Turmeric and curcumin are two of the most important ingredients in Indian cuisine. Spices like these have been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, but only recently have they become mainstream. The most popular use for turmeric is as a spice in dishes, but it’s also possible to take turmeric supplements or apply it directly on your skin. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that gives it its yellow color and most of its health benefits. In fact, if you’re taking dietary supplements containing turmeric or curcumin, you’re actually taking a combination of both ingredients together—the latter being a more potent form that can be taken separately from the former (more on this later).
Curcumin is a key component of turmeric.
One of the most important things to know about curcumin is that it’s a key component of turmeric. Turmeric has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years and is a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine.
Turmeric is a spice that gives food its distinctive yellow color, but many people might not know that it also contains an anti-inflammatory substance called curcumin. Curcumin has received considerable attention in recent years because of its potential health benefits—and it just so happens to be the main active ingredient found in turmeric!
1) Curcumin Can Help Treat Depression
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has actually been shown to help treat depression. In fact, studies have shown that it may be just as effective as Prozac.
What causes depression?
Depression is caused by changes in your brain chemistry that make it difficult for you to feel happy and motivated. One of the main ways your body regulates mood is through serotonin production—a neurotransmitter that sends signals between nerve cells. When serotonin levels are low, it can lead to feelings of sadness and hopelessness—and make it harder for you to experience pleasure from activities or interactions with others. The hormone cortisol also plays a role in regulating your mood: when cortisol levels are elevated, we tend to feel stressed out; when they’re normal (or even low), our moods tend to improve accordingly.
2) It Could Have an Effect on Cancer
Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. These cells can invade nearby parts of the body and spread to distant sites, where they start new tumors. By the time most cancers are diagnosed, they have already spread to other parts of the body.
Cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer begins in lung cells, colon cancer begins in colon cells and breast cancer begins in breast tissue.
3) Curcumin Protects Your Brain
Curcumin is also great at protecting your brain.
Curcumin can help protect against cognitive decline, oxidative stress, neurodegeneration, and neuroinflammation.
4) It Could Help Reduce Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis is a general term for over 100 different types of conditions that cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Certain foods can help reduce some of these symptoms. One such food is turmeric, which contains an active ingredient called curcumin.
Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties in the body and has been found to be just as effective as some over-the-counter drugs used to treat arthritis pain without the side effects (1). In one study, participants who took curcumin daily for three months experienced reduced joint pain compared with those taking placebo (2). Another study found that people who consumed turmeric regularly had better mobility in their fingers when compared with those who didn’t take it (3).
5) It Might Help Prevent Heart Disease
Curcumin has been found to help prevent heart disease by reducing inflammation and high cholesterol. It can also prevent blood clots, lower the risk of stroke, and improve vascular health.
If you’re looking for natural ways to keep your heart healthy as you age, turmeric may be an excellent choice!
6) Curcumin Can Help Treat Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
It’s not just the beneficial compounds that make this spice so great. In fact, curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory! It can help reduce inflammation in your body, including colitis and Crohn’s disease. The latter are both inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) that cause swelling of the intestines, which can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting—and they’re pretty serious conditions if left untreated.
Curcumin may also help reduce other symptoms associated with IBD such as joint pain and fatigue by reducing oxidative stress in the body.
7) Curcumin Protects the Liver
The liver is the largest organ in the body, and it performs many important functions. In addition to cleansing your body of toxins, the liver is responsible for detoxification, protein synthesis and breakdown, vitamin metabolism, and bile production. Bile helps with digestion by emulsifying fats so that they can be broken down into smaller particles that can be absorbed more easily.
In order to keep your liver healthy you should avoid alcohol (especially excessive drinking), limit your intake of processed foods or sugary sweets (which can cause elevated blood sugars), avoid trans fats (found in most processed foods), make sure you get enough sleep every night (as this helps keep bile flowing smoothly throughout your digestive tract) – all of which are things we know are good for us anyway!
8) It Might Be Able to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Curcumin has been shown to reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the brain and prevent it from aggregating with other proteins, which can lead to Alzheimer’s. It may also help prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory formation and recall.
9) Curcumin May Lower Your Risk for Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is a serious threat to the health of many Americans. It’s estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime, and it is the most common form of cancer for people aged 18-29. Fortunately, curcumin can help you lower your risk for skin cancer by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress on your skin.*
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2018; 31(1): 96–107
In this study researchers found that among 40 patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), a polypoid colonic disorder caused by germline mutations in APC, who took 2 grams of curcumin daily for 10 weeks there were significant reductions in:
10) It Might Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Curcumin can also help regulate blood sugar and lower it by up to 30%. It can prevent insulin resistance, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. If you have high blood sugar levels, this may be just the thing you need.
If you’re looking to keep your health in tip-top shape, curcumin is an antioxidant that can help prevent disease.
Curcumin is a bright orange pigment found in turmeric, the popular spice used in Indian food. It’s also available as a supplement.
Numerous studies have found that curcumin exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and may benefit those suffering from arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and even depression. It has also been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth in certain types of cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed (1).
The antioxidant activity of curcumin means it can help remove harmful free radicals from your body (2). Free radicals are byproducts of normal metabolism that cause damage to cells if not neutralized by antioxidants like vitamin C or beta carotene (3).
It’s important to note that curcumin is still considered a supplement and should not be used as a replacement for medication. It can, however, be an excellent addition to your daily routine if you are looking for more natural remedies or ways to improve your health and well-being without relying on prescription drugs.