It's easy to see why turmeric has become one of the most popular spices in the wellness category. The medicinal herb and powerful anti-inflammatory agent has long been used as the main healing herb in Ayurvedic medicine, but now its restorative powers have been recognized by the masses. So why is everyone stocking up on a bottle of the bold spice? The benefits of turmeric are difficult to count. From providing added mental clarity (and combatting Alzheimer's) to helping to protect against cancer, turmeric benefits, especially that of one of its healing compounds, curcumin, span a breadth of health concerns.
Daily use of turmeric protects cells from free radical damage (slowing down signs of aging), aids digestion, and regulates metabolism, enhances the health of internal organs, and heals wounds while acting as a natural pain reliever. We've outlined (just some of) the benefits of turmeric below in case you need a refresher or if you're looking to incorporate turmeric into your daily regimen—whether that means popping a capsule or integrating the spice into your cooking. Keep scrolling to learn the incredible benefits of turmeric.
Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory
One of turmeric's most popular properties is its power to reduce inflammation. Curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds.
Boosts Immune System
Turmeric can greatly improve the immune system. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-microbial properties give the body the tools it needs to defend itself and optimize immune system health.
Improves Digestive System
Turmeric has become a popular natural digestive aid, thanks to its ability to relieve bloating and curcumin's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which protect the digestive tract from infection and aid stomach health. Turmeric also helps with acid reflux and inflammatory bowel disease.
Acts as a Natural Painkiller
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric acts as a natural painkiller strong enough to be used for post-surgical pain and burn injuries. Additionally, turmeric has been shown to speed up post-operative recovery while combatting fatigue and pain, thanks to its wound-healing, anti-microbial, and immune-boosting properties.
Curcumin supplementation can reduce high cholesterol levels in 12 weeks.
Improves Brain Function
Curcumin has been found to restore memory impaired by brain damage and can even help in preventing and treating Alzheimer's disease.
Reduces Risk of Certain Cancers
Turmeric has been lauded as a cancer-fighting agent. Research has found that curcumin has the power to help prevent the growth of and even kill cancer cells and boost the effects of chemotherapy. According to the American Cancer Society, curcumin "interferes with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth, and spread."
Supports Heart health
High-dose supplementation of curcuminoids has been found to reduce the incidence of heart attacks after surgery.
Lightens and Fades Stretch Marks
As part of its healing properties, turmeric applied topically can have beneficial effects on the skin including lightening and fading stretch marks.
Improves Liver Health
Turmeric provides a handful of benefits for the liver, including protecting it from toxicity (related to heavy alcohol consumption, drugs, poisonous compounds, and heavy metals), yields a 78.9% improvement in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and aids in liver fibrosis treatment.
Turmeric can have a significant effect on one's mood, going so far as to help treat depressive disorders. A 2014 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that "curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD" (major depressive disorder, such as manic depression). Preliminary studies have also suggested that consuming curcumin can help with post traumatic stress disorder by reducing the reactivation of fear memories.
Looking for a delicious way to incorporate turmeric into your diet? Here are three tasty turmeric recipes your body and skin will thank you for.