The Natural Health Benefits of Turmeric

By Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS

Contributor: Emily Simmons

Ever heard of Turmeric? Maybe yes, maybe no, but for sure, you’ve probably eaten it and have enjoyed its many health benefits without even knowing. What exactly is Turmeric?  Turmeric is a very popular spice that gives curry its yellow color and is used in many Indian dishes.  

From a ‘food is medicine’ perspective, Turmeric is a total winner. Why? One word: Curcumin.

Research shows that Curcumin is a naturally occurring chemical found in Turmeric that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at why these two medicinal benefits are important.

Anti-inflammatory

Inflammation is not always a bad thing. Our bodies need some inflammation to help us respond to damage by sending healing cells to the site. HOWEVER, chronic inflammation is what we need to avoid. This is where the anti-inflammatory effects of Turmeric come into play. The Curcumin helps the body to respond to inflammation which may also help us avoid certain diseases that are linked to chronic inflammation like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. 

Antioxidants

Antioxidants help improve brain function, prevent heart disease, and reduce the signs of aging from a cellular level. Data show these have to do with oxidative stress caused within the body. Research also demonstrates that antioxidants which help reduce oxidative stress, in turn, reduces inflammation in arteries.  Reducing this inflammation is important because:

  • It helps fighting heart disease
  • counteracts the unstable molecules in the brain to help improve brain function, and 
  • fights free radicals to protect the cells against damage — thereby reducing the signs of aging. 

You are only as young as the health of your cells! 

Antioxidants also have cardiovascular benefits. In fact, one study suggests that Turmeric improves the function of the endothelium of the heart. 

The endothelium is the layer of blood vessels around the heart. Curcumin found in Turmeric is known to help by “increasing nitric oxide bioavailability and reducing vascular oxidative stress”. In other words, Turmeric helps with the flow of blood to the heart and reduces the chances of these vessels clogging up.

It all sounds too good to be true.  There must be a catch.  Ummmhmmm…and here it is…Turmeric is hard for the body to absorb.  So how do you get around this? Well, with another spice – Black Pepper.  Some studiessuggest that the use of black pepper will increase the absorption rate of Turmeric in the body by up to 2,000%.

At Healthy Meals Supreme, Turmeric, in combination with black pepper, is included in several of our recipes. It’s all a part of making the most delicious and nutritionally appropriate meals for you.

Here are three favorites that are sure to please you:

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