Turmeric is a yellow spice that is commonly used as an herbal medicine in India. It is also used for adding food coloring or flavor in the dishes which is commonly found in India and Asian countries.
Turmeric contains an important compound called Curcumin which can provide many health benefits in our body. According to medical studies, these are the five reasons why turmeric is good for our health
1. It can help control blood sugar level in prediabetes and diabetes type II.
One of the health benefits of Curcumin is that it can improve the insulin sensitivity level by reducing the HbA1c and fasting plasma glucose levels in those with prediabetes and diabetes type II. HbA1c is a lab test value used to measure the average blood sugar within 2 to 3 months.
According to the 2019 study published in Plon One Journal, curcumin improves insulin sensitivity by two processes: Firstly, it maintains the balance of blood glucose level by activating the glucokinase in the liver. Secondly, it increases the transportation and uses of glucose into the muscle and adipose tissue by promoting glucose transporter-4 (GLUT4) expression.
These two processes are important to prevent an abnormally increased blood sugar level and reduce the risk of diabetes.
2. It can help treat the symptoms caused by Osteoarthritis.
Curcumin can help manage the symptoms and prevent the progression of Osteoarthritis. According to the 9 clinical trials that composed of 797 patients, a curcumin supplement can help reduce pain, stiffness, improve physical function, and decrease the usage of pain killers in patients with osteoarthritis.
This is possible because curcumin can prevent the activation of dead cells in the chondrocyte-a cell found in the cartilage connective tissue needed to maintain the support of the joint. Furthermore, it also prevents the release of an inflammatory substance such as prostaglandin E-2 that can cause inflammation in the joint or in the affected area.
3. It contains an anti-inflammatory effect
Curcumin can also be used as an alternative to pain killers such as Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs. This is important since one of the side effects of NSAID is that it causes stomach ulcers or bleeding, and curcumin can reduce inflammation without causing an adverse effect.
A 2018 study published in Advanced Biomedical Research shows that curcumin contains an anti-inflammatory activity. It can help prevent an inflammatory process by inhibiting the arachidonic acid metabolism- a polyunsaturated fat that is responsible for releasing inflammatory substances in the body.
4. It has an antioxidant effect
One of the most important benefits of Turmeric is that it contains a natural source of flavonoid which acts as an antioxidant. A 2017 study states that curcumin increases the antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase.
This enzyme can help discard free radicals such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. This is important since free radical can damage the DNA, and causes the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
5. It may help prevent progression of Alzheimer disease and improve brain function
Although there is no cure to treat Alzheimer’s disease, consuming curcumin can help prevent the risk or progression of this condition.
According to the 2018 study published in neural regeneration research journal, curcumin can help generate neurons known as neurogenesis and increase synaptic plasticity, which is important to improve memory function. Furthermore, consuming curcumin increases the nitric oxide level, which helps increase the blood flow in the brain.
Lastly, it also increases the Docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is important for maintaining the normal brain function in adults. These functions are important since they can prevent the risk of causing Alzheimer’s diseases in older adults.
Turmeric is without a doubt, one of the few spices that provide many health benefits in our body. It can help reduce blood sugar level, treat osteoarthritis symptoms, has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect, and prevent progression of Alzheimer disease.
So next time when you cook your favorite dish, why don’t you add some turmeric in your food?
Bio: Dr Saif Al Deen Odeh is a licensed physical therapist with a doctorate of physical therapy in Utica College in New York. He is currently practicing in a local hospital in the Philippines. In addition to that, he is a food blogger that love sharing delicious food recipe and review restaurants and street food. He is currently managing his own food blog called The Odehlicious- theodehlicious.com