11 Health-boosting Benefits of Turmeric

What’s yellow, delicious, and could boost overall health? Turmeric! A member of the ginger family, turmeric root is popular in many dishes around the world. It’s also popular in traditional medicine because its active compounds, especially curcumin, are reported to have anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, and antioxidant effects.

So, just what does science have to say about the potential health benefits of turmeric?…

1. May Treat Uveitis

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Uveitis is when the uvea, or the eye’s inner layer, becomes inflamed. In some cases, uveitis can lead to complications like cataracts and vision loss, making the need for effective treatment crucial. Some research suggests that turmeric may be able to help.

Specifically, one small human study found that curcumin, found in turmeric, was “comparable to corticosteroid therapy” in treating uveitis and preventing recurrences. While more research is needed to confirm these results, curcumin clearly shows promise as a potential treatment for those with this condition.

This root may hold the secret to treating brain disorders as well…

2. Promising Alzheimer’s Treatment

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Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, although many promising treatments can help slow the progression of the disease and improve its symptoms. Turmeric may be one such treatment option in the future. Some experts claim that curcumin may boost the cognitive function of Alzheimer’s patients, particularly their memory. It is believed that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties play a role in facilitating this outcome.

If further research can confirm these findings, there will be another potential treatment for this devastating disease, along with some less-serious conditions, like the following…

3. May Protect Against Stomach Ulcers

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Ulcers can be a real pain, both figuratively and literally. Fortunately, curcumin may be able to help. Specifically, limited research suggests that curcumin can help protect the stomach against ulcers. Further, other limited research shows that this compound has potential as a treatment for ulcers caused by H. pylori

Kicking ulcers to the curb isn’t the only potential gastrointestinal benefit of this wonder root, though…

4. Potential Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

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Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are a family of conditions that include the likes of Crohn’s disease. Given the alleged health-boosting properties of curcumin, some researchers suggest there is potential for this compound to fight these conditions. Specifically, some research indicates that curcumin can improve IBDs by reducing inflammation and reducing bacteria growth and movement. If further research confirms these findings, IBD sufferers could have one spicy (and cheaper) alternative to more expensive treatment options.

Left untreated, stomach problems can progress to cancer, which curcumin may also help with…

5. Promising Stomach Cancer Treatment

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What can’t turmeric do? One small study found that dietary turmeric may reduce mutagens excreted via urine in smokers, suggesting cancer-preventive properties. Other research has reached similar conclusions, with one review finding that many small studies suggest that curcumin has potential to help treat gastric cancer through “decreasing proliferation (cell growth), inducing apoptosis (cell death), and reducing chemo-resistance in gastric cancer cells.”

The potential for turmeric and curcumin doesn’t stop there, though…

6. The Future of Arthritis Treatment?

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Arthritis is inflammation of the joints, and it affects about 23% of adults in the United States. One review concludes that many small randomized clinical trials suggest turmeric and/or curcumin use may help reduce or even prevent joint inflammation seen with arthritis. As such, it has potential use as an add-on treatment for this condition, although larger-scale studies are needed to confirm these results.

The following condition has a combined five-year survival rate of just 5%-10%, making the need for preventions and treatments all the more critical to improve the odds of survival…

7. Potential Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

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Many preclinical studies suggest that curcumin has anti-cancer effects, including on pancreatic cancer cells. Clinical trials are currently underway to test these results, although one obstacle to the use of curcumin as a cancer treatment is that it has a low bioavailability. As such, researchers hope that improving the solubility and bioavailability of curcumin can help stunt cancer growth.

Research also suggests that turmeric could spice up a weight-loss program…

8. Spicing Up Weight Management

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Many randomized controlled trials show that curcumin use in people with metabolic syndrome and similar conditions could reduce BMI and weight. Preliminary research further indicates that a bioavailable variety of curcumin could have promise in weight management, particularly since it many people tolerate it well, unlike other options,

This potential benefit could directly help diabetics, too…

9. Potentially Improved Diabetes Management

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Millions of people in the United States live with type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, it’s well-known that treatment for this condition is expensive in the US, making the need for a cost-efficient therapeutic important. Curcumin could help.

There’s plenty of research examining the potential benefit of this compound for diabetes. Some research, for example, suggests that curcumin could complement existing treatments that not only help prevent diabetes, but other conditions that can worsen the condition, such as obesity. Other experts believe that there is “therapeutic potential to counteract diabetes and its complications,” although more research is needed to confirm these results and find ways to increase curcumin’s bioavailability.

Turmeric and curcumin may also help the thousands of people annually diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the US…

10. Possible Esophageal Cancer Prevention

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Once again, curcumin may help prevent cancer, specifically cancer of the esophagus, or throat. For example, one small study found that curcumin helps prevent certain types of esophageal cancer in rats. Experts believe it has this effect due to inhibition of the compound N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine (NMBA), which can trigger cancerous cell growth.

The final potential boost from turmeric? It’s coming right up…

11. Potential Boost for Skin Health

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To be clear, more research is needed to confirm if topical and/or oral supplements containing turmeric or curcumin can boost skin health; early research results are promising, though. Conditions that could potentially benefit from complementary curcumin treatment include psoriasis, iatrogenic dermatitis, skin aging, and skin cancer.

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