Turmeric: The Indian Saffron
Turmeric’s deep yellow-orange color works as a great natural additive in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. The powder gives that unique saffron color to most South Asian foods. It has a slight peppery and earthy taste, has a mild mustardy aroma and is also known for its healing (anti-inflammatory) properties in both Ayurveda and Chinese system of medicine. In fact, there are many turmeric health benefits proved in studies that support claims about its medicinal usage in ancient India and China.
Turmeric was known as the Indian Saffron in medieval Europe, thanks to its unique color, which has always been used as condiment and textile dye. Botanically known as Curcuma longa, the turmeric plant is cultivated and gathered annually by farmers for its rhizomes, which are either used in powdered form or whole. In some Indian states, especially Maharashtra, Turmeric leaves are used to wrap and cook delicious food. In India, turmeric is called Haldi in Hindi and is an integral part of almost every food prepared.
Ground turmeric or rhizomes are rich in nutrients and possess many health benefits. Let’s find out what are the health benefits of turmeric:
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Turmeric Health Benefits: Nutrition Facts
Ground turmeric is a good source of manganese and iron, as well as dietary fiber, Vitamin B6 and potassium. It is very low in sodium and cholesterol. It also contains Vitamin C, Iron and magnesium.
Effective Against Cuts and Burns
In various studies, turmeric oil extract has shown potent anti-inflammatory properties. It heals cuts and burns quickly and is actively used in Ayurvedic topical ointments. According to researchers, the most significant anti-inflammatory component of turmeric is curcumin, which is nothing but its yellow-orange pigment. Curcumin’s pain healing effects can be compared with over-the-counter medicines like Motrin. However, most conventional medicines have been associated with side-effects, whereas there are no toxic effects associated with curcumin. This is the main reason why turmeric is an integral part of Ayurveda.
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Turmeric is Good for Your Liver
The key component of turmeric, curcumin, can improve your liver function. Indian researchers at the Food and Drug Toxicology Research Centre, National Institution of Nutrition, Hyderabad found out that turmeric helps liver detoxify toxic chemicals. Researchers have suggested that turmeric should be added to foods as a condiment, in moderate quantities as it can alleviate the effects of dietary carcinogens on your liver.
Protection against Cardiovascular Diseases
The presence of vitamin B6 in turmeric helps reduce homocysteine levels in the body. Elevated levels of homocysteine can damage the blood vessel walls. It can also lead to plaque build-up in the arteries and cause heart disease. Eating foods high in vitamin B6 can
decrease this risk and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Apart from high homocysteine levels, oxidization of cholesterol can also lead to plaque build-up and blood vessel damage. This can lead to stroke or heart attack. Turmeric contains curcumin, which prevents cholesterol from being oxidized.
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Turmeric’s Cancer-Prevention Properties
One of the key turmeric health benefits is its cancer-prevention qualities. Its most important pharmacological agent, curcumin, can be quite effective to prevent colon cancer. Its antioxidant actions do not allow free radicals to attack colon cells. The free radicals can inflict major damage the cellular structure of the colon and can spread rapidly. This can lead to the quick formation of cancerous cells. Eating foods containing turmeric can be really beneficial against cancer and other conditions.
Health Benefits: https://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78
Turmeric Nutrition Facts: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/212/2#ixzz0zbflpi50
Turmeric and Liver Function: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8332589