The Unsung Benefits of Turmeric... and Why You Should Use It

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Read all about how helpful turmeric can be!

The Incredible Benefits of Turmeric

When you hear of turmeric, you probably think of it as that spice that gives many Indian dishes such a rich gold color. For thousands of years, turmeric has been used in medicine in the Indian subcontinent and surrounding area and it's only recently that Western medicine has opened their eyes to the fact that they were onto something all along. More than 3,000 peer-reviewed studies have been published on the health benefits of turmeric in just the last 25 years alone. India still grows 80 percent of the world's supply of turmeric.

Turmeric has some truly wonderful health benefits, too many to even get into in just one article, though we're excited to dig into three pretty important ones. After reading this article, you'll be eager to order a turmeric latte, drink a turmeric tea, or hit up the closest Indian restaurant!

1. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory

The active ingredient in turmeric is something call curcumin, which is known for fighting inflammation and being full of antioxidants. The curcumin in turmeric fights inflammation at the molecular level, blocking a molecule called NF-kB, which is linked to many different inflammatory diseases like arthritis and IBD. Studies have found turmeric to be just as effective as medication but without the side effects that many anti-inflammatory medications have. In fact, one study found of rheumatoid arthritis found 500 mg a day of curcumin was more beneficial than diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug.

2. It helps with depression

While there isn't a cure for depression, there are things our there that can help and it turns out that turmeric is one of them! Depression can have a devastating impact on the brain, including shrinking the hippocampus, which emotion, memory, and learning, and reducing levels of your brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which has many important duties. Taking curcumin can actually boost BDNF levels back up over time and even reverse the damage. Higher serotonin and dopamine may also be side effects of taking curcumin. A study actually found that people that took curcumin in addition to Prozac fared better than those just on Prozac or just taking curcumin for depression.

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3. Turmeric helps with digestion

Turmeric is an excellent aid for digestion because it already contains many of the minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and anti-inflammatory compounds you need to "help acid production, muscle movement, and nutrient absorption to keep things moving like they should." The curcumin in turmeric:

• helps the muscle walls of the intestines relax

• balances gut flora in the colon

• increases production of stomach mucous

• eliminates cholesterol

• prevents gas and bloating during digestion

• relieves IBS symptoms

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