Properties and Benefits of Turmeric: A member of the ginger family, turmeric (Curcuma longa) boasts exceptional healing properties and has been an important part of traditional Indian and Chinese medicine for thousands of years and continues to do so. The spice is a exceptional source of vitamin B6, B3, B2, C and E, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.
It appears to have such incredible health benefits that the Indian people have used it as a miracle-remedy for an unbelievably wide range of medical conditions, from infections, open wounds to skin and pulmonary problems and even tumours. Interesting enough, ongoing medical trials appear to support the idea that turmeric is an unbelievably potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer food.
Turmeric is extensively cultivated in the southern parts of the Asian continent for both culinary and medicinal purposes and is thus both a spice and an herb. The plant loves rain and sunshine and can grow to a height of about 1 meter. Turmeric roots have a slightly spicy, bitter taste and a beautiful yellow to orange color.
Curcumin is a natural phenol found in turmeric and is responsible for the plant’s yellow pigmentation. Scientists believe curcumin to be an incredibly effective antiarthritic, antioxidant, anticancer, as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-amyloid and anti-ischemic agent. Preliminary laboratory research thus appears to support the claims of traditional Chinese and Indian medicine and gives us all hope that maybe turmeric will provide the cure for arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and coronary heart disease.
Turmeric is cholesterol-free and boasts a high dietary fiber content. Dietary fiber helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, relieves constipation and promotes easy, regular bowel movements. In addition to this, it contains valuable essential oils: curlone, curumene, cineole, termerone and p-cymene, all of which have positive impacts on human health.
Moreover, turmeric is a great source of vitamins and minerals. For instance, 100 g of fresh turmeric provides 138% of the recommended daily allowance of pyridoxine or vitamin B6. It also contains moderate amounts of niacin, folate and riboflavin, B-group vitamins that, among other things, ensure the proper distribution of energy throughout the body.
Also, turmeric has generous amounts of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant-vitamin with amazing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Vitamin C not only boosts immunity and offers protection against bacterial infections, but also counteracts the harmful effects of free radicals and promotes collagen production. Last but not least, vitamin E ensures beautiful, radiant skin.
As far as minerals are concerned, turmeric boasts an incredible iron content: 517% of the recommended daily intake. Iron is an essential component for the production of red blood cells, playing a crucial role in the prevention of anemia. The spice also contains more than generous amounts of manganese: 340% of the RDI, recommended daily intake. Manganese is a mineral with potent antioxidant effects (to be more precise, it is a crucial co-factor for the superoxide dismutase enzyme, a sort of natural antioxidant defense of our body).
Turmeric is a rich source of zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, calcium and potassium as well. While zinc is important for enhancing the immune activity of the body, magnesium optimizes both calcium and potassium absorption. Also, magnesium promotes healthy muscles (heart-included) and his fellow mineral, potassium, regulates body fluids and heart pressure. For further information on vitamins and minerals, you can go to this page.
Overall, turmeric is a wonder-spice, capable of offering us protection against a crazy number of debilitating and life-threatening medical conditions. Due to its strong antioxidant activity, it is believed to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, tumour proliferation, heart disease and infections.
Whether you prefer to purchase it at the supermarket or grow it yourself (which is always wise), turmeric can have positive effects on your health. Revered by both Chinese and Indian traditional medicine, turmeric has caught the eye of modern medicine as well.