Turmeric, aka the golden spice of India, is considered by many to have some really amazing properties. It may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence. Many high-quality studies show that it has major benefits for your body and brain. In particular, scientists are very interested in the potential health benefits of curcumin, the pigment in turmeric that gives it such a bright yellow colour.
Curcumin is thought to:
- aid digestion
- be a potent anti inflammatory – can help with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and bowel disease
- be very high in antioxidants – oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases.
- boost levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in your brain.
- have beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease. It improves the function of the endothelium and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.
- be effective as an anti-depressant
- help speed recovery after surgery
Scientists are also studying its potential for improving cognitive function, blood sugar balance and kidney function.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. Sounds good but, like most things, there is a caveat. Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. There is evidence that using turmeric in your cooking – a curry for example – helps you ingest more curcumin. But, if you don’t want every meal to taste of curry or to stain your kitchen vivid yellow, you might find it much easier to take a reputable supplement instead.
It’s not suitable though if you have an allergy to soy, or if you are taking blood thinning medicines. And, of course, if you are taking any medication it is best to consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplement.