Research has provided some clinical evidence that turmeric may be helpful in treating skin diseases and overall skin health when used both orally and topically. Since many unpleasant skin disorders are caused by bacterial infection, turmeric’s antibacterial properties may play a role in the treatment of bacterial and fungal skin conditions.

 

Health trends (like fashion!) come and go, but turmeric’s popularity has true staying power.  If we’ve piqued your interest, and you’re ready to give turmeric root a try, a good quality nutritional supplement may be just what you’re looking for. And who knows, you might even impress your friends for being so trendy.

 

 

 

References:

(1) Aggarawal, Bharat, B, Yuan Wei, Li Shiyou, Gupta, Subash C. Curcumin-free turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities: Identification of novel components of turmeric. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2013. Volume 57, 1529–1542.

(2) Al-Karawi, D, Al Mamoori DA, Tavyar Y. The role of curcumin administration in patients with major depressive disorder: Mini meta-analysis of clinical trials. Phytotherapy Research. 2016: Feb; 30(2):175-83.

(3) Nguyen Tyet A & Friedman, Adam J.  Curcumin: A novel treatment for skin-related disorders. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2013.12.10, 1131.

(4) Vaughn, Alexandra, Branum, Amy, Sivamani Raja. Effects of turmeric (curcuma longa) on skin health: A systematic review of the clinical evidence. Phytotheraphy Research. 2016. Volume 30, issue 8, 1243-1264.

(5) Wongcharoen, W & Phrommintikul A. The protective role of curcumin in cardiovascular disease. International Journal of Cardiology. 2009. Apr 3; 133(2): 145-51.