Many of the age-old ancient Indian practices are being revived again; this time around, with scientific evidence to prove their efficacy. The usage of turmeric as a medicine and in cuisine for a healthy life is one such practice. We Indians are used to having turmeric or Haldi, in most of our dishes. Turmeric was also used to make poultices for various skin issues or wounds. Many Indian cultures follow the ‘haldi’ tradition in their pre-wedding rituals as a cleansing bath given to the bride and groom.
So, Haldi or turmeric is part and parcel of our lives. But, perhaps, it is only now that we realize its importance as a superfood, and understanding that there must have been a significant amount of wisdom applied by our ancestors, to make it an everyday affair in our lives. So, why is it being dubbed as the superfood now by the Western world?
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, which is an important one, in keeping is healthy as well as healing us, when we fall ill due to some infections and resulting inflammations. It helps our body to fight foreign particles and also helps repair it as well. Many common diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain other degenerative conditions have been linked to chronic inflammations.
Turmeric contains, curcumin, a powerful medicinal compound, which is highly anti-oxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. This is what makes turmeric a much-coveted medicinal spice, dubbed as a superfood. Curcumin fights inflammation in your body at the molecular level, and that makes it highly effective.
Turmeric, as mentioned above, is also having high anti-oxidant properties, that helps it fight the oxidative damage in our body. The various pollutants that we are exposed to cause free radicals to occur in our body, and these are highly damaging. Antioxidants protect our body from these free radicals, and that is why people are urged to eat foods rich with anti-oxidants.
The curcumins in turmeric help neutralize the free radicals as well as boosts the antioxidant enzyme activities present in our own body. Thus, it works in two ways to help fight and prevent free radicals.
Lowers risk of brain diseases
An essential factor of aging happens to be memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. Many of these brain disorders have been linked to reduced levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a type of growth hormone in the brain. The curcumin present in the turmeric can help increase the levels of BDNF in the brain, which, in turn, indicates that it can help prevent such brain disorders. One or two studies are even saying that these can, not just stop, but also reverse these brain disorders. What’s more, the studies even say that curcumin can help improve your memory and help you stay sharp.
Prevents or lowers the risk of heart diseases
The inflammation and oxidation process mentioned above plays a vital role in many heart diseases, and hence, the curcumin factor of turmeric can help you keep heart diseases at bay. There is also evidence that suggests that curcumin helps improve the functioning of endothelium, the lining of the blood vessels. And this directly benefits your heart; malfunctioning of the endothelium results in blood clotting, irregular blood pressures, and many other issues that wreak havoc with your heart. One of the studies which involved coronary bypass patients, who were assigned curcumin, concluded that it resulted in a 65% reduced risk of heart attacks.
One of the most popular benefits of curcumin that has been talked about a lot recently happens to be its anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that curcumin has restricted certain tumor growths, cause the death of cancer cells, and also prevent it from spreading, as it works at the molecular levels. It can even prevent certain cancers from occurring as well. Intensive studies are happening to see how curcumin can be used in cancer treatment, as a result of all these findings.
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric also make it highly effective for arthritis patients. So, with positive effects on the brain, cells, and overall body, and help in the prevention of many common diseases, it appears that turmeric can help you stay healthy and young.