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Turmeric is one of the most researched botanicals throughout the world, often called the "spice of life." I first learned of the incredible ways turmeric benefits our health when I spent time in India. I would go to the farmer's markets, where I discovered that turmeric is their most treasured plant.
Since then, I have grown to revere it and even use it every single day as part of my health and beauty regimen. It’s truly what taught me to think of food as medicine. And now I'd like to share all I’ve learned about this incredible spice with you.
To learn how it helps to cool inflammation, ease common pains, and even support your overall health, keep reading as I explain why turmeric deserves a place in both your kitchen and your medicine cabinet!
What Is Turmeric?
One of the most ceremonial ingredients on Earth, turmeric is a bright orange spice found in the root of the plant Curcuma longa. Historically, turmeric was used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to promote the health of skin, joints, digestion, and the upper respiratory tract.
While health practitioners have known about the many ways turmeric benefits our health for thousands of years, these benefits were only first published in scientific findings in the early 1800s. Now, turmeric is primarily revered for its inflammation-cooling and antioxidant properties found in its primary active compound, curcumin.
Curcumin is a polyphenol known to benefit the body at the cellular level. As a result, consuming turmeric benefits your health in a variety of ways, such as supporting everything from metabolic health to your organs. Let’s take a closer look at some of the popular health benefits of turmeric.
Top 6 Ways Turmeric Benefits Your Health
So, what are the benefits of turmeric? Here are a few of the ways turmeric can support your health.
1. Helps fight inflammation
Due to the inflammation-cooling properties in curcumin, turmeric benefits your health by fighting harmful inflammation—and this is especially true in your gut.
When curcumin is absorbed, it tends to concentrate in your gut and GI tract. Additionally, curcumin has been found to help fight the development of proinflammatory molecules in intestinal epithelial cells, which, in turn, supports the intestinal barrier function and overall gut bacteria.
But there’s more: The curcumin in turmeric can cross the blood-brain barrier, thereby offering neuroprotective effects. In fact, curcumin is one of only a few compounds known to be able to cross this barrier, meaning it helps to fight inflammation in both the brain and throughout the body!
2. Promotes cardiovascular health
Heart disease and related poor cardiovascular health claim one death every 34 seconds in the U.S., making it the country’s leading cause of death. Fortunately, turmeric benefits also extend to promoting cardiovascular health by supporting the function of the endothelium lining the blood vessels. Studies reveal that turmeric may also reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
3. Supports healthy blood sugar levels
It’s no secret that high blood sugar wreaks havoc on your body in all sorts of ways—from weight gain to an increased risk for both diabetes and heart disease. But that’s not all: High glucose levels also accelerate the aging process, inside and out, even affecting your appearance.
Interestingly, some research shows that people with type 2 diabetes who had elevated blood sugar were more likely to appear older than those with lower blood sugar. But it turns out that turmeric can help to support healthy blood sugar levels, meaning turmeric benefits for skin are linked through this connection.
So, how does turmeric impact your blood sugar? Research has shown that the curcumin in turmeric can support healthy blood sugar levels by supporting insulin’s ability to bind to sugar. One important note: Given this knowledge, anyone taking diabetes medications or insulin should monitor their blood sugar levels while also consuming turmeric.
4. Helps ease common joint aches and pains
Thanks in large part to its inflammation-cooling properties, the curcumin in turmeric benefits your joint health and can even help ease common aches and pains that are inflammatory in origin. In fact, some studies have shown that turmeric may even help reduce joint swelling.
5. Promotes calm and stable moods
People are often surprised to learn that turmeric benefits your mental health as well by promoting calm, stable moods. But how does it do this? Research has shown that curcumin often can help fight feelings of anxiety and sadness. Additionally, it’s been found that turmeric also benefits your brain health by supporting the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, further promoting a feeling of calm.
6. Supports liver health
Finally, one could argue that consuming turmeric benefits whole-body health—and that’s primarily due to the fact that it’s been shown to support liver health. This is one of the most important health benefits of turmeric because of the role of your liver in your body, as it is responsible for over 500 important functions.
Your liver is responsible for filtering out any toxins from your blood, digesting fats, regulating blood sugar levels, and even storing certain nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, and more! Because turmeric contains inflammation-cooling and antioxidant properties, researchers have surmised that it supports liver health.
How to Take Turmeric
So, what’s the best way to take turmeric? While often used in curry dishes, turmeric is a versatile spice that can be utilized in a variety of ways. Some great suggestions include making a delicious turmeric golden milk or turmeric tea, or using it in a health-promoting snack, satisfying salad, or filling breakfast bowl.
While it’s great to consume in your food, turmeric is most effective when taken in supplement form. Let’s take a look at some of the best supplements featuring turmeric.
Best Products Featuring Turmeric
When looking at the many turmeric supplements on the market, choose one that’s free of black pepper, such as Advanced Turmeric Gold, which makes it easier on the stomach.
I recommend Advanced Turmeric Gold for a few reasons. First, it’s well known that turmeric doesn’t remain bioavailable for very long, meaning it typically doesn’t remain in an absorbable state. But Advanced Turmeric Gold is the only turmeric supplement that can stay in the blood for up to 24 hours, versus the standard one to four hours of other turmeric supplements, making it 24 times more bioavailable than other alternatives.
Second, when choosing a quality turmeric supplement, pick one that provides the full research-based amount and was extracted in the proper way. And make sure to use organic curcumin that has been extracted using carbon dioxide. Because curcumin is condensed and extracted from the root, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not getting any herbicides or pesticides that can be found in conventionally grown turmeric. Advanced Turmeric Gold contains the scientifically-supported amount of 300 mg and extracted using carbon dioxide, which is a solvent-free process.
Remember that choosing a quality turmeric supplement that you feel comfortable taking daily can support your health in a variety of ways. It’s critical to give your body the best opportunity to be the healthiest it can be and allow yourself to create your best biophysical state because you deserve to live your best, healthiest life.
- Turmeric is one of the most researched botanicals throughout the world, often called the "spice of life" and primarily revered for its inflammation-cooling and antioxidant properties.
- The primary active compound in turmeric, known as curcumin, contains its powerful health-promoting properties.
- Turmeric benefits include helping fight inflammation, supporting heart health and healthy blood sugar levels, easing common aches and pains, promoting stable moods, and supporting liver health.
- While it's idea to consume turmeric in your foods on a regular basis, to get the most benefit, consider taking a quality supplement such as Advanced Turmeric Gold that was specifically designed for optimal bioavailability.