Some of the health benefits of turmeric have been known for thousands of years. It was and still is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine. But, some of the turmeric health benefits have only recently been discovered by modern scientists.
Here's a look at the short and long-term health benefits of turmeric.
Digestive Problems & Infections
Some of the plant's earliest uses were to treat digestive problems and infections. It was used to reduce bruising, scarring and prevent infection in external injuries. Scientific evaluation of these turmeric health benefits have shown that a compound within it, called curcumin, does, in fact, have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity.
As far as the turmeric health benefits for digestion go, researchers have not spent too much time looking at that. It is said to reduce gas and bloating, when included with a meal.
These are the health benefits of turmeric that have been of most interest to modern scientists. Many plant compounds, as well as common vitamins like A, C and E, have been shown to have some effect on cancer cells in the laboratory.
Curcumin is one of the ones that cause the death of cancer cells, without having any negative effect on healthy cells.
Others like it include green tea and resveratrol, although resveratrol in high quantities does have a negative affect on some cells, including the heart.
To date, researchers have looked at the turmeric health benefits in pancreatic, colon, prostate, breast, cervical, liver and many other types of cancer. Clinical trials are currently ongoing to see what benefit, if any, there is for those that have been diagnosed with the disease.
But, there is a general consensus that including plant compounds of this type in your daily date may significantly reduce your cancer risk.
Type II Diabetes Prevention and Treatment
This is a new area of study. In Ayurvedic medicine, the health benefits of turmeric were not used to treat or help prevent diabetes. They used bitter melon and gymnema sylvestre, among other things.
The recent studies indicate that curcumin may protect the brain and organs from damage by glucose.
It may decrease glucose production in the liver and increase insulin production. The reason that this benefit was not recognized by Ayurvedic practitioners is likely because curcumin has low bioavailability when eaten.
It is quickly degraded by stomach acid. An enteric coating prevents that degradation. Effective supplements have that type of coating.
Arthritis & Other Inflammatory Diseases
Chronic inflammation plays a role in many diseases, including cancer and heart disease. The pain caused by inflammation and damage done to the joints by inflammatory molecules can be reduced with natural anti-inflammatories. They are much safer and more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs. Green tea and resveratrol also have anti-inflammatory activity. You can get the turmeric health benefits and those found in other plant extracts, with specially formulated, multi-nutritional supplements. Remember that many of the health benefits of turmeric require that the compound gets to your bloodstream.
An enteric coating is a must.