It’s not our fault – we only have our culture to blame for the fact that we’ve grown up knowing only two basic uses of turmeric; either pop it in your curry dish, or apply on your face for an instant glow before wedding events. However, there are countless health benefits associated with the usage and consumption of this spice. Bursting with natural flavour, colour and nutrients, haldi is more than just an integral part of sub-continental cooking, and beauty regimes.
As complied from The Huffington Post, here are some of the things you didn’t know about the fragrant, cheerfully yellow powdered root stored away in your pantry.
1) Known cancer combatant
According to the American Cancer Society, turmeric interferes with important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth and spread. Based on evidence derived from laboratory experiments, the spice has the potential to kill cancer cells and even shrink different tumours. By acting on the cancer cells in this manner, turmeric boosts the effects of chemotherapy.
2) Keeps Alzheimer’s at bay
Based on recent researches, Aromatic Tumerone, a compound present naturally in turmeric, promotes the repair of stem cells present in the brain. These cells play a vital role in recovery from various neuro-degenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s and even stroke. Regular turmeric intake can effectively reduce the risk of developing such diseases.
3) Possesses anti-inflammatory properties
Haldi has natural anti-inflammatory powers, which means that patients that suffer from Arthritis, Osteo-arthritis and joint pain can easily reap benefits from it. Some supplements made using turmeric extracts have been found to work just as well as Ibuprofen in relieving pain and reducing joint inflammation.
4) Curbs development of Type II Diabetes
A study conducted in 2012 offered ground-breaking results in proving that turmeric delays diabetes. Research participants were divided in two groups, and over a span of nine months, one group was given placebos while the other was given turmeric-derived supplements. Towards the end of the study, 16% of the individuals given placebos developed Type II Diabetes, while none from the supplement group did.
5) May prevent heart attacks
Yet another study performed using placebos and turmeric-derived Curcumin supplements showed that root can potentially prevent heart attacks. This particular study was conducted on a group of patients that had previously undergone bypass procedures. It was proved that 30% of the individuals from the placebo group experienced heart attacks during their hospital stay, compared to only 12% of the ones from the supplement group.
Keep in mind that this does not mean you start swallowing large spoonfuls of the spice to avail all these health benefits. The powdered spice in your kitchen contains less than 10% of Curcumin. Consult your physician to learn about FDA recommended supplements for best results.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2016.