From ancient times until today, spices are used daily not only for the special taste they impart to food, but also for their health-beneficial properties.
Among the spices that stand out for their “miraculous” taste and action are: turmeric It is only from its royal “golden” color that we understand its usefulness.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric or Curcuma (scientific name: Curcuma longa [Κουρκούμη η μακρά]) or yellow root, is a type of spice that comes from a plant of the Zygiveridae family.
As Dr. Duane Mellor, Nutritionist and Chair of the Medical School at Aston University, Birmingham, England, explains, its importance is pervasive and has already been used by humans for more than 4,000 years.
In addition to cooking and cosmetics, it is a staple in traditional Ayurvedic medical practice, and is used to treat a variety of ailments such as arthritis.
while Even today, turmeric remains a popular dietary supplement.
There are many articles and posts on social media claiming the health benefits of this spice, from brain function to reduced pain and inflammation.
But while some of these claims are supported by evidence, most of this research is based on cells and animals, making the actual effects on humans less clear.
While turmeric is reported It contains over 100 different compounds, with most of the reported health benefits associated with specific compounds They are called curcuminoids (curcumin is the most abundant).
What are curcuminoids?
Curcuminoids are fat-soluble polyphenolic pigments, molecules that plants often secrete to deter animals from eating them. This is what gives turmeric its distinctive bright orange color, but it can also change the way cells function.
The main curcumin in turmeric is called curcumin (95% by weight compared to other curcuminoids), so curcumin is the main and most active component of turmeric.
How does turmeric affect health?
Many of the potential health effects of turmeric have been linked to these phenolic compounds which, according to Dr. Duane Mellor, have been shown to have antioxidant activity.
Antioxidants are substances that prevent or slow damage caused by free radicals — a harmful type of molecule that can cause inflammation and has also been linked to heart disease and cancer.
However, while turmeric works Anti-inflammatory, Many health benefits have been proven only in the laboratory.” The scientist asserts, giving the following example.
For example, scientists in one study fed obese mice one gram of curcumin per kilogram of body weight.
After 12 weeks, they discovered that mice given curcumin had similar improvements in brain function and lower levels of inflammation in their livers than mice on a weight-loss diet.».
However, he points out, while this may be successful in mice, “It is not clear if it would have the same effect in humansAdding that if this were in man, “An average person weighing 70kg would need to consume more than 2kg of turmeric per day during the experiment – which is impossible.”.
The potential health benefits of turmeric
Numerous scientific studies have shown that turmeric affects more than 700 genes, which may partly explain its many health benefits.
Here are some of what experts confirm:
1. It has an anti-cancer effect
2. It has an anti-inflammatory effect (acts against arthritis and pancreatitis)
3. It has an antioxidant effect
4. Reduces rheumatic pain and menstrual pain
5. Helps digestion
6. It has an antimicrobial effect, helps heal wounds, treat ulcers and eczema
In particular, pharmacological evaluation of curcuminoids showed pronounced antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, but also cytotoxic effects in various types of cancer.
Dimethoxycurcumin has shown significant anti-cancer effects, particularly against prostate cancer.
Are turmeric supplements equally effective? Read in one click on News4Health.gr
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