The world may be going gaga over turmeric latte now but we in India have been sipping on haldi doodh for years! Turmeric, which comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, has been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. The deep yellow-orange colour led it to be called “Indian saffron” and it has been used for centuries as a condiment and healing remedy. In fact, no Indian meal is complete without haldi!
Ground turmeric has a mild fragrance, a strong colour, and a peppery and bitter flavour. We give you 7 reasons to consume turmeric every day:
1. It offers significant anti-inflammatory benefits
Curcumin, the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric, has been revealed to have anti-inflammatory effects comparable to hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone and certain over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents. The best part is that curcumin leads to no toxic effects. No wonder it helps you get rid of that hacking cough!
2. It can help prevent cancer
The antioxidant actions also enable protection of the colon cells from free radicals that can damage cellular DNA. It also helps destroy mutated cancer cells, ensuring that they don’t spread through the body and cause more harm. Apart from inhibiting colon cancer, studies have linked turmeric to lower rates of breast, prostate and lung cancer.
3. It helps detox and enhances liver function
Consumed regularly, turmeric can up levels of liver detoxification enzymes in the body. Recent research suggests that turmeric may help you detox and if “used widely as a spice would probably mitigate the effects of several dietary carcinogens”.
4. It can help in cases of rheumatoid arthritis
Many clinical studies have shown that curcumin has powerful antioxidant effects and can neutralise free radicals. The potent combination of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents can help people with the joint disease such as arthritis.
5. It improves cardiovascular health
Curcumin seems to be responsible for all the good that turmeric does. It may also be able to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body, which can help reduce progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Turmeric is also a good source of vitamin B6, which is essential to keep homocysteine levels from getting too high and creating a risk factor for blood vessel damage.
6. It helps treat inflammatory bowel disease
Curcumin’s antioxidant activity and inhibition of a major cellular inflammatory agent known as NF-kappa-B is an easy and inexpensive way to treat inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Just adding a pinch of turmeric to your curry or moong dal is enough!
7. It can protect against Alzheimer’s Disease
Cases of neurodegenerative diseases are low in India, where turmeric is a part and parcel of the daily diet. Research suggests that turmeric may help protect against neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.
Apart from these health benefits, turmeric offers umpteen others, including help for those suffering from cystic fibrosis and reduction in the risk of childhood leukaemia.
So go ahead, add turmeric to your food in all the ways you can: to curries, to honey & milk or as a beverage to teatox. Ignite your imagination and reap the benefits!