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11 Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

Turmeric is a type of plant, commonly used as a spice in cooking, that can help to decrease inflammation, prevent many inflammatory diseases, and much more.

A part of the ginger family, turmeric has a yellow color and contains a chemical property called curcumin. Curcumin is a concentrated part of the plant that can have significantly beneficial anti-inflammatory effects for those with joint or muscle pain, bone diseases, and more.

Middle Eastern dishes often contain turmeric, ranging from meat and vegetable recipes to vegetarian meals, saffron rice, and more. People in the Middle East have utilized the power of turmeric for centuries as a healing plant and spice. It became a popular addition in the West when benefits began to appeal to affected groups with chronic diseases and pain.

Turmeric and curcumin are not the same exactly, but similar in that curcumin is present in turmeric. Some like to add it as a spice to smoothies, egg or tofu scrambles, curries, and more, while others prefer the concentrated capsule form of curcumin to target pain and inflammation fast.

Health Benefits of Turmeric & Curcumin

Is it time to start turmeric and curcumin to your diet? Perhaps it is better to have it a few times a week or even once a week. The answer lies in the status of your health right now, including any ailments you may have, and if this powerful plant has anything to offer you.

Check out the information below to see the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin, along with the potential risks and interactions. Plus, find out how much to take for specific health circumstances.

1. It Can Reduce Pain Associated with Arthritis

Curcumin and turmeric contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which is why they are a lifesaver for those with joint pain when associated with Arthritis. Arthritis is one of the most common joint diseases around, where millions suffer annually.

Many studies show that curcumin and turmeric can have a positive effect on those who have Arthritis. Utilized for centuries as a medicinal supplement and spice, this plant has many benefits to support bone health.

Observational studies show that turmeric and curcumin can significantly reduce joint pain associated with Arthritis, (1) among many other positive benefits. Read on to see how else turmeric and curcumin can help you.

2. It May Help Improve Brain Health

Curcumin and turmeric may even help to promote brain health in many ways. It can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as improve memory and concentration. (2)

 

This ancient Indian herb has potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can protect against the exceedingly common Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease affects nearly six million Americans, and that number is steadily increasing.

Although there is a genetic component for developing Alzheimer’s disease, there are many promising studies that show there are potent preventive measures. Curcumin is merely one of those. A healthy diet and lifestyle can also promote brain health and reduce the risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease. (3)

The combination of all these habits can provide significant health benefits for many, including improving cognitive function.

3. It Can Improve Sleep Quality

Are you feeling unrested each morning? Maybe you are having trouble staying asleep. Curcumin and turmeric can even help to improve the quality of your sleep as well.

Millions of people suffer from sleep issues related to insomnia, trouble staying asleep, and more globally. While there are many factors to promoting a good night’s sleep, curcumin shows promise.

That is because there are potential neuro-restorative effects in curcumin that tested positively on rats. (4) More human studies are necessary, but some research suggests it may help with sleep issues. Make sure you are eating healthy, exercising often, and managing stress levels if you are having a hard time getting to sleep each night.

4. It May Improve Immune Function

A healthy immune system is necessary to prevent chronic disease, cancer, and to stay well for the long-haul. Curcumin may play a significant role in boosting immune function as well. Who doesn’t want a healthier immune system these days?

Between the antioxidant levels and anti-inflammatory properties, some research shows curcumin can even have tumor reducing qualities, making it a plant to take note of for cancer researchers. (5)

Curcumin can target many pathways correlated with cancer progression. Staying cancer-free requires many lifestyles and diet improvements as well. But curcumin shows to have promising qualities to be an effective supplement against cancer, pending you are physically well to take it.

5. It Can Improve Blood Circulation

Proper blood flow and circulation are essential for everybody to prevent blood clots, pain, heart disease, and much more. Curcumin and turmeric can help to improve blood circulation for many.

This Indian medicinal plant can increase nitrous oxide in the body, reducing oxidative stress, giving it the ability to improve blood flow. It also can constrict the arteries, helping to improve circulation. (6) (7)

Improving blood circulation can decrease the chances of developing many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of death globally. If heart disease runs in your family, ask your healthcare professional if taking curcumin may help you.

6. It May Prevent Colon Cancer

Colon cancer affected nearly 70 percent of the population from ages 50-75. That number is increasing annually, making it the second leading cause of death in the West.

When combined with resveratrol, one study shows that curcumin can have anticancer properties against colon cancer. (8)

There are other factors to consider for colon cancer as well. Heavy alcohol use, a poor diet high in red meat, and poor habits such as smoking tobacco are all correlated with a higher chance of colon cancer. Be sure to keep a healthy lifestyle and see if curcumin can help you prevent colon cancer, especially if it runs in your family or you have underlying risk factors.

7. It Can Improve Your Mood

It turns out, curcumin and turmeric can even help to give you a mood boost as well. Since this Indian plant has powerful benefits on the brain, it can also lower the risk of depression.

If you are feeling down or depressed lately, curcumin and turmeric can help give you a boost. Regulating your mood requires many other factors as well.

It is essential to manage your stress levels with relaxation techniques, eat a healthy diet, and exercise to give your mood a boost, too.

8. It May Help You Lose Weight

While more research is necessary to support this claim, curcumin and turmeric can even help you drop a few pounds.

Curcumin and turmeric are full of potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are necessary at reducing oxidative stress in the body, making it a critical component of weight loss.

Although it can help, weight gain can be associated with a wide range of underlying reasons. These can include hormonal fluctuations, water retention, a nutrient-poor diet high in processed foods, a lack of portion control with food, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Keep all these lifestyle habits in mind if you are trying to lose weight.

9. It Can Lower the Risk of Stroke

Because curcumin and turmeric prove to be effective at decreasing the risk of blood clotting and cardiovascular disease, they may also have the potential to lower the risk of stroke.

One study shows that curcumin delayed the start of the stroke, and it even increased the survival time in participants. (9)

Using curcumin and turmeric can even help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure as well. High blood pressure and stroke affect millions of people worldwide, and that amount is increasingly on the rise.

10. It May Regulate Blood Sugar

Curcumin may even have a powerful effect on those with Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes affects millions around the globe and is at a steady increase annually. Some studies show that there may be a connection between curcumin and blood sugar regulation. (5)

Keep in mind that curcumin is not the sole answer to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. You must keep a healthy weight, eat well, and exercise to ward off this common disease, too.

Along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, see if curcumin is right for you to help manage type 2 diabetes. Curcumin supplementation may be a great addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle for those with blood sugar imbalances.

Talk to your doctor and ask if it is safe to try adding a curcumin supplement to your routine.

11. It Can Decrease Headaches

Headaches can arise from stress, tension, hormonal changes, eye strain, and much more. But can curcumin help to diminish them for good?

Some research shows that curcumin can be a game-changing supplement for the occasional headache. Curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory properties that can help to ease tension-based and migraine headaches.

One study done by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that participants displayed fewer symptoms of migraines when given curcumin supplementation. (10) Although more human studies are necessary, it can be helpful to add some curcumin if you have a headache.

Curcumin is also a less invasive headache reliever than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil because NSAIDs can come with many side effects, and they should never be taken long-term for that reason. There is also evidence that NSAIDs can lead to gut dysfunction in the form of bleeding, inflammation, and more. (11)

How Much Turmeric or Curcumin Should You Take?

The dosage or amount of curcumin and turmeric varies per person and ailment. Turmeric is the spice, and many enjoy adding some to meals for flavor and color, such as eggs or tofu to mimic eggs.

Curcumin typically comes in supplement form, and the recommended dosage is six grams per day, and the maximum dosage is eight grams per day.

Always talk to your healthcare provider and do you research on what works best for you. Maybe you only need to take it once a week or every few days. Everyone’s bodies are different in how they will respond to curcumin.

Side Effects and Interactions of Turmeric and Curcumin

Turmeric and curcumin are considered safe orally for the short-term, at around two months or so. Fewer grams can be taken up to three months safely.

Most do not experience any side effects when taking curcumin and turmeric, although some rare ones exist when taken at exceedingly high doses.

Rare side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach

Avoid taking turmeric if you have:

  • Gallbladder problems
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Diabetes (should be carefully monitored by a doctor as it can lower blood sugar-see above)
  • Iron deficiency (It can affect absorption levels)
  • Surgery
  • Infertility

Curcumin and turmeric rarely provide any side effects, and if they do happen, they are at extremely high dosages.

If you suffer from any of the above ailments of problems, see if curcumin or turmeric can help in your wellness journey.

Conclusion

Curcumin and turmeric come from the turmeric plant in India, giving off powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

The potent properties in the plant can help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, many cancers, depression, mood disorders, and much more.

Is curcumin or turmeric ok to start adding to your routine?

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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, and written, fact-checked & medically reviewed by health experts.

Throughout this article, you'll find scientific references (clickable links to highly trusted peer-reviewed scientific papers, links denoted by the numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3)).