Turmeric fights ageing
Also known as Indian saffron, turmeric boasts many health benefits, one of the most established being its high content in antioxidants. In a US study conducted in 2006, turmeric was rated the fifth most antioxidant-rich food from a list of 1000 foods. Antioxidants (especially flavonoids and polyphenols) have powerful effects, combatting, in particular, the free radicals responsible for cellular ageing.
Turmeric may prevent some forms of cancer
This particular property has been arousing scientific interest for several years now, and with good reason. It seems curcumin, the main polyphenol in turmeric, may well turn out to be a formidable weapon in the fight against cancer. Numerous studies have produced impressive results, particularly in relation to prevention of a range of cancers (pancreatic, breast, colon, and prostate…). The only problem is these results come from research conducted on rats. Human studies are not yet at a point where definitive conclusions can be drawn, though the signs are very encouraging and suggest turmeric could prove to be a benchmark anti-cancer substance.
Turmeric treats digestive problems
Turmeric has also been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of medicine (for treating dyspepsia (digestive problems). Turmeric’s efficacy against “digestive disorders with hyperacidity and flatulence” is also recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). One study found that taking 250mg of curcuma four times a day may relieve digestive problems. Turmeric is also recommended for nausea and vomiting, bloating, loss of appetite and for relieving feelings of heaviness.
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory
Here again, it is the curcumin in turmeric which is responsible for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It therefore provides the joints with considerable support as it prevents and relieves joint pain and stiffness. Turmeric is also a good option for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. With a Chinese study showing it to have a positive effect on performance, turmeric may be of particular interest to sportspeople who place massive stress on their joints.
Turmeric is easy to consume
It can obviously be consumed simply as a spice in certain dishes (mainly Indian, turmeric being a key ingredient in curries) and by regularly adding it to your cooking (in sauces, stews, marinades …). Try to buy the fresh roots (from speciality delis or Asian stores) or a small amount of ground turmeric (so that all its qualities are preserved) and eat it with pepper and a little oil to enhance its bioavailability, as the piperine in pepper acts in synergy with the turmeric. You can also find it in powder or juice form. If you don’t like the taste (you need to take 2-3g a day to obtain its health benefits), dietary supplements offered by herbal medicine are an option worth considering.
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Turmeric, or curcuma as it’s sometimes known, is not just a popular spice, but also an active phytotherapy ingredient which has been used for hundreds of years...