Turmeric is a widely known herb with several culinary and therapeutic values. But, what can happen if you eat it every day? Read on to recognize the impressive health benefits of turmeric and curcumin and how they can boost your heart health and relieve joint pain.
- What Is Turmeric and Why Is It So Important?
Turmeric is a popular spice extracted from the rhizomes of the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa L.) that gives curry its golden color. Different cultures, especially Asian ones, have recognized the culinary and medicinal values of this herb and used it for many purposes. It contains several beneficial compounds, most notably curcumin, that play a key role in the prevention and treatment of manifold diseases. These include arthritis, metabolic syndrome, hyperlipidemia, Alzheimer’s disease, age-related macular degeneration, certain types of cancer, and more.
- What Is Curcumin?
Curcumin, a polyphenol, is the main bioactive component of turmeric. Several sources of evidence have shown it has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. However, due to its poor bioavailability, it has a low concentration in turmeric that can go, at best, up to 3.14 mg per 100 grams serving of turmeric.
- How Much Curcumin Should You Take Per Day?
There is no unanimity on the recommended daily intake of curcuminoids, but most studies use doses of 450-1300 mg of turmeric per day or 230mg of curcumin in one tablespoon of turmeric. Since reaching the DV for curcumin can be quite difficult eating turmeric only, you can consume other curcumin-based products, such as soups, drinks and dietary supplement capsules, all while avoiding overdose which can lead to liver injury.
- How to Use Turmeric to Reduce Inflammation?
The therapeutic properties of turmeric are partly attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is your body’s reaction to attacks from harmful substances and allergens, which is triggered by an intercellular signaling cascade to the immune defense system telling it to repair tissue damage.
Although beneficial, inflammation can lead to serious complications if it persists for a long time. In fact, chronic inflammation has been linked to numerous chronic diseases, including heart disease, asthma, osteoarthritis, diabetes, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and more.
In this sense, curcumin can help fight chronic inflammation by targeting the main inflammation pathways and disease and transcription factors, namely Tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), nuclear factor (NF)-κB and Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3), at the molecular level.
- What Are the Antioxidant Effects of Turmeric?
The therapeutic properties of turmeric are also associated with its excellent antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals that can cause damage to cells, such as protein and DNA, through oxidation. Oxidative stress has been shown to contribute to several neurodegenerative diseases and other chronic diseases.
Curcumin is a potent chain-breaking antioxidant with favorable effects on most of the above-mentioned diseases. Besides eliminating free radicals, it can increase serum activates of other antioxidants in your body, which enhances the effectiveness of your antioxidant system.
- Can I Improve My Heart Health with Turmeric?
The short answer is: yes, and just about all scientific publications on the question acknowledge the key role of turmeric in the prevention and treatment of heart disease. In conjunction with adequate behavior and dietary changes, it can slow down or even reverse heart disease. One way turmeric consumption can help your heart health by preventing sodium fluoride intoxication which can lead to hypertension, arteriosclerosis and myocardial infarction. Moreover, turmeric also helps fight chronic inflammation and oxidative stress (as previously mentioned), both of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
- Does Turmeric Relieve Joint Pain?
It is safe to say there enough evidence to suggest that complementary and alternative medicines, such as turmeric, can indeed help soothe joint pain. For instance, one study on the anti-arthritic effects of turmeric and turmeric extracts on patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis found that curcumin improves physical function and reduces pain and other inflammatory markers when used as a dietary complement to Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) (Source). Although the mechanisms of action of curcumin on arthritis symptoms are yet to be examined, its effects are well-documented.