Did you know that there are 53 different names and meanings for turmeric in the Sanskrit language?
Some of these meanings include, “a killer of fat”... “giving delight to heart”... and “one that wins over disease.”
The ancients also believed that if you use turmeric, you could experience prosperity and luck. It may even guarantee that you won’t be offered as a sacrifice!
Now, we have no evidence as to the latter… but when it comes to your health, the proof is abundant that turmeric does your body good. In fact, modern science has shown that turmeric can affect more than 150 biochemical pathways and provide benefits to almost every part of the human body.
A recent review of studies related to turmeric was published in the journal, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects.1 The authors pored over 3,000 publications, representing 25 years of turmeric research.
They summarized the major activities of turmeric to include: “antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antioxidant, antiseptic, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, radioprotective and digestive activities.”
Now, if that is not a powerful healing food, I don’t know what is…
And who knows, it just might bring you luck and prosperity! But even if it doesn't, let’s take a look at how it can help your body and why you should be using it daily.
The use of turmeric dates back almost 4000 years. It has been used as a food, a spice, medicine and a religious sacrament. It's from the ginger family of plants. It even looks identical on the outside!
When you cut it open, you reveal its beautiful golden color, brimming with potent polyphenols. It is the polyphenol known as curcumin that gives turmeric this color. And it is also what drives those mighty health benefits.
For example, turmeric scores an impressive 127,068 on the ORAC scale.2 The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) measures the strength of a food to neutralize free radicals. Turmeric is the 6th highest.
But could turmeric really ‘kill fat’ as the ancients proclaimed?
Turmeric Benefits: ‘Killer of Fat’
It might seem strange, but the King of Spices has shown great promise in the fight against obesity…
A recent review in Current Pharmacology Reports explains that the role of epigenetics may have something to do with how turmeric can regulate human pathologies, including obesity. Turmeric seems to exert an influence not just on the health of cell – but also on the DNA messages from within that cell.3
Another study conducted at the State University of New York suggests that it is the interaction of the strong anti-inflammatory nature of turmeric on white adipose tissue that may explain how it could not just reduce obesity, but also the health effects of it.4
Now, I don’t know about you, but adding turmeric to your diet sure seems like a tasty way to fight obesity.
And if you’re concerned with heart health, you’d also do well to include a daily dose of turmeric.
Curcumin: ‘Gives Delight to Heart’
In 2014, a study by The Center for Cancer Prevention Research found a strong influence by turmeric on cardiovascular complications in the diabetic population.
“A 6-month curcumin intervention in type-2 diabetic population lowered the atherogenic risks. In addition, the extract helped to improve relevant metabolic profiles in this high-risk population.” 5
During their study, the researchers measured the effectiveness of curcumin on six heart-disease parameters:
• Arterial stiffness
• Markers of inflammation
• Insulin resistance
• Triglyceride levels
• Uric acid levels
• Abdominal obesity
The researchers discovered that turmeric improved all six of these healthy heart markers!
Indian Saffron: ‘Wins Over Disease’
A nine-month study conducted by the American Diabetes Association tested turmeric on subjects with pre-diabetes. What they found was that turmeric had a 100% success rate in preventing type-2 diabetes.6
A large review of turmeric studies showed that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of turmeric, which cover the entire human body, including:
|Wound healing||Neuronal disease||Anti-fungal|
Do Your Body a Favor… Bathe In This Golden Spice
Some people do bathe in it - but that may get a bit messy for you. Yet, daily turmeric consumption does mean you are bathing your cells in it all the time, getting those amazing health benefits.
There are two rules to follow when using turmeric.
- Add black pepper. Research shows that turmeric is more bioavailable combined with pepper. This shouldn’t be too hard – just add pepper to a curry or any savory dish that contains turmeric!
- Eat it with a healthy fat. Science also shows that turmeric is more available when combined with fat. Spices are best when gently heated in a little oil, so they release their aromas and medicinal properties.
Adding Turmeric to Everyday Meals
Here are some other simple and delicious ways to get turmeric health benefits in your everyday meals:
1. Add a teaspoon to scrambled eggs and frittatas
2. Mix into free-range chicken or egg salad with some Paleo Mayo for creamy flavor and a boost in bioavailability
3. Make an Indian-spiced dressing (try avocado oil, turmeric, fresh ginger, garlic and black pepper) to drizzle over steamed veggies or use with stir-fries
4. Make a healing marinade using turmeric, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and fresh herbs (like cilantro or rosemary) and avocado oil. Marinate your favorite cuts of meat and fish like pastured pork tenderloin, wild salmon or grass-fed beef steaks and roasts. (Be sure to save some for drizzling!)
5. Make a Golden Chimichurri. Use a bunch of fresh parsley and cilantro, lemon or lime juice, avocado oil, turmeric, sea salt, black pepper and other spices of your choosing. Blend in a food processor or Magic Bullet and spoon over roast lamb, grass-fed flank steak, grilled pastured chicken legs and much more.
Or try this ancient health elixir - Golden Milk:
Combine the following ingredients.
- ½ tsp organic turmeric powder
- ½ tsp organic ginger powder
- a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom
- one cup of hot almond milk or coconut milk. (If you’re using “light” milk that’s lower in fat, be sure to add a little coconut oil to enhance the absorption of turmeric in your body.)
Turmeric is one of the most healthful and bioactive foods known to man. Not only will it add flavor to your cooking, but, quite possibly, years to your life!
We at US Wellness have known about the benefits of turmeric for some time. Here are some of our delicious products that already contain turmeric:
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- Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Chapter 13. Turmeric, the Golden Spice, From Traditional Medicine to Modern Medicine (review). Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd Edition. 2011.
- USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 - Prepared by Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - May 2010
- Chuengsamarn S, Rattanamongkolgul S, Phonrat B, Tungtrongchitr R, Jirawatnotai S. Reduction of atherogenic risk in patients with type 2 diabetes by curcuminoid extract: a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2014 Feb;25(2):144-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.09.013. Epub 2013 Nov 6.
- Bradford PG. Curcumin and obesity. Biofactors. 2013;39(1):78-87
- Boyanapalli SS, Tony Kong AN. "Curcumin, the King of Spices": Epigenetic Regulatory Mechanisms in the Prevention of Cancer, Neurological, and Inflammatory Diseases. Current Pharmacology Reports. 2015 Apr;1(2):129-139. Epub 2015 Jan 30.
- Chuengsamarn S, Rattanamongkolgul S, Luechapudiporn R, Phisalaphong C, Jirawatnotai S. Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2012 Nov ;35(11):2121-7. Epub 2012 Jul 6. PMID: 22773702
- Tilak J. C, Banerjee M, Mohan H, Devasagayam T. P. Antioxidant availability of turmeric in relation to its medicinal and culinary uses. Phytother Res. 2004;18:798–804