Referred to as golden milk, turmeric mixed in warm milk is a famous healing drink as the mixture soothes inflamed or painful joints. Turmeric is being used by Indians from ancient times, not only in curries but in Ayurvedic medicines as well. This yellow powder has numerous medicinal properties which is the reason it gained worldwide popularity from the East and to the West.
What is Turmeric and where does it come from?
Commonly called ‘Haldi’, this astounding spice dates back to nearly 4000 years in India. Indians had always used this turmeric as a culinary spice as well as due to the medicinal properties they have used it in various medicines. Ancient people have used ointments made with turmeric to subside the negative effects of poisonous foods. After Indians, this spice reached China in 700 AD, East Africa in 800 AD, West Africa in 1200 AD, and Jamaica in the 18th century.
Basically, turmeric is a spice and is mostly found in powder form in your pantry. This spice comes from the turmeric plant. Though this spice is used in powder form mostly, its roots are also widely used in making medicines. Turmeric contains a chemical called Curcumin which gives turmeric a bright-yellow color. This yellow-colored turmeric was widely used in dyes to color food, cosmetics, and medicines.
There are other compounds called curcuminoids found in turmeric but curcumin is most important because it has strong anti-inflammatory properties and also a powerful antioxidant. Curcumin is fat-soluble and it can easily be consumed with fatty meals.
Other names of Turmeric
Different cultures and countries have different names for this turmeric.
- Indians call it ‘Haldi’.
- It is called ‘Terre Merite’ in French.
- In Sanskrit, it has 53 different names like anestha, Haridra, Gauri, mehagni, pinga, etc.
- Chinese call it Yu Chin, Wohng Geung, Yu Jin, etc.
Nutritional facts of Turmeric
The facts given below are for 1 tablespoon of turmeric:
- Energy 29 kcal
- Protein 1 gm
- Fiber 2 gm
- Carbohydrates 6 gm
Turmeric also contains minerals like manganese, phosphorus, and potassium.
RDAs for Turmeric
There is no official verdict on RDA for turmeric but numerous studies have been carried out on the use of turmeric in different conditions. Some of these are as follows:
- For hay fever: 500 mg of curcumin for 2 months.
- For depression: 500 mg of curcumin for 6-8 months.
- For high cholesterol: 700 mg turmeric extract for 3 months.
- For itchy skin: 500 mg of turmeric for 2 months.
- For osteoporosis: 500 mg of turmeric extract for 2-3 months.
Another study showed that 500-200 mg of turmeric can be consumed daily by an adult whether in its natural form or the form of supplements.
Benefits of Turmeric
After viewing all the above important facts about turmeric, now peep into profound benefits of astounding turmeric:
1. Anti-inflammatory Properties
People having joint pains or arthritis, suffer from severe inflammation in joints and bones. Studies have suggested that taking turmeric capsules thrice a day, tremendously aids in eliminating these joint pains and inflammation. The recommended dosage of turmeric capsules is 400-600 mg per day to reduce inflammation and treat arthritis. Although inflammation is greatly important and beneficial in maintaining our body processes but only when it does not become chronic and starts attacking our body’s tissues. Researchers have found that low levels of inflammation are critical in preventing several chronic diseases like cancers, heart diseases, metabolic syndrome, and Alzheimer’s. The chemical, curcumin, present in turmeric greatly fights against these chronic inflammatory diseases while preventing them. This turmeric is a natural agent against these diseases and has no potential side effects.
2. Dramatic Antioxidant
Oxidative damage is the process that causes diseases and aging in the human body. When free radicals react with unpaired electrons, these free radicals react with organic substances like proteins or DNA and cause severe negative reactions within the human body. Curcumin in turmeric is a potent antioxidant that protects our body from these free radicals and neutralizes them. In addition to this property, curcumin also boosts the number of enzymes that act as an antioxidant. This makes curcumin beneficial for us in two ways, firstly it wards off the free radicals and secondly pumps up the body’s antioxidant defense system which protects our body from any harmful effects.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
Bad cholesterols (LDL) in our body leads to health problems like cardiovascular diseases, or stroke. Consuming turmeric on daily basis greatly reduces LDL levels within the body and protect the body from the heart and cardiovascular diseases. A small study conducted in 2008, provided enough evidence to prove that a small amount of turmeric on daily basis is directly related to reducing LDL and cholesterol levels within the body.
4. Treats Osteoarthritis
Numerous studies have been carried out on the uses of turmeric and some studies showed that using turmeric extracts daily, greatly eliminates knee osteoarthritis and pains. Doctors recommend taking turmeric extracts if anyone is having any problem with joint pains because turmeric acts like ibuprofen which is a pain killer. The strong anti-oxidative properties of this amazing plant profoundly help in reducing inflammation and swelling in people having arthritis as well as greatly reduces pain.
5. Prevents Alzheimer’s Diseases
Many studies have shown that turmeric eliminates the synaptic markers and building up of amyloids which is directly related to Alzheimer’s development. The anti-oxidative property of turmeric prevents brain damages which can cause Alzheimer’s. In Alzheimer’s, there is a buildup of protein tangles and turmeric has shown a tremendous aid in cleaning these amyloid plaques as well as protects the brain from getting Alzheimer’s disease.
When consumed in moderate amounts, turmeric is generally safe for us but too much of turmeric intake might cause the following symptoms in few people:
- Stomach ulcers or acidity
- Obstruction of bile passages
- Inflammation of gall bladder stones
- Blood-thinning effect
After viewing the above-mentioned benefits, we can conclude that turmeric is a potent antioxidant that protects our body from numerous diseases especially Alzheimer’s and cancer. It keeps our bodies in shape by reducing cholesterol and extra fats but all these good points remain beneficial only when turmeric is consumed in moderate quantity. Excess of this turmeric can cause negative effects like ulcers.