Turmeric in tagalog is Luyang Dilaw – a bright yellow-orange spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in sauces and curries; however, turmeric has also been used for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and medical properties for centuries.
Recently, turmeric has been touted as a super food that can decrease blood glucose levels, fight cancer, ease arthritis, fight depression, and more. In this article, we discuss the health benefits of turmeric, what its potential side effects are, who should be taking it, and ways to add turmeric to your diet.
Health Benefits Luyang Dilaw or Turmeric
Here are the top 7 health benefits of turmeric.
- It can decrease blood glucose levels, make diabetes more manageable, and prevent other diabetes-related complications. Several studies suggest that curcumin – turmeric’s active component – can decrease blood glucose levels and prevent other diabetes-related complications. Researchers also found that curcumin may help prevent diabetes. The research further reveals that turmeric extract can help stabilize blood glucose levels and make diabetes more manageable. It can also provide general health benefits, such as helping with digestion. Turmeric extracts can be found in over-the-counter supplements. Another research also shows that because curcumin can keep blood glucose levels steady and help fight inflammation, it could be a powerful tool to prevent and/or treat type 2 diabetes. One study that followed adults with prediabetes found that taking a curcumin supplement lowered their risk of developing diabetes.
- It can help reduce chronic inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s immune system responding to threats or irritants; it is a normal and healthy bodily reaction. However, chronic inflammation can increase your risk for certain diseases, including heart disease, stroke, obesity, and Alzheimer’s. That’s why you need to do everything that you can to reduce inflammation, including eating more fruits and vegetables. You should also consider using herbs known to fight inflammatory responses and specific spices, like turmeric. Curcumin is one of the main anti-inflammatory components of turmeric. Research reveals that it is as effective as some over-the-counter medications in reducing inflammation in the body.
- t can help ease depression. Research shows that taking curcumin, an active compound in turmeric, can help ease depression. Curcumin scavenges free radicals that cause inflammation; in turn, this can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Recent studies have established a link between depression and chronic inflammation; however, it is still unclear whether inflammation causes depression or vice versa. Nonetheless, studies suggest that depression and chronic inflammation aggravate one another. It is thought that antioxidants like curcumin can help relieve the symptoms of depression by fighting chronic inflammation.
- It supports healthy joints – it promotes overall joint health and mobility. As the curcumin in turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, it can benefit the joints and promote overall joint health – it can keep joints from getting swollen and inflamed. One study that followed patients with rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes painful swelling in the joints) found that taking 500 mg of curcumin everyday was more effective than prescription medications. When taking turmeric for your joints, research reveals that it is more effective when taken before symptoms start – use it as a preventative measure to stay mobile and to keep your joints healthy. Aside from treating rheumatoid arthritis, turmeric has also been shown to treat osteoarthritis as well.
- It promotes overall heart health. Several lifestyle factors and health conditions can contribute to heart disease. And as mentioned earlier, inflammation also plays a major role in heart disease. So, taking turmeric which has anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent heart disease and heart attacks. One of the most important benefits of curcumin is its ability to improve the lining of blood vessels (the endothelium). When the endothelium isn’t functioning properly, it can’t regulate clotting and blood pressure properly, which can lead to heart disease. Still in doubt? One study reveals that taking curcumin is as effective as aerobic exercises!
- It can help you maintain healthy cognitive function – it supports overall brain health. Curcumin has the ability to boost a protein in the brain known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a crucial protein that is responsible for helping the brain grow. It has been shown to form new connections in the brain and increases neurons – both of which are important as we grow older. BDNF builds the ‘roadways’ in your brain so that neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin can travel where they need to go. This is why high BDNF levels are linked to better memory. Also, when BDNF levels are low, the risk of depression and Alzheimer’s disease goes up. So, taking curcumin which can boost your BDNF levels is very beneficial!
Potential Side Effects
When consumed in moderation, turmeric is generally considered safe. However, before taking turmeric, make sure to consult your doctor especially if you have stomach ulcers, gallbladder stones, bile passage obstruction, and diabetes.
Too much turmeric consumption may also cause side effects, such as nausea, dizziness, stomach upset, and diarrhea.
Who Should Take Turmeric?
Turmeric is generally considered safe for most people. It can alleviate inflammation and pain without the side effects that over-the-counter drugs such as NSAIDs usually cause.
Almost anyone can benefit from taking turmeric, especially because it can boost the immune system, promote heart health, and act as an anti-cancer agent. People with arthritis or those who suffer from chronic inflammation perhaps benefit the most. However, people with diabetes should consult their doctor first before trying any turmeric supplement.
Note: Dosage instructions for turmeric can vary from person to person. It can vary due to different factors, including age, overall health, and other conditions. Make sure to consult your doctor first and follow the dosage instructions found in your turmeric supplement.
Easy Ways to Add Turmeric to Your Diet
There are various ways that you can add turmeric to your diet. You can brew it as a tea, mix up a curry powder and add it to meals, blend it into a smoothie, juice it, or use it as a seasoning.
The Bottom Line
Turmeric has been used for centuries, and is still being used today due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and medical properties. Today, it is considered a super food that can decrease blood glucose levels, fight cancer, promote overall heart health, ease arthritis, fight depression, and support overall brain health.
However, just like everything else, it has to be taken in moderation – too much turmeric consumption can lead to side effects, such as nausea and dizziness.
Turmeric is generally considered safe for anyone to use; however, people struggling with chronic inflammation may benefit the most. People with diabetes should consult their doctor first before trying any turmeric supplement.