A member of the ginger family, curcumin is a natural plant compound that has a number of proven health benefits.
Found in the spice turmeric, which is native to India, the benefits range from cardiovascular and bone health to mental and cellular benefits, making it suitable for men and women alike as there are health concerns across multiple categories that can benefit from its usage. Here are a few of the most notable benefits that result from curcumin usage as a holistic aid.
1. Can Lessen Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal part of how the body responds to injury or infection. Still, it can be harmful when it continues for an extended period with no signs of healing or recovery. Curcumin promotes overall health by reducing inflammation throughout the body. This reduction in inflammation is possible by its ability to increase levels of antioxidants in the body’s cells, ultimately helping prevent oxidation and reduce inflammation in muscles, joints, and other tissues throughout the body.
2. Pain Relief
When it comes to arthritis and more specifically arthritic pain, curcumin has been shown to help in several ways. In addition to the aforementioned benefit of reducing inflammation, curcumin has also been found to reduce pain in some studies associated with osteoarthritis, minimize stiffness and aid in decreasing swelling associated with arthritis. All of these benefits help keep the body’s joints healthy and functioning correctly.
3. Reduced Risk for a Heart Attack
Cardiovascular health is important at any age, but as we age, the concerns associated with it rise, and curcumin, has been shown to reduce the risk of a heart attack. According to a study at National Library of Medicine, this plant substance reduces inflammation and promotes a healthy heart. In addition, according to the study results, it may also aid in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
4. Helps Prevent Cancer
Believe it or not, curcumin has been used in treating cancer since ancient times. This turmeric plant derivative is known for its anti-inflammatory properties to have the ability to kill off pathogens in the body. These properties make it an attractive dietary supplement option for cancer patients and anyone who wants to reduce the growth of tumors or fungus. Laboratory and animal research also suggest that in addition to helping prevent and slow cancer, it may also make chemotherapy more effective and protect healthy cells from damage by radiation therapy.
5. Improvement of Symptoms Associated with Depression and Anxiety
Another common usage of curcumin is in its promising show of treating depression and anxiety and can be taken in supplement form or as part of a daily diet.
Among the issues it has been shown to improve, regarding depression and anxiety is improving sleep quality, decreasing fatigue, increasing energy levels, and improving mood.
6. Reduces Blood Sugar
In 2013, studies suggested that curcumin could aid in decreased the levels of glucose in the blood. Since then additional studies have been conducted and reviewed and demonstrated that diabetes mellitus (DM), or ensemble of metabolic conditions, that benefit from curcumin is done so as a result of the compound’s ability to oxidative stress and inflammatory process. In addition, it has been found to significantly reduce fasting blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin, and overall body mass index (BMI), making it a significant option when it comes to diabetes management.
7. Prevents Eye Degeneration
In regards to age-related macular degeneration, curcumin has been found to be a natural polyphenol agent that may inhibit pathological conditions of the eyes and restore homeostasis, thus preventing eye degeneration.
By reducing oxidative stress, a hallmark of age-related eye diseases, and promoting anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin also has the ability to reduce damage to blood vessels and tissues in the eyes, and may even help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
8. Memory and Alzheimer’s Support
With its potent antioxidant effects, curcumin has been found to aid in memory improvement. In fact, some experts believe that taking curcumin supplements can increase memory by up to 14 percent over five years. In one significant study results showed that taking regular curcumin can improve memory test results by 28 percent over the course of 18 months.
In regards to memory and brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, research has shown that curcumin has a potential impact on the microscopic plaques and tangles in the brain. One of the important pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease is the impact that chronic inflammation has on nerve cells in the brain, thus the significance of curcumin’s anti-inflammatory benefits. Additional research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that curcumin helped reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease by about 20 percent.
This is all good news for those suffering from the disease who are looking for additional approaches to further protect their memory, and for those looking to prevent the onset of the condition.
9. Fights Free Radicals
Packed with antioxidants, curcumin’s biggest triumph is the protection it provides against free radicals and oxidative stress, which can cause damage to cells and the body in general. Studies have found that curcumin’s potent antioxidant properties can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure. In addition, studies also suggest that curcumin may not only block the action of free radicals but may even stimulate the action of other antioxidants.
10. Anti-Aging Benefits
The holy grail of beauty benefits, curcumin has been shown to help prevent aging by enhancing the effects of a vitamin called niacin (vitamin B3).
Niacin helps protect against free radical damage and supports the growth of healthy skin, hair, and nails. It can help niacin reach its target sites in the body more quickly because it has similar molecular structures.
This in addition to the above benefits all play into the active role curcumin plays in healthy and beneficial approaches to anti-aging.
Health is one of those things that can be affected by nearly every aspect of our daily lives. No single factor causes illnesses or diseases, thus there is no magical cure that will eradicate all the threats to our health. While it isn’t a miracle option for all health ailments, curcumin does seem to offer a super set of benefits that can play a positive and influential role in a full-body approach to health.