Style & ShowbizHealth

Try turmeric today

HealthBy Sunday World
Try turmeric today

If you're new to spices, you may not have heard of turmeric. But as well as being the item that can give your favourite curry its yellow colour, it has been used in India for thousands of years as a medicinal herb. This is because it contains something called curcumin, which has multiple benefits. So with this in mind, we are taking a look at just some of the ways that the handy little spice can make a big difference to your health.

Anti-inflammatory

It's now believed that low-level inflammation plays a key part in almost every chronic, Western disease including heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions. But turmeric and its element of curcumin can act as an excellent anti-inflammatory.

Antioxidant

Free radicals are our bodies' foe, as they can react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA, which in turn can lead to signs of ageing as well as be a factor in certain diseases. So the antioxidant properties of curcumin can help protect our bodies from free radicals, as it can neutralise them due to its chemical structure while also boosting the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

Increased brain function

Curcumin in turmeric boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain. It could also help improve your memory.

Lowers heart disease risks

Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world. And while we're not saying that adding a dash of turmeric to your meals will cure you or stop you from developing any issues at a later stage, it can improve the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure. Blood clotting and various other factors can also be a problem. But with an improved function, hopefully these potential medical issues can be kept at bay.

Fights depression

This is more relevant to curcumin in its purest form than the level that is found in turmeric. But it has shown some promise in treating depression. In a controlled trial, 60 patients were split into three groups, one of which took Prozac, the second took a gram of curcumin and the third group took both Prozac and curcumin. After six weeks, curcumin had led to improvements that were similar to Prozac. The group that took both Prozac and curcumin fared best, which means it has the potential to be an antidepressant.

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