Turmeric is the in thing these days! This golden yellow colored spice gives a nice aroma, flavor, and texture to any dish that it is added into. It is so popular that turmeric is added to almost everything like sodas, lattes and hot chocolate! Turmeric has shot up to the number one health food in a very short span of time.
Turmeric is a root which belongs to the ginger family and is usually ground to powdered form to be used in the kitchen. Everyone is going gaga over its health benefits. So, what offers health benefits to turmeric? It is the presence of a phytochemical called curcumin. Curcumin makes up to about 5% of turmeric. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for many centuries.
How Curcumin really Helps us?
The healing properties of curcumin can range from improving cardiovascular functions, cognitive functions, digestion and immunity to arthritis and weight loss. These health benefits can be attributed to the various health benefits of curcumin like anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunomodulatory and pain killer.
The anti-inflammatory action goes a long way in preventing arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. Various types of cancer can be prevented, all thanks to the antioxidant action of curcumin. The immune system is kept alive and kicking due to the immunomodulatory activity of curcumin. It is also used in place of many over the counter NSAIDs for providing relief from pain as curcumin is a great pain killer too.
Now the million dollar question that arises is whether curcumin and its benefits are overhyped.
Well, the truth which has been proved by years of research studies shows that the health benefits which are offered by curcumin are indeed a reality to a large extent.
The two points that need to be taken care while consuming curcumin is that firstly it should be consumed along with a pinch of black pepper. One of the major reasons why curcumin is not completely absorbed in the body is due to its low bioavailability.
Consuming curcumin along with a pinch of black pepper can help to increase the bioavailability of curcumin, thus producing better health benefits. Secondly, a lot of people consume curcumin for only a short period of time and expect miraculous improvements in their health. This is not possible as curcumin is a natural substance and it needs to be consumed for a minimum time period of a month in order to see substantial health benefits.
Along with the regular consumption of curcumin, one also needs to take care of his health at a holistic level. By taking a good healthy diet, exercising regularly and having a positive frame of mind have proven to be beneficial in the long run. Some of the severe health conditions might also need some form of allopathic treatment to completely cure the disease and curcumin can be used as a supplement. e.g. in case patients suffering from cancer, taking curcumin can help the patient to tolerate the side effects of chemotherapy and produce an overall well being.