Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Our rich heritage has endowed us with many amazing treasures. Turmeric is one such incredible gift from spice world. Also, known as Indian saffron, Kanchani (in Sanskrit) or Haldi (in Hindi), the rich golden yellow colored spice is an intimate part of households; from our spice boxes on the kitchen shelves to part of our religious ceremonies, haldi is part of every family.
It is really difficult to even imagine our meals without the richness of turmeric. Turmeric is not just all about the rich yellow color or enhancing the taste of dish but also a proud bearer of incredible medicinal properties. It carries with it healing properties that have been used since decades in Ayurvedic, traditional Chinese, and Siddhic medicinal traditions.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric comes from the ground roots of a flowering plant of the ginger family. Turmeric is available for cooking use in the powder and solid form.
The extracts of turmeric are used in various medicines and are blended with other ingredients to get a medicinal output. Apart from cooking the rich spice is also used for holy purposes and is part of various religious ceremonies and a natural coloring agent for homemade cosmetics.
Unique Chemical Profile- What Turmeric Is Made Up Of?
Turmeric is made up of more than 100 extraordinary compounds that contribute to its magical powers. These components are responsible for the unique properties that make turmeric a much-loved spice among all. The most important compound present in Turmeric is Curcumin, a polyphenol which is actually an organic chemical known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is also responsible for the orange-yellow color of the turmeric root. Curcuminoids is the chemical compound group responsible for the amazing health benefits of turmeric; the group is made up of:
The unique chemical composition of turmeric includes:
The composition or the ingredients that makeup turmeric is the reason behind the great benefits that turmeric offers.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric has a lot to offer when it comes to health benefits. This is the reason why turmeric is such a sought-after spice and a must to each Indian home. Turmeric offers several health benefits like:
Turmeric is a versatile spice and it has been seen that one spoon full of it is rich in healthy calories, proteins, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, manganese, iron, potassium, and vitamin C. Turmeric is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory property and is helpful in various inflammatory conditions like Irritable Bowel Disease (IBS), Alzheimer’s, chronic stiffness, eczema, asthma, chronic fatigue. However, the curcumin content of the turmeric available in our spices is not very high, so it is best to use some turmeric supplements.
Pain Relieving Benefits
Turmeric is also believed to have pain relieving properties. There are studies which show that it is helpful in people who have arthritis in their knee; it acts as ibuprofen for them.
Oxidative damage is one of the mechanisms involved in the process of aging and many diseases. It includes free radicals which lead to tissue damage in the body. Curcumin present in turmeric is known to have potent anti-oxidant property. Due to its chemical structure, it acts as a potent anti-oxidant by neutralizing the free radicals. It also helps in boosting the activity of the body’s antioxidant enzyme.
Lowers the risk of Heart Diseases
These days heart disease is the leading cause of death. A regular intake of Curcumin helps in reversing the many steps involved in the heart disease process. Apart from that it also aids in reducing the inflammation and the oxidation, which do play a role in heart disease.
Lowering the risk of Brain Diseases
Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor or BDNF is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. It has been noted that curcumin helps in increasing the levels of BDNF. It may also be useful in delaying or reversing brain diseases.
Turmeric has strong anti-microbial properties that help in fighting against bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including flu or herpes.
Digestive and Liver Tonic
Turmeric helps in increasing the bile flow from the gallbladder into the intestines, and it helps in supporting the liver function and the digestive problems. Apart from that it also helps in liver detoxification. With its known benefits, it also helps with the gut inflammation and the gut permeability.
Turmeric is not just laden with flavors but is also full of several medical properties that helps in various ailments like:
- Inflammatory conditions
- Skin diseases
- Digestive ailments
- Liver conditions
The other health benefits of turmeric are:
- Helpful in a range of gastrointestinal disorders
- Destruction of chronically diseased cells within the brain and the body
- Treating depression
- Managing Type 2 Diabetes
- Pre-menstrual syndrome
- Controlling High cholesterol
- Treating Headaches
- Good for cold and sore throat
- Cures acne
- Reducing the risk of cancer
Incorporate turmeric in life using these simple formulas
- Golden milk – Grandma’s favorite recipe. Just add half a spoon of turmeric in a warm cup of milk. Boosts your immunity, saves from bacterial & fungal infections, prevents cancer and the list goes on. And hence, Grandma’s favorite.
- Turmeric tea – Add turmeric to boiling water and reduce to simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Strain the tea and add honey or lemon for taste. Including all the health benefits of turmeric, it will also help in losing weight.
- Smoothie – Increase the health benefits of a smoothie by adding turmeric to it. It will only change its color but not the taste.
- Top your salad – Sprinkling some turmeric powder on salad is also largely beneficial. It just adds to nutrition value and never changes the taste.
- Face pack – Adding some amount of turmeric in any and all homemade face packs will help you increase the benefits of the pack and will surely give you glowing skin.
Nutritional value of Turmeric
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one tablespoon (tbsp) of turmeric powder contains:
|Total fat||0.31 g|
|Potassium||5% of daily need|
|Total carbohydrates||6.31 g|
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
|Vitamin C||3% of daily need|
|Iron||16% of daily need|
|Magnesium||26% of daily need|
Benefits of turmeric are scientifically proven. Looking at them it is not wrong to call it a reservoir of health and goodness. All of them will only help in making the life of a person easy and healthy. Hence, it becomes important to add turmeric in regular life. One can find ample amount of ways to use turmeric on regular basis.
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