Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in Asian food. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. It contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is often used to color foods and cosmetics.
Turmeric is commonly used for conditions involving pain and inflammation, such as osteoarthritis. It is also used for hay fever, depression, high cholesterol, a type of liver disease, and itching. Some people use turmeric for heartburn, thinking and memory skills, inflammatory bowel disease, stress, and many other conditions, but there no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Most studies used turmeric extracts that are standardized to include large amounts of curcumin.
Chronic inflammation contributes to many common Western diseases. Curcumin can suppress many molecules known to play major roles in inflammation.
Curcumin has powerful antioxidant effects. It neutralizes free radicals on its own but also stimulates your body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in your brain.
Curcumin has beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease. It improves the function of the endothelium and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.
Curcumin leads to several changes on the molecular level that may help prevent and perhaps even treat cancer.
Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease.
Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
A study in 60 people with depression showed that curcumin was as effective as Prozac in alleviating symptoms of the condition.
Due to its many positive health effects, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer, curcumin may aid longevity.
- 29 calories
- 0.91 grams (g) of protein
- 0.31 g of fat
- 6.31 g of carbohydrates 2.1 g of fiber
- 0.3 g of sugar
That same 1 tbsp serving provides:
- 26 percent of daily manganese needs
- 16 percent of daily iron
- 5 percent of daily potassium3
- percent of daily vitamin C