12 Health Benefits of Turmeric Including Weight Loss

Turmeric(curcuma longa) [1] is building a buzz in the Western medical community because of its therapeutic properties. But it has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for centuries because of its wide range of health benefits.

Aside from its medicinal uses, turmeric is also used for culinary purposes due to its mild fragrance and warm peppery flavor. Its deep golden-orange color, both in its fresh and powdered forms, also makes turmeric useful for coloring purposes, such as in traditional Indian curries. 

​Here are the 12 proven health benefits that regular and proper turmeric consumption can provide.​

1. Reduces Inflammation in the Body

While acute inflammation is crucial in the body’s fight against foreign invaders, it can increase the risk of chronic degenerative diseases when it becomes a chronic occurrence. The body basically attacks its own cells in chronic inflammation.  

The consumption of anti-inflammatory agents, especially in food, may then reduce the risk of chronic inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory medications.  Scientists also believe that chronic inflammation has a significant impact on the development of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer, among other degenerative conditions. 

Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that scientists have discovered even rivals the potency of prescription anti-inflammatory drugs [2]! For this reason, it’s becoming a common ingredient in anti-inflammatory medications, both in their oral (e.g., for arthritis) and topical (e.g., hemorrhoids) forms.  

Studies have shown that curcumin works by targeting the inflammatory pathways in the body. It also blocks NF-kB, a molecule that activates the inflammation-causing genes resulting in increased risk for chronic degenerative diseases [3]

Bottom Line 

Curcumin, a bioactive substance in turmeric, acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent that reduces the risk of chronic low-level inflammation [4].

​2. Improves Cognitive Abilities

In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric was used to improve brain function especially in boosting concentration and memory retention. Scientists are discovering proof of its potency in the improvement of general cognitive ability, as well as in the protection of the neural pathways from the effects of long-term oxidative stress and plaque buildup [5]. 

Curcumin is also the bioactive compound responsible for such health benefit.  In animal studies, it can suppress traumatic memories [6] while human studies have shown that it can improve attention span and working memory among older adults. 

In a research led by said Andrew Scholey from Swinburne University of Technology [7], 60 volunteers between the ages of 60 and 85 were divided into two groups – a control group given solid lipid curcumin capsules and a placebo group. They were subjected to a series of computerized mental tasks to determine the efficacy of curcumin.

Overall, the control group performed better than the placebo group in the tests, as well as reported reduced feelings of fatigue, anxiety and stress. 

 Curcumin may also be useful in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia because it can both stimulate activity in the neurons and prevent degradation of cognitive functions.  This is in addition to the abovementioned protection against plaque buildup and oxidative stress. 

Bottom Line

Curcumin is valuable in the maintenance of normal cognitive functions due to its multiple physiological effects on the body and brain.

​3. Contributes to Effective Weight Loss

Turmeric speeds up fat loss and prevents fat accumulation, especially around the middle area. The buildup of fat in the body, especially in the adipose tissues [8], is the main characteristic of being overweight or obese.

Curcumin regulates the metabolic activities in the adipose tissues, especially around the stomach and liver areas. In doing so, it prevents angiogenesis and results in reduced fat buildup. It has even been shown to improve the overall liver profile of overweight individuals. 

Turmeric also assists in effective weight loss by increasing the amount of dietary fiber absorbed by the body.  Its carbohydrate fraction also isn’t absorbed by the body resulting in decreased carb and fat intake. 

The golden spice, as turmeric is also known, also has a naturally strong thermogenic action.  Thermogenesis promotes effective weight loss by burning the calories necessary for the body’s energy needs – the more efficient the metabolic process is, the more likely healthy weight can be attained. 

​Turmeric also contains gingerols and shogaols, bioactive compounds also known for their thermogenic property.

Bottom Line

Add turmeric to your healthy weight loss diet and enjoy better results. 

​4.Treats Gastrointestinal Issues

Turmeric is a traditional medicine for soothing an upset stomach [​9]. When consumed as a hot tea, it can provide relief from the symptoms of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and cramping in the stomach. 

Curcumin’s potent anti-inflammatory property is also responsible for these benefits.

It has also been shown to reduce the risk of bleeding in the bowels and developing ulcers, even in removing the irritants from the gut.  It is even recommended for more serious conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease and Chron’s disease, as adjunct alternative treatment.

While turmeric’s dietary fiber [10] level isn’t high, it’s still sufficient to aid in better digestive function. 

Bottom Line

Drink turmeric tea when your stomach becomes upset for no apparent reason. Its bioactive compounds will not only remove unwanted toxins but also reduce inflammation in the cells. 

​5.Reduces the Risks of Cystic Fibrosis  

Cystic fibrosis [11], an inherited disorder, can cause crippling symptoms because of the severe damage on the digestive and respiratory systems in affected persons. 

While there are medications to control its symptoms, scientists are also looking into the therapeutic benefits of turmeric, especially its anti-inflammatory property [12]. 

​According to Michael Caplan of Yale University, the bioactive compounds of turmeric seems to almost completely correct the disease’s measurable defects including the buildup of mucus in the lungs and stomach. The defective gene, known as CFTR, causes an important gene to become improperly folded resulting in bacteria buildup and in non-absorption of nutrients in the gut.
According to Michael Caplan of Yale University, the bioactive compounds of turmeric seems to almost completely correct the disease’s measurable defects including the buildup of mucus in the lungs and stomach. The defective gene, known as CFTR, causes an important gene to become improperly folded resulting in bacteria buildup and in non-absorption of nutrients in the gut.

Bottom Line

Ask your doctor about the therapeutic benefits of using turmeric in your diet, if you have cystic fibrosis. You can think of it as part of your complementary therapy aside from your prescription medications.

​6. Reduces the Risk of Cancer

Cancer can affect virtually part of the body from the brain to the bones. Scientists are looking beyond radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery as effective treatments for it. 

Studies have shown that many types of cancer seem to respond well to curcumin supplementation [13]. Early research suggests that a combination of extracts from several turmeric varieties, such a Javanese turmeric, has beneficial effects on colorectal cancer patients.

Evidence also exists in the positive effects of curcumin supplementation for 30 days in decreasing the number of precancerous glands in the colon among individuals with high cancer risk [14].  

 Early research also suggests that taking a dietary supplement three times a day for six months can prevent an increase in levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in male prostate cancer patients [15].  The dietary supplement includes turmeric powder, broccoli powder, green tea extract, and pomegranate whole fruit powder. 

Bottom Line

Curcumin can affect the development and growth of cancer cells at their molecular levels [16].  While more research is needed into its true efficacy, turmeric’s anti-cancer effect deserves a second look.

7. Provides Relief from Menstrual Issues

Turmeric may be the answer to your menstrual discomfort, from bloating and cramping to excessive bloating, even for your mood swings.  You may even use it to decrease your pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms like headaches and muscle aches. 

In a clinical trial [17], two groups of women with premenstrual syndrome were divided into a control group and a placebo group. The control group received curcumin capsules two times a day before their menstruation and three days after it; the treatment lasted for three consecutive cycles. 

 The control group reported more relief from their symptoms (by 59 points) in comparison with the placebo group (by 14 points).  Curcumin appears to modulate brain chemicals thereby alleviating the mood swings, as well as reduced pain through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties [18]. 

Bottom Line

Curcumin acts as a natural painkiller [19] without the gastric side effects of over-the-counter painkillers. Turmeric also has compounds [20] that bind to progesterone and estrogen receptors so that it aids in better menstrual cycles. 

​8. Improves Cardiovascular Health

Did you know that heart disease is the world’s #1 cause of death? [2​1] While a combination of healthy diet, moderate exercise, and sensible lifestyle habits are a must, doctors also recommend dietary supplements – and turmeric supplementation may be included. 

Curcumin works in many ways in delaying, if not preventing, the progress of heart disease [22]. Among its most important functions is in its positive effects on endothelial function, a crucial component of heart disease risk reduction [23]

The bioactive compound also contributes to cardiovascular health because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, as mentioned above [24].  It also works by balancing cholesterol levels, especially in reducing the levels of LDL in the blood [25].

Bottom Line

Turmeric may be useful in your efforts to prevent the development of heart disease in your family but it should be combined with other measures for better results.

​9. Helps in Arthritis Management

Arthritis is characterized by the inflammation of the joints resulting in the reduced ability to perform everyday tasks and in increased swelling in the affected areas. 

Turmeric or curcumin supplementation may have significant effects on the management of arthritis symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory property.  Studies have shown that turmeric extracts can aid in osteoarthritis management, too [26], including in the improvement of mobility function. 

Turmeric supplementation seems to work well either alone or in combination with herbal medications in the reduction of pain associated with various forms of arthritis. These include inflammatory arthritis [27] like gout, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as degenerative arthritis. 

Bottom Line 

Turmeric’s use in arthritis management lies in its potent anti-inflammatory property [28] and in its ability to inhibit inflammatory enzymes like LOX and COX [29]. It is also effective in protecting the bone from loss of its tissues [30] and loss of articular cartilage [31].

10. Aids in the Prevention and Treatment of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C, a liver ailment, is caused by a virus spread mainly through blood transmission from an affected person. The symptoms of the contagious disease can range from mild to serious while its duration can either be acute or chronic, the latter of which increases the risk for liver cancer and cirrhosis. 

Turmeric shows promise as a preventive and treatment measure against the hepatitis C virus due to its antiviral and antimicrobial activity.  Curcumin has been found to have potent actions against several viruses [32] mainly by suppressing the viruses’ cell replication activities and by increasing p53 proteins; the latter have important roles in the death of cells. 

Hepatitis C infections also result in the inflammation of the liver and in the increase of pro-inflammatory molecules in the body. By suppressing inflammation, curcumin can facilitate the liver’s healing process from the infection. 

Bottom Line 

Turmeric intake can contribute to improved liver health due to its hepatoprotective actions, such as in the reduction of inflammation and the elimination of toxins in the liver.  

​11.Provides Relief from Migraine

Migraines are the most severe form of headache, which affects more than six million Americans.  Due to the severity of the pain, an affected person will be unable to perform everyday tasks, perhaps even become confined to dark rooms with little to no external stimulation.

The inflammation of the sensory neurons contributes to the severe pain [33] partly because of the nociceptive sensory nerves’ activation.  The dysfunction in the signaling mechanisms of the brain [34] also adds to the pain sensations. 

Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory property again comes into the picture since it reduces the inflammation in the sensory neurons. Its curcumin component has also been found to modulate TRPV1, a protein involved in pain generation, so that it acts as a natural analgesic. 

Bottom Line

Turmeric consumption may be helpful in getting pain relief from migraines.

​12. Aids in Getting Healthier Skin

Regular turmeric consumption can also be seen on your skin [35]!  Getting healthier skin with turmeric comes from its numerous actions. 

Due to its antimicrobial property, it helps in inhibiting the growth of bacteria that causes pimples (i.e., acne). It also aids in the reduction of oil production and secretion in the sebaceous glands so pimples can be reduced in number, too. It also soothes irritated skin and speeds up healing from wounds including acne scars. 

Because of its antioxidant property, turmeric can also help in fighting signs of aging like fine lines and age spots.  Studies suggest that it can reduce the severity of itching in people with long-term kidney disease and in individuals with mustard gas-related chronic itching [36].

Bottom Line

Use turmeric supplements to bring back your skin’s natural glow and prevent various skin issues, such as psoriasis [37] and scabies [38].

​Indeed, turmeric is known as the golden spice for good reasons! It’s worth its weight in gold, in a manner of speaking, where your overall health is concerned.  Add it now to your healthy diet and enjoy the results soon after.