Tumeric Health Benefits

Published 5/16/13

What Is Turmeric?

Turmeric, native to tropical parts of southern Asia, is a perennial plant that is part of the ginger plant family. It has a bright yellow-orange color that goes along with its bitter flavor. Turmeric can be used in a fresh state or can be boiled and dried out before being ground into a fine powder. It has been used throughout history as a cooking spice, supplement, medicine, fabric dye, and as part of traditional Asian ceremonies. 

Turmeric Nutrition

For such a small serving size, turmeric really packs a punch when it comes to nutrition. One serving of the spice, roughly 2 teaspoons, contains 17% of the recommended daily value (DV) of manganese, 11% of iron DV, 4% of vitamin B6 DV, 4% of fiber DV, and 3% of potassium DV while only containing 15 calories.

Turmeric Benefits

Turmeric is an inexpensive spice with a mild taste that can benefit every system in the body. Turmeric is excellent when it comes to combating cancer. Curcumin, the main component of turmeric, has the ability to block the enzyme found in the mouth that encourages the growth of head and neck cancer. Turmeric is also great at preventing cancer due to its high level of antioxidants. These antioxidants fight cancer-causing free radicals throughout the entire body and can prevent or limit the damage that the free radicals cause. In terms of anti-inflammatory ability, there are few natural products that are more effective than turmeric. A 2006 study at the University of Arizona found that preventative turmeric consumption could reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric can also reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms if the disease is already present. Turmeric’s ability to fight inflammation is confirmed when the study showed a significant decrease of C-reactive protein in the bloodstream, a marker for inflammation.

Turmeric And Curcumin Supplements

The most effective turmeric and curcumin supplements are the ones that contain piperine or black pepper extract. The body has a hard time naturally absorbing turmeric and curcumin. Studies have found that turmeric and curcumin are best absorbed when consumed with piperine, a major component of black pepper.

Turmeric Side Effects

When used properly and consumed in moderation, turmeric is perfectly healthy for the body. Some people may experience dizziness, nausea, or an upset stomach but the side effects are typically minor and temporary. Turmeric can promote a menstrual period or stimulate the uterus so it is highly recommended to not consume turmeric during pregnancy, as it can put the pregnancy at risk. Turmeric can also slow the blood clotting process so it is very important to not consume turmeric if surgery is in the near future. 

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