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September 2, 2022
11 Powerfully Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
Ever had a golden latte at your favorite cafe? What about a curry that was so delicious you just couldn’t forget it? What if I told you that by enjoying those treats, you were also doing something fantastic for your health?
Golden lattes and curries (and a whole host of other delicious meals) are loaded with turmeric, a super-charged ingredient that’s great for your overall health.
This powerful spice (if you’re wondering how to pronounce turmeric, it sounds like tur-mur-ick) is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory (1). In fact, turmeric’s health benefits are so powerful that sometimes you can feel your energy increasing right after eating it.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice with a distinctive yellow-orange color. For thousands of years, it’s been a staple of Ayurveda, a traditional Indian health practice, where it was enjoyed as both a cooking ingredient and as a healing herb. Ayurvedic practitioners have touted turmeric’s health benefits for generations—and current science agrees (2).
Turmeric is best known in the culinary world as a central ingredient in Indian curry, but it’s also used in meat and veggie dishes, soups, trendy beverages like golden milk lattes, and many other recipes.
Why Is Turmeric So Beneficial?
Most of turmeric’s health benefits come from one of its most important active ingredients: Curcumin.
Curcumin makes up about 2 to 8% of turmeric and is the source of turmeric’s famous yellow color—and its superfood status (3). Curcumin has been linked to anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-tumor properties (4).
Unfortunately, our bodies have a hard time absorbing curcumin (5)...
So if you’re taking a turmeric supplement, it’s important that it contains “Full Spectrum Curcumin” so that you can experience the full health benefits. At NativePath, we formulate our Turmeric Supplement with Curcumin Micelle—a new breakthrough formula. This converts Curcuma into a fully water-soluble, pH-stable form, making it 185X more bioavailable and 27X more powerful than other turmeric supplements on the market (6).
What’s the Difference Between Turmeric and Curcumin?
So now you may be wondering, is curcumin the same as turmeric?
Well, not exactly. While curcumin is the most powerful ingredient of turmeric, it’s just one of many plant substances that make up the spice (7).
While many of turmeric’s health benefits come directly from curcumin, turmeric also offers several separate health benefits of its own. If you supplement with turmeric, you receive the health benefits of both turmeric and curcumin. If you only supplement with curcumin, you’ll certainly enjoy some health benefits, but you won’t get the full package of health perks you’d enjoy from turmeric.
What Does Turmeric Taste Like?
The vibrant taste of turmeric is hard to describe in words. Descriptors like earthy, rich, and refreshing come close to painting a picture, but fail to fully capture the experience. Let’s just put it this way: When you smell or taste turmeric, you’ll know, because there is nothing else like it.
Many people love the taste of turmeric, but if it’s not for you, you can still easily get the spice’s benefits by taking turmeric softgels. They offer all the health perks and the perfect serving size—without the taste.
11 Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
There’s a reason that turmeric and curcumin have been staples for thousands of years. When it comes to health, they’re an absolute dream team. Here are some of their scientifically proven health benefits…
1. Curcumin Is Anti-Inflammatory
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties are one of its biggest claims to fame. Chronic inflammation has been linked to health conditions like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic issues, certain degenerative disease, and more (8, 9). Preventing chronic inflammation is paramount, and curcumin can help make it happen (10).
2. Curcumin May Protect Heart Health
Curcumin may help lower your risk of heart disease by helping your blood vessels function better (11). This can help your body better regulate your blood pressure, prevent blood clotting, and more. In fact, one study of heart surgery patients found that those who took curcumin during their hospital stay had a 65% lower chance of having a heart attack while hospitalized (12).
3. Curcumin May Help Fight or Prevent Cancer
Early research suggests that curcumin may be linked to several cancer-fighting factors, including killing cancerous cells, reducing the spread of cancer, and curbing certain types of tumor growth (13, 14, 15).
More studies are needed to fully gauge curcumin’s effects on human cancer, but so far things are looking promising. In fact, some research indicates that curcumin may even help prevent cancer, particularly colorectal cancer and other digestive cancers (16, 17).
4. Curcumin May Play a Role in Managing Arthritis
Some types of arthritis are associated with inflammation, so it’s no surprise that a powerful anti-inflammatory like curcumin can help tackle it. Research has linked curcumin to symptom improvement in many people suffering from arthritis (18). One study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis even found that curcumin was actually more effective in managing their symptoms than an anti-inflammatory medication (19)!
5. Turmeric Has Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants protect against free radicals, which can cause a reaction in the body called oxidative stress (20). Oxidative stress has been linked to many health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure, hardening blood vessels, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and more (21).
As an antioxidant, turmeric can help ward off this type of stress on the body by neutralizing or even blocking free radicals (22). Some research has indicated that turmeric may also stimulate other antioxidants in the body to further enhance your defenses (23).
6. Curcumin Could Help Fight Depression
Research indicates that taking curcumin regularly may be as effective as antidepressants in managing depression (24). Curcumin may also be able to boost the neurotransmitters in your brain that are responsible for “happy chemicals” like serotonin and dopamine (25).
7. Curcumin Is Good for Your Brain
This is because curcumin may increase a protein in the brain associated with a gene called BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor. The more proteins BDNF creates, the more your neurons are able to form new connections. This could make for stronger memory and learning skills, and could help ward off or even reverse many brain diseases (28, 29).
8. Curcumin May Help Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is linked to lower levels of BDNF protein, and curcumin’s potential link to BDNF means it may help prevent the disease from developing (30). Curcumin may also help prevent oxidative stress, another phenomenon associated with Alzheimer’s (31, 32). Research also indicates that curcumin can help clear up amyloid plaques, a protein buildup that is central to Alzheimer’s symptoms (33).
9. Curcumin May Help Manage or Prevent Diabetes
Early animal studies have shown that curcumin may be able to help prevent diabetes by tackling many of the factors that cause it, like inflammation, insulin resistance, and high blood sugar (34). Research has also found that in existing cases of type 2 diabetes, curcumin may be able to decrease blood insulin levels and ease diabetic kidney disease (34, 35).
10. Turmeric Is Good for Your Skin
Because turmeric is an antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory, it’s the perfect ingredient to give a boost to your skin. Taking turmeric may help manage acne, psoriasis, eczema, and even signs of aging (36, 37). It’s a great companion to collagen for turning back the clock on your skin and getting your glow back.
11. Curcumin Could Contribute to Healthier Aging
Curcumin is thought to have anti-aging properties and may even boost longevity (38). Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities could help curb signs of aging, and its potential role in preventing diseases can play a part in a longer and healthier life (39).
How to Choose the Best Turmeric Supplement
If you want to enjoy turmeric and curcumin’s powerful health benefits for the long term, your best move is to take a daily turmeric supplement. Choosing the best turmeric supplements means making sure you’re taking one that helps your body properly and efficiently absorb curcumin.
NativePath Total Turmeric does just that. By including Full Spectrum Curcumin and Black Seed Oil, this supplement is 185X more bioavailable and 27X more powerful than other turmeric supplements on the market (6).
What Medications Should Not be Taken With Turmeric?
Because turmeric is a natural blood thinner, do not consume it if you’re taking a blood thinner medication like aspirin, warfarin, or clopidogrel. This may cause a negative interaction and result in too much bleeding (40). You’ll also want to consider avoiding turmeric if you take antacids since the spice can inhibit them from working (40).
Turmeric may also increase the effectiveness of certain medications. It could have a boosting effect on insulin or diabetes medications as well as anti-hypertensive medications. If you’re interested in taking turmeric to boost your medications, talk to your doctor first to make sure the dosages are right and that it’s safe to try.
The Bottom Line
The benefits of turmeric are vast. So much so that humans have been using it for thousands of years. The main antioxidant in turmeric—curcumin—has been linked to anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-tumor properties.
This ancient spice can be enjoyed in supplement form, too—with NativePath Turmeric Softgels. Make it part of your daily routine for optimal health and longevity.
As a writer, editor, and wellness seeker, Claire has written for Self, Health, Prevention, CNN, Mic, Livestrong, and Greatist, just to name a few. When she's not writing, she specializes in traveling, getting lost in health-related research rabbit holes, and finding new ways to spoil her cat.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.