Turmeric has been held in high esteem in many cultures for thousands of years, and these traditional beliefs have been consolidated by a wealth of modern research into the properties of this distinctive yellow powder. You may have heard it’s a great supplement and all-around boost for the immune system; but, what exactly is turmeric powder good for and does it really work? There are many answers, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the major uses of turmeric powder in the modern world.
The secret behind turmeric's healing properties
While turmeric contains a variety of chemical compounds, the most important of which is a group of plant-based nutrients called curcuminoids. Curcumin is the most important compound within this group and is the main active ingredient that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Due to the low concentration and absorption levels of curcumin in turmeric, combining it with an activator like black pepper vastly improves its effectiveness. With turmeric, black pepper and 15 other activators, TurmeriX is the ultimate way to enjoy the wonderful benefits of this natural superfood.
Turmeric as an anti-inflammatory
While inflammation is an important and healthy function of the body in the fight against viruses, bacteria and other nasty invasions, it’s an unpleasant condition when it gets out of control. Aside from being extremely uncomfortable, long-term inflammation is not suitable for typical over-the-counter remedies, as they carry undesirable side effects and health risks when used for an extended period.
One of the reasons turmeric powder is good for you is that it’s an extremely potent anti-inflammatory. How? Curcumin's relationship with inflammation can be highly complex, but at it's most basic level, it works by blocking pathways for the process at a molecular level. Since inflammation is associated with so many diseases, turmeric can be used to relieve pain, swelling and other symptoms of inflammation in a variety of contexts. It’s particularly popular for sufferers of osteoarthritis.
Turmeric as an antioxidant
The aging process and many diseases involve oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can cause disruptions in the body. Antioxidants are vital for protecting the body from free radicals and the damage they can cause. Due to its curcumin content, turmeric is an extremely potent one.
Uses for turmeric powder as an antioxidant are based on its function on two different levels. First, the chemical structure of curcumin allows it to nullify free radicals when absorbed into the body. Second, it helps you stay protected by enhancing the production of antioxidant enzymes produced naturally within the body. This combination gives turmeric powder two major healing benefits as an antioxidant.
The healing properties of turmeric for skin
Once again, turmeric has proven itself to be a truly versatile natural health supplement. Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, increase the body’s antioxidant capacity, protect from bacteria and inhibit negative processes, turmeric can be very beneficial for the skin – particularly for acne scars and boils.
As with many of turmeric’s uses, curcumin is the powerhouse behind its effectiveness. There are many different turmeric recipes available for treating boils and acne scars, with popular additions including honey, lemon, milk, yogurt, aloe vera and more.
Turmeric to treat depression, anxiety and brain health
Turmeric powder’s healing properties aren’t limited to its role as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant: it can also benefit your brain.
It was only recently discovered that neurons are actually capable of dividing and multiplying beyond early childhood, contrary to a long-held belief that this cannot occur. Recent research has shown that certain growth hormones (BDNF) help drive neurological development and diseases like depression and Alzheimer’s are often associated with abnormally low levels of this hormone.
Amazingly, it’s been shown that turmeric and the brain can have a positive interaction through an increase in the production of BDNF. While further research is required through human trials, there is a strong suggestion that turmeric powder benefits the brain by improving memory and even fighting a range of degenerative brain diseases.
There have also been several exploratory studies that claim the legitimacy of turmeric for anxiety and depression. While more research is needed, there are strong signs that its benefits for the brain could prove pivotal for those suffering from mental health issues.
The healing properties of turmeric for weight loss
If you thought the health benefits of turmeric powder couldn’t get any better, the advantages don’t stop there; this wonderful, vibrant spice is also used to deal with obesity and associated metabolic disorders.
There are several factors that make turmeric a useful element in the fight for weight loss. Its role as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory means it can help inhibit high blood sugar and cholesterol and insulin resistance, giving your body a better chance of fighting weight gain.
If you’re wondering how to use turmeric powder for weight loss, the important thing to remember is that it is best used as part of a comprehensive strategy, not relied upon on its own. There are plenty of recipes available online and right here on our TurmeriX site, making it easy for you to create your own healthy diet complete with plenty of turmeric. From scrambled eggs to salad dressing to marinades, you can enjoy the flavour and weight-loss benefits at the same time.
The potential side effects of turmeric powder
One of the major advantages of turmeric is that it carries extremely minimal risk of side effects, especially when compared with many pharmaceutical drugs. However, it’s still important to be aware of any possible reactions you may have, as every individual is unique and the body can have unexpected reactions.
Some people have reportedly experienced nausea, dizziness, diarrhea or an upset stomach after taking turmeric; and one case suggested a possible link between high dose of turmeric and an abnormal heart rhythm. It’s also advised to avoid medicinal quantities of turmeric during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to a lack of research. If uncertain, consult your doctor about a safe dose of turmeric in your circumstances, particularly if you take prescribed medication. Updated April 2019. Originally published: July 2017.
Post adapted from TurmeriX Australia.