There’s no doubt that turmeric is one of the most highly prized spices in the world. Belonging to the ginger family, it has been used for thousands of years in East India and the Middle East. It’s actually unclear whether it was first used for its peppery flavor and the unique kick it lends to foods. While it’s been part of the Western diet since the 13th century, its popularity has been increasing only recently.
Ancient medicinal uses for turmeric began when it was noted as an anti-inflammatory agent, as well as helping ease a wide variety of conditions, such as jaundice, menstrual problems, blood in the urine, hemorrhaging, toothaches, bruises, chest pain, flatulence and colic.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is loaded with essential minerals, including magnesium, potassium and calcium. It’s also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6 and zinc, and contains healthy amounts of vitamin C and magnesium.
While it’s improbable that someone would ingest an entire ounce of turmeric in one sitting (although it would be completely safe), the nutritional aspects listed above can be easily obtained in this amount than in a teaspoon, which accounts for almost nothing. A more reasonable serving is about 1 tablespoon, which communicates excellent phytonutrients.
Research has shown that turmeric may help reduce gas and bloating, decrease congestion and improve skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Turmeric has been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in Chinese and Indian medicine for millennia. Curcumin, the primary pharmacological agent in this spice, contains proven effects in this area that are comparable to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents as well as some prescription medications. But curcumin doesn’t produce the toxic effect that synthetic drugs sometimes do, such as ulcer formation, increased bleeding and possible allergic reactions.
More reported health benefits of turmeric include relief from joint pain, which results in reduced joint swelling and greater range of motion.
Research also suggests that turmeric may be helpful in treating inflammatory bowel diseases, lowering cholesterol levels, supporting cardiovascular health, relieving indigestion, improving liver function and even reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Lowered risk of cancer and inhibited cancer cell growth – specifically cancer of the breast, colon, prostate, lung and childhood leukemia – are also on the list of possible benefits.