9 Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin: Science-Backed

8 min read
Apr 23, 2024
9 Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin: Science-Backed

For thousands of years, people have used the fragrant spice turmeric. It is a mainstay in Indian cooking and is frequently used to rice or curry meals.

But this golden-hued spice isn't only for seasoning—it offers noteworthy health benefits as well.

Let's examine nine health benefits of turmeric and learn how to include this spice in your everyday routine.

What are turmeric and curcumin?

Zingiberaceae is the family of ginger that includes the root vegetable turmeric.

The polyphenol curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive yellow color and therapeutic qualities, is found in turmeric.

Studies that were published in the journal Foods claim that curcumin is beneficial "in the management of metabolic syndrome, oxidative and inflammatory conditions, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia."

Moreover, curcumin possesses strong antioxidant qualities and can assist in scavenging free radicals, which are connected to inflammatory responses, cellular damage, early aging, and a number of chronic illnesses.

9 Turmeric benefits

Let's examine the nine health benefits of turmeric in more detail.

1. Lower risk of cardiovascular disease

According to an American Heart Association report, heart disease is the country's biggest cause of death.

People who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of cardiovascular illness are more likely to develop heart disease.

Curcumin extract may be able to lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterol, both of which are important for keeping the heart healthy, according to research published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.

To properly validate the advantages of this herbal medicine for cardiovascular health, more research is necessary.

2. Powerful anti-inflammatory effects

Your body uses inflammation as a defense against infections and illnesses when you are hurt or sick. Regrettably, inflammation usually results in discomfort, redness, and swelling.

Chronic inflammatory diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and irritable bowel syndrome can be brought on by unresolved inflammation.

According to Dovepress research, curcumin can reduce inflammation by inhibiting the synthesis of inflammatory molecules and simultaneously promoting the release of anti-inflammatory ones.

Moreover, curcumin may lessen the amounts of enzymes that cause inflammation to persist, which may aid people with inflammatory diseases.

3. Potent antioxidant properties

When the body is deficient in antioxidants, it can cause oxidative stress, which raises the levels of free radicals in your body.

Unstable chemicals called free radicals have the potential to harm cells and exacerbate long-term illnesses like Alzheimer's and cancer. Free radical generation can be accelerated by a number of factors, such as frequent consumption of processed foods, air pollution, and cigarette smoke inhalation.

According to a study published in Molecules, curcumin has demonstrated the ability to neutralize free radicals and shield cells from oxidative damage.

4. May aid in cancer prevention 

Uncontrollably growing cells that escape regular cellular regulation and move to other bodily areas are the precursors of cancer.

According to research that was published in Nutrients, curcumin may have an effect on a number of signaling pathways that are linked to the progression of cancer and may even aid in the removal of cancer cells.

To ascertain curcumin's function in controlling the course of cancer, more investigation is nevertheless required.

5. Promotes mental health

The World Health Organization estimates that 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression.

It is suggested by a research in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences that curcumin has "antidepressant activity through modulating the serotonin and dopamine system."

Promotes mental health
Promotes mental health

Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders have been connected to low levels of serotonin and dopamine, the neurotransmitters that regulate mood.

Furthermore, studies suggest that curcumin is as effective at treating depression as Prozac, but without any possible negative side effects.

6. Supports a healthy weight 

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Health (NIDDK) estimates that in the US, around one in five children and two out of every five adults are obese.

Increased oxidative stress caused by obesity can hinder energy generation and interfere with metabolic processes, leading to a vicious cycle of weight gain and impaired cellular performance.

The International Journal of Molecular Sciences revealed research suggesting curcumin's antioxidant qualities can promote metabolic health and assist avert oxidative stress.

Before researchers can prove the long-term effects of curcumin in obese people, additional research needs to be done due to the intricacy of weight management.

7. May reduce bone loss 

As we age, we become more susceptible to osteoporosis or weak bones.

Fortunately, there are strategies to strengthen bones, including drinking curcumin, eating dark green veggies, taking vitamin D supplements, and receiving adequate calcium.

"Curcumin was significantly associated with a decrease in the osteoporosis progression and bone turnover markers of patients with spinal cord injuries after six months," according to a World Neurosurgery study.

In addition to strengthening your bones, consuming turmeric may also benefit your joints and lower your chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

8. Relief from premenstrual syndrome

Menstruating women are aware of how challenging it may be to go about their daily lives normally during that time of the month.

A woman's life might be greatly impacted by symptoms such as exhaustion, bloating, mood changes, and abdominal pain.

Premenstrual syndrome may be influenced by inflammation, according to research published in the Journal of Women's Health.

Due to its strong anti-inflammatory qualities, turmeric may be a useful treatment for menstruation pain.

Curcumin can lower prostaglandins, a class of pro-inflammatory molecules connected to menstruation cramps, according to a study by F1000 Research.

It's crucial to keep in mind, though, that turmeric thins the blood, so if you have a bleeding condition, avoid using turmeric.

9. Improves memory 

We can experience memory loss at any age, and the effects can be disastrous. Name loss, item misplacing, and becoming lost in familiar surroundings are some of the early signs.

Alzheimer's disease, which is associated with free radicals, oxidative stress, and inflammation, can develop from progressive memory loss.

According to a Pharmaceuticals study, curcumin's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities can assist improve working memory and speed up processing.

Forms of turmeric and how to use them

Turmeric is now widely accessible in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, roots, extracts, teas, and powders, thanks to its rising popularity.

Because they are pre-measured, capsules and pills are a practical way to incorporate turmeric into your daily routine.

Forms of turmeric and how to use them
Forms of turmeric and how to use them

The recommended dosage for turmeric supplements varies, so it's important to pay attention to what the product label says in order to get the most out of curcumin's health advantages and reduce any potential negative effects.

Turmeric extract is a concentrated form of the spice that is used in many recipes and beverages. It is mostly utilized for medicinal purposes.

Since ancient times, people have utilized the tasty and simple-to-make turmeric tea to support good health.

Turmeric powder, on the other hand, can be combined with milk to make golden milk, an Indian beverage, or used in cooking to enhance flavors.

How to boost curcumin absorption

The body is not particularly good at absorbing curcumin, despite the fact that ingesting turmeric extract has several benefits.

It is better to take curcumin with black pepper and good fats to get the most health advantages.

Piperine, an alkaloid found in black pepper, has been demonstrated to improve the circulatory absorption of curcumin.

Fatty acid and turmeric is another possibility. Because curcumin is fat-soluble, combining it with fats like coconut or olive oil can cause it to dissolve and facilitate your body's absorption of the compound.

Turmeric that has been cooked can also help make curcumin more potent and bioavailable.

To optimize the absorption of a curcumin supplement, it is advised to select a premium supplement that contains piperine and take it with meals if you intend to use it to maintain a healthy body.

Possible risks of curcumin and turmeric

Supplements, powders, and extracts of turmeric are usually regarded as safe and well-tolerated.

High dosages, however, may raise the possibility of adverse consequences like:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Stomach aches
  • Increased bleeding

Because curcumin may interfere with some medications, it's crucial to talk to your doctor before using a dietary supplement containing turmeric if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are on prescription drugs. 

Key takeaways

Turmeric root contains a strong polyphenol called curcumin, which has been demonstrated to have beneficial effects on the treatment of obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and depression.

Turmeric should be taken with black pepper and good fats to increase intestinal absorption of curcumin, which is necessary to optimize its health effects.

Although consuming curcumin and turmeric is generally safe, it's important to be aware of any possible negative effects, like stomach discomfort and an increased risk of bleeding if taken in excess.

Frequently asked questions

What are the top health benefits of turmeric?

Turmeric has several health benefits, some of which are related to curcumin's powerful abilities to help treat a range of chronic illnesses.

In addition to preventing cancer, preventing heart disease, battling free radicals, managing depression, preventing bone loss, and easing menstrual discomfort, turmeric may also help maintain a healthy weight.

What is curcumin?

Turmeric has a bioactive substance called curcumin, which is used to flavor food, color it, and make supplements.

It has been shown that curcumin reduces chronic inflammation, fights oxidative stress, supports heart health, and may help those who struggle with anxiety and despair.

Should I take turmeric with black pepper?

Yes, using turmeric along with black pepper is a smart idea. By combining these two components, curcumin's intestinal absorption can be improved by increasing its bioavailability. 

In what ways can black pepper boost the bioavailability of supplements containing curcumin?

Piperine, found in black pepper, has the ability to improve the body's absorption of curcumin. Curcumin is better absorbed by the gut and is shielded from enzyme degradation by piperine.

Is it safe to take turmeric every day?

Taking supplements containing turmeric on a daily basis is generally regarded as safe and well tolerated.

On the other hand, taking high dosages of curcumin or turmeric for an extended length of time may raise the possibility of adverse consequences, including stomach pain and gastric ulcers. Taking supplements containing turmeric on a daily basis is generally regarded as safe and well tolerated.

On the other hand, taking high dosages of curcumin or turmeric for an extended length of time may raise the possibility of adverse consequences, including stomach pain and gastric ulcers.

Does turmeric have any drug interactions?

Certain medications, such as blood thinners, diabetes medications, and chemotherapy therapies, may interact with turmeric.

Because of this, it's crucial to speak with medical experts before making any dietary changes.

Who should not take turmeric?

Supplements containing curcumin or turmeric should not be taken by people who are allergic to the spice.

Furthermore, turmeric may reduce the effectiveness of several medications, so persons using blood thinners or hormone replacement therapy should avoid using it.