If you’re looking to add a little spice to your life, you can’t go wrong with turmeric. The beautiful, golden-colored plant extract has been used for thousands of years in Indian and Chinese medicine because of its healing potential. Extracted from the root of a turmeric plant, turmeric spice has a warm and bitter taste and is used frequently in Asian cooking.
But it’s the medicinal qualities that make turmeric, or Curcuma longa, one of the most sought-after spices in the world. The turmeric health benefits are largely derived from its most active ingredient, curcumin. More than 6,500 scientific papers have been published on curcumin’s healing properties.
You may have heard of turmeric and curcumin before, but you might not be aware of the different ways they can help your body. Here are five turmeric benefits that make it a wonder spice:
1. Fights inflammation on the molecular level
Curcumin has long been lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s able to target numerous sources of inflammation at the molecular level. It may even work as well as or better than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) at fighting inflammation. For example, a study published in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that turmeric extract worked as well as Ibuprofen to treat osteoarthritis of the knee. Similarly, in a 2012 pilot study, a curcumin product reduced joint pain and swelling in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis better than an NSAID, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
2. Boosts brain hormones
Curcumin may be one of the most important types of brain food at man’s disposal. An entire field of study is devoted to nootropics — or “smart supplements” meant to improve brain power in healthy individuals. Many nootropics feature curcumin as a key ingredient because of its ability to help with concentration, memory and focus.
Curcumin may also prevent neurodegeneration by raising the body’s levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein that promotes the survival of nerve cells (neurons) — critical to cognitive function. A study on obese mice published in 2014 in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism suggests that curcumin can raise and restore BDNF levels when they are lacking. This has key implications for brain-related diseases and the damage done to the brain by aging.
3. Battles free radicals
Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant. Molecules in the body known as free radicals can damage your DNA and cause cellular damage or cellular death. Because of its ability to fight free radicals, curcumin is thought to play an important role against pathological conditions such as cancer and neurodegenerative disease. (1)
4. Stabilizes mood and fights depression
Some research suggests that curcumin can boost the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These neurotransmitters can stabilize and elevate your mood. Recent research has even shown that curcumin may safely and effectively treat depression. A 2013 study published in Phytotherapy Research showed that curcumin could be as effective at treating MDD (major depressive disorder) in patients as a generic form of Prozac — without the unpleasant side effects that can accompany SSRI medications.
5. Helps protect against illnesses such as heart disease and cancer
As mentioned before, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties may help it fight a variety of diseases, including cancer and heart disease. One study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition found that supplementation with curcumin improved oxidative and inflammatory status for patients with metabolic syndrome — a cluster of symptoms that can increase the risk of heart disease. And according to the esteemed Mayo Clinic: “Laboratory and animal research suggests that curcumin may prevent cancer, slow the spread of cancer, make chemotherapy more effective and protect healthy cells from damage by radiation therapy. “
Side effects: Turmeric does not typically have severe side effects. The most common include an upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea and dizziness.
Dosages: Turmeric dosages can vary widely, depending on if you are consuming the plant, dried root or a standardized powder. Turmeric’s key ingredient, curcumin, in notoriously poorly absorbed. Curcumin can be quickly excreted from the body before even reaching the necessary tissues and organs. That’s why Nordic Clinical’s CurcuActiv supplement contains a revolutionary form of curcumin called LONGVIDA®. It was developed by neuroscientists at a leading research university to overcome curcumin’s absorption issues. That means your body can benefit more fully from Turmeric’s health-giving properties. To learn more about CurcuActiv, visit: https://nordicclinical.com/product/curcuactiv.