The benefits of turmeric go far beyond boosting the flavour of your curry. Here are some of the biggest (research backed) health perks of this super spice.
1. It's a natural anti-inflammatory
Inflammation helps the body fight off viruses and repairs damage however, chronic inflammation becomes a problem as the body starts to attack its own tissues, resulting in a huge range of health problems.
Turmeric has been found to help fight off inflammation with almost the same efficacy as anti-inflammatory medication, just without the side effects.
2. It improves brain function and helps prevent Alzheimer's
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a type of growth hormone in the brain that improves brain function. Decreased levels of BDNF have been linked to brain diseases like Alzheimer's, therefore turmeric consumption helps boost levels of BDNF, in turn boosting brain function.
3. It lowers your risk of heart disease
Endothelial dysfunction (the lining of the blood cells) is a major factor of heart disease, and turmeric helps to improve endothelium function. A study found that patients who were undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery and were given curcumin (a compound found in turmeric root) reduced their risk of having a heart attack by 65 percent .
4. It can help prevent and treat cancer
The ability to cure cancer is a benefit claimed by many superfoods, but turmeric could be the real deal.
Curcumin has been found to contribute to the death of cancerous cells, as well as reduce the spread of the disease.
Turmeric is also being studied as a cancer preventative, especially for digestive cancers like colorectal cancer. This study found that 4 grams of curcumin a day for 30 days reduced the amount of colon lesions (which can sometimes turn cancerous) by 40 percent.
5. It can help combat depression
The curcumin in turmeric has also demonstrated significant results in treating depression. A study where patients took either curcumin or an antidepressant found that both groups reported similar results.
Turmeric can also help boost serotonin and dopamine, two of the brain's most important neurotransmitters.
6. It can help treat endometriosis
What can't this spice do?! A number of studies published in the Biomedicine & Pharmacy journal have also found that curcumin in turmeric helps repress endometrial lesions, which inhibits the progression of the disease.