One of the most revered spices for both cooking and healing, turmeric has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. Finally, the Western world has begun to recognize its health benefits, many of which are backed by a strong body of scientific research.
Keep reading to find out why you may want to imbibe this golden spice regularly, and to discover some delicious turmeric-inspired drinks recipes.
10 Reasons To Drink Turmeric
1. Quell Inflammation
Chronic inflammation throughout the body is linked to a whole host of illnesses like asthma, allergies, heart disease, cancer, premature aging and more. This silent yet prevalent condition can be prevented or cured by eating primarily anti-inflammatory foods – including turmeric, a superstar in the fight against inflammation.
A whole body of research highlights the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric that is responsible not only for the spice’s health benefits, but for its golden yellow hue.
Of course, this means that turmeric can help kill the pain associated with inflammation in a variety of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and even post-workout muscle pain.
2. Aid Digestion
Turmeric has been used for centuries to relieve gas and bloating – with research confirming the validity of this old folk remedy.
In addition, the German Commission E, which determines which herbs can be safely prescribed in Germany, has approved turmeric for digestive problems. It’s thought that the curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, aiding digestion.
3. Rich in Antioxidants
The curcumin pigment is a powerful antioxidant which destroys free radicals in the body – those rogue molecules which damage cell membranes and DNA, and cause cell death.
4. For Liver Health
Long considered a tonic for the liver, turmeric has been found to improve symptoms of liver function, even in those with already impaired livers.
5. Improve Immunity
With antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, it should come as no surprise to discover that turmeric can provide a boost to the immune system when taken regularly.
6. Protect the Heart
Curcumin may help prevent cardiovascular diseases – the leading cause of death worldwide. This pigment has been found to improve the function of the endothelium (the lining of the blood vessels), helping the body to regulate blood pressure and blood clotting.
It’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are also vital in the fight against heart disease.
7. Protect the Brain
Curcumin has been shown to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), responsible for the growth and maintenance of nerve cells, which can improve cognitive function, memory and mood.
What’s more, it may even prevent cognitive decline.
Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common form of dementia – which causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior – is associated with a chronic inflammatory response in the brain. It makes sense, therefore, that turmeric’s powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and circulatory effects may help prevent and treat this condition.
8. Improve Symptoms of DepressionAs we’ve seen above, curcumin can increase BDNF, which improves mood. It may also boost the ‘happy hormones’, the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
In one small study, researchers found that depressed patients experienced similar improvements when taking either curcumin or Prozac! However, the patients that took both experienced the greatest improvement in mood – highlighting the potential of turmeric to boost mental health.
9. Asthma Relief
While many herbs, spices and other foods provide natural relief for asthma sufferers, turmeric may be one of the most potent spices asthmatics can use. It improves air flow, relaxes muscle spasms, restores normal breathing patterns, thins the blood and relieves asthmatic inflammation.
10. Glowing Skin
For the healthiest skin around, make turmeric an integral part of your daily beauty routine. When ingested or applied topically, it can speed up healing, reduce the signs of ageing, correct oily skin, and calm the symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, scleroderma, rosacea and other skin diseases. Turmeric can even reverse UV damage and is applied topically to treat hirsutism (abnormal hair growth) in women.