Throughout history, there have been few plants as commonly used as turmeric. Originally from India, turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a medicine, a spice, a dye and as a cosmetic.

Considered an auspicious plant, many Hindu ceremonies incorporate turmeric as part of their religious rituals. Many households also use it as a spice on a daily basis.

As researchers delved deeper into turmeric’s mysterious properties, they arrived at a startling conclusion: turmeric is indispensable to living a long and healthy life!

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With no calories and zero cholesterol, turmeric provides some of the human body’s most essential nutrients like dietary fiber, iron, potassium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6.

Here is a look of medicinal value of turmeric and why it should become a part of your daily life…

Prevents cellular and organ damage due to its potent antioxidant action

If you have been popping pills to combat the damage caused by free radicals, you can put them away. Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, is a potent antioxidant that helps to not only neutralize the free radicals, but also to enhance the natural antioxidant enzymes present in the human body.

Glutathione, which protects the cells and mitochondria from oxidative damage and eliminates toxins, is produced naturally by the body. However, the production of glutathione decreases with age, a phenomenon reversed by turmeric, among other nutrients.

The use of turmeric may be the difference between aging gracefully and looking haggard.

Prevents Alzheimer’s disease and depression

India, home to 1.25 billion people, has a very low proportion of Alzheimer’s disease victims when compared to that of developed countries. This statistic is even more startling, as quite a large portion of the population cannot afford proper nutrition, food and medication.

The cause of this phenomenon is turmeric. Highly affordable, turmeric increases the level of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factors (BDNF), the decreased levels of which are thought to be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease and depression.

By enhancing the level of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), the active ingredient curcumin encourages the growth of new neurons and delays the death of aging neurons.

Helps in maintaining a healthy heart

The last decade has witnessed the birth of preventive measures to keep the heart in top condition. Physical exercise, yoga, meditation, medication, proper diet and maintaining a stress-free life are all a part of the attempt to keep the heart in good shape.

Studies have revealed that turmeric prevents plaque formation in the blood vessels and brings down bad cholesterol levels. Curcumin has a vital role in keeping your heart healthy – it ensures that the lining of the blood vessels, known as endothelium, functions normally.

Turmeric also prevents the clumping together of platelets, which prevents formation of blood clots along the artery walls. As a potent antioxidant, curcumin also prevents damage to the endothelium by free radicals.

Medicinal value of turmeric_2Arthritis: the bane of old health

Almost all cases of arthritis involve inflammation of the joints, of which curcumin is a great remedy. Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory substance and some studies have concluded that it is more effective than many modern anti-inflammatory medicines.

Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine from India, utilized this property of turmeric in treating arthritis. Turmeric was heated with medicated oil and applied to the affected joints to relieve inflammation.

Boosting the immune system

A thousand years ago, mothers in ancient India boiled turmeric with milk and had children sip it to treat common cold. Science acknowledges curcumin to be stronger than vitamin E and vitamin C in its capacity to boost the immune system. Cholesterol levels are also kept in check by this humble spice from India.

The liver protector

Alcohol, long-term use of modern medicines, fertilizers and pesticides, the use of preservatives, colors and other additives in food can all contribute to liver damage.

South Korean researchers at Chonbuk National University Hospital have shown that turmeric can significantly bring down the production of  serum aspartate transaminase (AST) and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), two enzymes associated with liver damage.

Not only is turmeric effective in preventing cirrhosis, but it is also effecting in reversing it. The likely mechanism of action for this breakthrough in modern medicine would be the ability of curcumin to inhibit or reduce TGF-beta expression, a central regulator responsible for the progression of chronic liver disease.

Type 2 diabetes preventive

Studies done on curcumin reveal that turmeric may impact the development of Type 2 diabetes.  Turmeric lessens insulin resistance and thus prevents a person from becoming a diabetic.

This was confirmed by a study conducted by Thai researchers, which showed that none of the participants given turmeric developed Type 2 diabetes, while 16.4% of participants given placebos were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The group given turmeric also exhibited better beta cell function, which improves the body’s ability to store and release insulin.

Preventing cancer and inhibiting growth of cancer cells

Turmeric can also prevent cancer through multiple means. Its antioxidant properties protect cellular DNA and inhibit the synthesis of a protein necessary for tumor formation. By preventing additional blood flow into tumor cells, turmeric inhibits cancer cell growth.

Digestive disorders of the body

Improper digestion can result in gas and bloating. When added to food, turmeric stimulates the secretion of bile, a factor essential for the proper digestion of fats. Stimulating the secretion of bile juice also enhances appetite.

With no known negative side effects, turmeric is safe to use for the entire family. As a spice it can be used even during pregnancy and nursing.

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