When people think of healthy produce, it is generally the pricier, more expensive foods that often get the most recognition, you know the ones, your: Fruits, vegetables, oily fish, lean meats, complex carbohydrates etc. Whilst those aforementioned products are indeed highly beneficial and very good for us, there are other foods that are vastly underrated and don’t get anywhere near the recognition that they deserve, with herbs and spices being prime examples. One ingredient in particular, which is renowned for its healthy properties, yet for some reason is only used very sparingly, is turmeric. Turmeric is known, technically as curcuma longa, and it is a very common spice used in many different cuisines, especially Indian and Moroccan. Turmeric root is unmistakable as its primary characteristics include a peppery aroma, a great taste, and a deep golden colour. Whilst this herb/spice is absolutely fantastic for enhancing a number of different food dishes, numerous studies have also revealed that it is packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory ingredients, anti-bacterial ingredients, anti-fungal ingredients, and much more besides. So, to delve a little deeper into the healing properties associated with turmeric, let’s take a look at some of the main health reasons why you almost certainly need more turmeric in your diet.
It possesses anti-carcinogenic properties
Another very significant fact associated with turmeric, in regards to its health boosting capabilities, is the fact that it possesses anti-carcinogenic properties, which to you and I, means that it contains ingredients which help to prevent various forms of cancer. Carcinogenic ingredients can cause cellular mutations within the body, eventually turning cells pre-cancerous, and then, if left long enough, cancerous, which nobody will ever want. Studies however, have found that turmeric can, in particular, help with the prevention of prostate cancer, can slow down prostrate cancer growth, and has even been found to destroy cancerous cells as well. This is because the root contains numerous active compounds which have been proven to provide protection against tumours which have been induced via radiation. As if that wasn’t all, studies have also revealed that it can prevent cancerous tumours, which is a very significant find indeed.
It helps regulate blood sugar levels
Diabetes is currently one of the most worrying illnesses in the entire world, and it is sadly becoming an epidemic, with more people currently suffering from the condition than ever before. Diabetes is caused when the pancreas either: stops producing insulin, can’t produce enough insulin, or if the insulin it does produce, doesn’t have any effect on blood sugar levels. Insulin is used to regulate sugars found in our blood, helping to keep them stable. Unstable blood sugar levels can lead to weight gain, organ failure, and conditions such as diabetes. Turmeric however, has been found to help moderate insulin levels in the human body, thereby regulating blood sugar levels in the process. This is especially relevant because it can help to manage diabetes, prevent it altogether, and can reduce the need for countless medications being prescribed by the doctor to help get blood glucose levels under control. The most significant benefit however, is that turmeric helps to reduce insulin resistance internally, meaning that any insulin that is secreted, becomes more effective and does the job it is supposed to do.
It helps reduce harmful cholesterol and boost healthy cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol found in the body: HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) and LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein). HDL cholesterol is good for us, whereas LDL cholesterol is very bad for us. LDL cholesterol affects us negatively by coating the arteries and blood vessels with fatty deposits, which build up overtime, leading to high blood pressure, poor circulation, heart disease, an increased risk of strokes, and an increased risk of heart attacks. HDL cholesterol however, helps to prevent LDL cholesterol build ups, and as turmeric has been found to boost good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol, it becomes apparent just how beneficial it really is. Studies have found that using turmeric as a basic seasoning on your foods, can greatly reduce bad cholesterol whilst boosting good cholesterol in the process.
It’s great for arthritis
Arthritis is a very painful condition that is also becoming more and more common. Another fantastic benefit associated with turmeric however, is the fact that it is rich in anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that it reduces rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis in the process. This provides countless benefits to those suffering with arthritis, as the anti-inflammatory properties help to relieve swelling in, and around the joints, thereby greatly reducing painful swelling and increasing range of motion.
It’s great for headaches
Another very useful benefit of turmeric is the fact that it has been found to, not only prevent headaches, but to help treat them as well. If you read the labels of various pain killing pills and tablets designed to treat headaches, you’ll see that they contain anti-inflammatory ingredients to help reduce pain and swelling that could be responsible for the headaches. Turmeric is also packed full of anti-inflammatory ingredients, making it the perfect ingredient for anybody unfortunate enough to suffer from a painful headache.
It boosts the immune system
Our immune systems provide a natural defence against illnesses and diseases, and so we obviously want to keep our immune systems functioning as healthily and as strongly as they possibly can, otherwise we are more susceptible to becoming ill, and that’s obviously the last thing any of us should want. The immune system benefits greatly from vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants, amongst other nutrients, and turmeric has all of the above, in abundance. In particular, turmeric is rich in a compound called “lipopolysaccharide” which is especially useful for boosting immunity. Add to this, the fact that turmeric is rich in anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal agents, as well as vitamins and minerals, and you have the ultimate immunity boosting food.