What is turmeric?
I’m guessing not all of you know about the healing properties of turmeric. Or do you? Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry – the bright yellow aromatic powder, most commonly used in the Indian cuisine. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color different types of food. But what you might not know is that the root of turmeric is also used for medical purposes.
Ancient medical systems such as Ayurveda used it in the past, so we can say that there are thousands of years (5000 to be more precise!) that stand as proof that nature can provide you with the extra help you might be looking for.
Curcumin – The Secret Behind Turmeric
Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric (that turns it yellow!) and the secret behind all the healing properties of turmeric. Curcumin is a very strong antioxidant, with a high range of protective and therapeutic promise. This is another reminder for the golden rule:
The more colorful the plants you eat, the more antioxidants you get!
What do researchers know FOR SURE so far about this wonder of nature? That it demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties in a large series of conditions such as:
- Muscle Sprains
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The list can go on with basically every inflammatory disease, the cause of most of the western health problems we hear about on a almost-daily basis. The best news is that Turmeric can be used (and I encourage you to start now) preventive. We will learn together ways to integrate it in your diet in the next part of the article.
Even if you are taking only baby steps towards a healthy lifestyle, don’t worry – it’s good enough. At least you know now that you are heading in the right direction!
- Healthy tip
Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%, studies show.
What are the healing properties of turmeric and how to benefit from them fully?
#1 Natural anti-inflammatory
When we hear about inflammation we think: this surely is a bad thing. Not really. Inflammation helps the body protect from foreign invaders and fight disease. The problem is when the inflammation is not short-term, but chronic and when it starts to affect the body’s own tissue and not the so-called “ïnvaders”.
Since inflammation is considered the ground of every major disease affecting us nowadays, anything used to treat inflammation can help prevent the disease. The good news is that curcumin has the same anti-inflammatory properties with the inflammatory drugs at your local pharmacy – but no side effects!
#2 Natural antioxidant
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects by antioxidants. How does curcumin help?
It has two major roles in this process: it’s a strong antioxidant and helps fight free radicals and it also improves the activity of the body’s own antioxidants. It’s like turmeric helps sharpen your weapons in fighting against ageing and also fights the battle by your side adding extra strength. Wrinkles should be frightened now!
FOR MORE WAYS TO PROTECT AGAINST AGEING TRY THESE HOMEMADE BEAUTY MASKS
#3 Boosts immunity
“5 to 8 times stronger than vitamin E and stronger than vitamin C, this antioxidant breakthrough may help boost your immunity, maintain normal cholesterol levels, and put the brakes on aging,” says Dr. Joseph Mercola about the curcumin in turmeric.
One of the ways in which to keep that immunity level up is to brew a cup of turmeric tea. Make sure you are using good quality powder for this recipe. More information about how to choose good turmeric powder can be found here.
- Recipe using turmeric – Turmeric Tea
Take four cups of water and bring it to the boil. Add 1 teaspoon turmeric. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. Strain this using a fine sieve. Add lemon for taste.
To make it more fun, you can add a teaspoon of ginger or cinnamon.
#4 Boosts weight loss
This is just the cherry on top of the cake: turmeric is related to prevention of obesity-related chronic diseases. Research revealed that curcumin reduces the formation of fat tissue by suppressing the blood vessels needed to form it. Adding turmeric to your daily menu helps build up a healthy diet and it’s highly advisable.
FOR OTHER TIPS & TRICKS RELATED TO WEIGHT LOSS & EXERCISE CLICK HERE!
#5 Fights depressions
Depression is affecting more and more people every day and billions of dollars are spent yearly on antidepressants. Still, about 63% of the patients diagnosed with major depression disorder experience at least one of the potential side effects: insomnia, anxiety, weight gain, thoughts of suicide.
The worse part is that these don’t even help that much, most patients don’t respond at all to the antidepressant. The good part is that by treating the patients with around 1,000 mg/day of absorption-enhanced curcumin for 6 weeks, you get the same results as treating patients with a 20 mg Prozac. But wait! Like you are used to already: no side effects. At least this is what the first clinical trials suggest.
#6 Enhances brain health
Just think about it! About what? About all the knowledge you achieved and you are using every day. The brain – this amazing and vital organ, like any other organs, needs all the help it can get to support all its functions, including memory. By taking turmeric, you help your brain improve the oxygen intake and, therefore, support better it’s functions. Turmeric can also prevent a series of mental illnesses, like Alzheimer’s disease.
#7 Improves liver functions
Turmeric helps increase bile flow making it a liver cleanser that can rejuvenate your liver cells and recharge their capability to break down toxins. Researchers comments on this topic are very optimistic: “Turmeric used widely as a spice would probably mitigate the effects of several dietary carcinogens.”
#8 Heals wounds and is good as a first aid
What do you do when you cut yourself with glass or when you fall down with your bike and get bruises? You got the first-aid kit, right? Turmeric has antiviral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and, therefore, can be used for wounds as well.
In India, this was a highly used solutions for wounds in the absence of other drugs available. Small open wounds can be treated at home by using a turmeric paste that heals the cut, reduces pain and prevents infections. Make this happen by using an easy Golden Paste recipe:
- Recipe using turmeric – Golden Paste
- 1/2 cup turmeric powder (125 ml)
- 1 cup water (250 ml)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper (to improve absorption)
- 70 ml cold pressed Olive or Coconut oil
After you have all the ingredients in hand, prepare a pan with water and add turmeric in it. Heat gently and stir. In 6-10 minutes, you should get a paste. If it seems too watery, add more turmeric and if it’s too thick, add some water. Then add to the pan oil the Coconut Oil and the pepper and continue to stir to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed together. After the Golden Paste cools down you can keep it in a jar in the fridge and use it for up to two weeks.
Feel free to consume this on a daily basis. You can add it to salads, smoothies, and sauces. For more information on how to use the paste try this article. Enjoy!
#9 Helps with skin problems
Skin is the largest organ from our body and the one that needs the most care. The skin fights the outside environment, protecting us against different stressors. The skin gets to suffer daily because of factors we can or can’t control the sun, dust, fungi and immune problems.
Turmeric helps with acne, eczema, dry skin, inflammation, redness, psoriasis and other skin problems. There are many ways in which to use turmeric for the skin, but I recommend a turmeric mask.
- Recipe using turmeric – Turmeric Mask
Add 4 tbsp turmeric powder to 1 tbsp milk and 4 tbsp raw honey to form a smooth paste. Apply this to clean and dry skin, leave for 20 minutes and wash off.
As an alternate, you can mix turmeric with olive or sesame oil in sufficient quantities to make a paste.
FOR MORE HOMEMADE BEAUTY MASKS CLICK HERE!
#10 Benefits the reproductive system
Estrogen is one of the female sex hormones that is essential for the menstrual cycle and fertility of females. Turmeric mimics the activity of this hormone. It can help with the most common problems of the period as well. The not-so-shiny days women know best can be less painful with the help of this amazing plant. Even if there are a lot of painkillers to help with menstrual cramps, this is a great natural alternative.
You can use 400-600 mg of turmeric powder twice a day and you will not need to hit the pharmacy. You might also notice in a longer use period that the menstrual cycle will become more regular. Another benefit for turmeric is that it’s a supportive uterine stimulant, that’s why it’s advised for pregnant and lactating mothers to take turmeric after consultation with their doctor.
As you can see, turmeric is full of wonders and I’m sure you can find even more great uses for it!