Turmeric is a plant in the same family as ginger, originally from India and Indonesia. After drying, the turmeric roots are transformed into a powder, also called turmeric, used as a seasoning.
Turmeric root powder is the main ingredient in curry, the famous Indian spice mix used in many dishes with origins in this cuisine. In addition to being widely used in the kitchen, this powder is also known for its medicinal properties, mainly for having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action.
A care that we must take into account when buying turmeric is that it can also be called turmeric, but we must not confuse it with turmeric.
Turmeric (or turmeric) is an orange powder sold in bags or in bulk in supermarkets and fairs, with a generally affordable price. Saffron, in turn, is a red powder, sold in specialized emporiums and at a much higher price.
Get to know some of the main benefits of turmeric already proven by science and learn how to use this spice in your daily life:
1. Anti-inflammatory effects
While inflammation is a process that helps our bodies fight harmful microorganisms and foreign particles, it can cause serious problems when it becomes chronic.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with strong anti-inflammatory properties. This component acts on cellular mechanisms and can block processes related to diseases associated with chronic inflammation, such as several types of cancer, metabolic syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease (1).
2. Antioxidant properties
Free radicals are components that react with fatty acids, proteins and DNA itself, causing oxidation. This process leads to damage that is related to aging and the emergence of many diseases, including cancer.
The curcumin present in turmeric helps fight the action of free radicals in two ways: its chemical structure manages to neutralize these harmful molecules and it also stimulates the proper functioning of our body’s antioxidant mechanisms.
3. Protection of brain functions
Some studies have shown that curcumin can increase brain levels of the hormone BDNF, one of those responsible for the formation of new connections between neurons and also for the development of new cells of this type (4).
BDNF deficiency appears to be involved with a greater tendency to develop depression and Alzheimer’s disease (5, 6). In this way, turmeric can help fight these diseases, as well as other conditions related to aging.
4. Reduced risk of heart disease
Curcumin has a positive effect on the endothelium, the cell layer that lines the inner chambers of the heart, arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels, contributing to the regulation of blood pressure and clotting (7).
In addition, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of this substance are also important factors in preventing heart disease.
5. Preventing and fighting cancer
In the case of different types of cancer, research indicates that curcumin can prevent and even treat some tumors through several mechanisms of action. For treatment, there are studies that suggest that this substance can reduce the growth of a tumor and its molecular spread (8).
In addition, evidence was found that this component would be able to reduce metastasis (when the cancer spreads) and prevent the development of blood vessels in the tumor, in order to contribute to the destruction of this mass of malignant cells (9).
In the field of prevention, researchers have observed that the daily consumption of 4 grams of curcumin is related to a 40% reduction in the number of benign lesions located in the large intestine, which could develop into colon cancer (10).
6. Relief of arthritis symptoms
The beneficial effect of turmeric on inflammatory processes also contributes to the relief of the symptoms of arthritis, which is inflammation of the joints.
In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the use of curcumin has been shown to be even more effective than the traditional anti-inflammatory in relieving stiffness and swelling (11).
7. Fighting depression
Among other factors, depression is linked to a reduction in BNDF hormone levels and shrinkage of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in learning and memory.
Some studies show that curcumin can elevate BNDF levels, which would help reverse these disease-linked changes (12). In addition, this substance can also improve the action of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters linked to feelings of well-being and relaxation (13).
How to use turmeric or turmeric
As turmeric is one of the most important ingredients in curry, one of the easiest ways to use it in your everyday life is to add this spice to your dishes. It combines with red meat, chicken, sauces, soups, rice and vegetables and cooked vegetables.
If you prefer to use pure turmeric, made from the root, you should just adjust the amount, as it is quite spicy and its flavor will stand out from the others. This seasoning just doesn’t match very well with sweets and very light flavored recipes.
It is also possible to use this powder to make an infusion: add 1 teaspoon of turmeric to 150 ml of boiling water and let it rest for 10 minutes before taking it. It is recommended to drink 3 cups a day between meals.
In addition, turmeric can also be used to make a gel with anti-inflammatory properties. To do this, mix 1 tablespoon of aloe vera with half a teaspoon of the powder and apply to skin inflammations such as psoriasis.
Despite all its benefits, turmeric is not recommended for patients who have gallstones or who are taking anticoagulant medications. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, always consult your doctor before starting to use any substance for therapeutic purposes.
The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.
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