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5 benefits of Turmeric

5 benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric is a hugely popular herbal supplement due to the powerful properties of its active ingredient, Curcumin. Here we explain the benefits of Curcumin and Turmeric and what to look out for.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a yellow spice from the root of the Turmeric plant traditionally used in Asian cooking. It contains 3 active compounds called curcuminoids. These curcuminoids are biologically active in the body and provide a multitude of benefits. Turmeric can be added to foods or drinks and even used topically (applying to your skin).

What is Curcumin?

The most studied and potent of the 3 types of curcuminoids in Turmeric is called Curcumin. It is the most common type found in food supplements and research shows it is the most biologically active.

Benefits of Turmeric

The active curcumins are fat soluble and therefore better absorbed if taken with a small amount of fat. Studies show that taking black pepper with turmeric also significantly aids the absorption of the active compounds. Historically, Curcumin & Turmeric have been used in Ayurvedic medicine. 

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Antioxidant

Turmeric is rich in antioxidants. These are compounds that mop up free radicals which are created by the body, ingested and inhaled.

Oxidative damage plays a role in many conditions and in the ageing process. Free radicals interfere with the proteins and DNA in cells and may affect the way genes express themselves. Additionally, studies show curcumin may increase the rate your body produces its own antioxidants, providing further benefits. 

Joints

Joint issues can occur for a few reasons, most often due to conditions such as arthritis or an injury. Almost all joint issues will involve some form of sensitivity contributing to discomfort experienced. Reducing sensitivity in the body can help to ease the symptoms.

Mental health

There is a very strong link between mind health and gut heath, as 90% of the happy hormones we make (serotonin) are made in the gut, and then transported into the brain. When there is not enough serotonin created, it leads to low moods. 

You may enjoy our expert nutritionists' blog: '5 foods to improve your mood' and 'How your diet can improve your mental health'. 

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Some studies have also shown curcumin increases a substance in the brain called brain-derived neurotropic factor which is a type of growth hormone for the brain. 

Skin

Turmeric’s antioxidant benefits are good for the skin. Antioxidants help to protect DNA from damage, and that includes part of the DNA which is responsible for producing collagen. Increased collagen production gives the skin more elasticity and a plumper appearance.

Ginger and Turmeric

Combining ginger and turmeric is a powerful pairing. Ginger contains the active substance gingerol, which is anti-inflammatory.

Ginger and turmeric can be consumed together, either fresh or dried and can be used in both foods and drinks. Try this golden latte recipe for an antioxidant boost and discover our fabulous gingerbread recipe.

By Shona Wilkinson, RN, mBANT, CNHC

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