While the natural health benefits of turmeric have only recently been revealed to the mainstream, the ancient spice has been used for thousands of years. It’s been a featured ingredient in Asian food recipes and beauty regimens since ancient times.
The bright yellow color of turmeric is certainly attention-getting. But it benefits as an anti-inflammatory, along with other health benefits, have made its popularity grow exponentially.
The vibrant spice was once used as a dye to add a splash of color to the robes Buddhist monks wear.
Part of the ginger family of spices, turmeric can be ingested to improve gut health or applied topically. When applied directly to the skin, turmeric can help wounds heal faster. It can also be used as a face cleanser, moisturizer and even a toothpaste.
So, what’s in turmeric that makes it so powerful?
What is turmeric?
As mentioned, Turmeric is a spice that was mainly used to add flavor to curry and other food dishes. While popular culture has only recently learned of the medicinal benefits of turmeric, other cultures have known and used the spice in healing for centuries.
Turmeric contains many healthy nutrients – iron, potassium and Vitamin C – to name a few.
However, the most powerful nutrient is curcumin, which is rich in natural anti-inflammatory properties.
The curcumin is found in the root of the host plant, but each root contains less than 5 percent of curcumin. That means basic turmeric powder isn’t potent enough to have any beneficial effects.
The best way to reap all the benefits of turmeric is with a curcumin extract. Other ways to get turmeric into your diet is from:
Ground turmeric can be found in the spice aisle of your local grocery store. You can add it to any food as a seasoning. It is important to purchase the organic kind to avoid additives and chemicals that might be present in the non-organic brands.
Daily turmeric supplements are a no-fuss way to get daily turmeric intake. Supplements can be found in the vitamin aisle of any pharmacy or health store.
The health market is oversaturated with turmeric supplements right now. So many choices can be overwhelming. We’ve listed our favorite turmeric supplements down below.
Many natural food stores sell fresh turmeric. It can be used in a juicer to be used in smoothies or juices.
Benefits of Using Turmeric
Turmeric has a long list of health benefits. It can improve brain function and serotonin production to fight depression, reduce acid reflux and other digestive issues, ease the pain from arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. And these benefits are only on the inside.
On the outside, turmeric can whiten teeth, brighten skin and reduce hyperpigmentation of the skin caused by prolonged sun exposure. The same ingredient in turmeric that gives it a bright yellow color (curcumin) also gives turmeric its healing powers.
Check out what else turmeric can do for your body:
Curcumin, a potent ingredient in turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory. Unhealthy diets can exacerbate inflammation issues such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Adding more fruits and vegetables seasoned with turmeric to your diet can help the inflammation symptoms (pain and redness) to decrease.
Heart disease, allergies and eczema are just a few of the conditions that can be caused in part by inflammation. Stress and poor gut health are two things that can make inflammation worse. They are also two things that benefit from turmeric.
If you’re looking to improve your mobility and joint health, the anti-inflammatory properties of the curcumin found in turmeric can help soothe swollen joints. Turmeric is a popular supplement for people with rheumatoid arthritis in particular.
While the flavorful spice can be effective once the symptoms have appeared, it is much more effective as a preventative measure.
It can keep your joints loose, healthy and free from pain.
The pain of arthritis is caused by inflamed joints. Turmeric can successfully reduce and prevent joint degradation.
Helps Heart Health
The cardiovascular system is one of the body’s most important functions. It is also more susceptible to inflammation. In fact, chronic inflammation is a common cause of heart disease. We’ve already explored the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric.
But there are several other dangers that lie in the heart, such as cholesterol, blood clots and plaque build-up. Turmeric can help improve many different aspects of the heart by lowering cholesterol, prevent blood from forming clots, and preventing plaque.
Helps Manage Stress
Adaptogens are plants that help the body resist stress by modulating stress hormones. Turmeric has many of these stress managing properties. Too much stress can be a literal killer on the body.
Adaptogens are also known to help with memory, weight and hormone levels.
Promotes Weight Loss ~ Increases Metabolism
These two health benefits of turmeric go hand-in-hand. An increased metabolism is imperative to keeping a healthy body weight. Turmeric helps increase metabolism by regulating blood sugar levels.
Stress is a big cause of unexpected weight gain. Since turmeric can help your body deal with stress, it can also help promote weight loss or at least, help prevent extra weight. Recent studies show that the curcumin found in turmeric can even diminish fat cells.
Makes Skin Radiant
In addition to anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric contains powerful antioxidants. Both ingredients can fight premature aging, acne and other skin blemishes.
The turmeric can be ingested, but applying topically to the skin increases the turmeric’s effectiveness.
Turmeric can also improve mood, increase brain function, boost digestion, lower cholesterol and possibly reduce the risk of getting cancer.
Top turmeric products
This turmeric extract supplement by Solgar is one of the more low-cost options on the market. But that doesn’t mean it is poor quality. It has around 80% of the same amount of turmeric extract as other supplements.
It is vegan and gluten-free.
1MD Advanced Turmeric Curcumin Platinum is an all-natural turmeric supplement shown to boost overall health, reduce joint pain and give you an energy boost. With no additives included, the company boasts that it is the purest turmeric available on the market.
Anti-inflammatory spice turmeric is the main ingredient in this collection of teas. The turmeric roots are blended with ginger, licorice and rose roots for an energizing, mind-boosting cup of tea.
DIY Turmeric beauty products
There are an endless amount of homemade recipes with turmeric as a beauty product. There are even toothpaste recipes. But here are 3 must-have recipes for your face to add to your skincare routine tonight:
Turmeric is rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidants that reduce wrinkles and acne. It also has antibacterial particles that will deeply clean your face after a long day of exposure to the sun, makeup and environmental damages.
1 tablespoon milk
½ teaspoon turmeric extract
½ teaspoon honey
Mix ingredients well and massage the mixture onto your face. Wait a few minutes and then rinse the cleanser off with cool water.
The antioxidants of the turmeric facial cleanser will fight acne, hyperpigmentation and other skin disorders. A just-washed face need moisturizer to refresh and nourish the skin.
Turmeric also improves the elasticity of the skin and can be used in a moisturizer. Use organic ingredients as much possible.
Mix ingredients and apply to face, paying close attention to the skin under the eyes. Use minimal amounts so the moisturizer doesn’t leave your face greasy. Use in your face care routine daily.
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon milk
Mix ingredients into a paste. Apply to freshly washed face and neck. Leave the mask on your face for 15 minutes and wash off with cool water. Continue your regular beauty routine.