Some herbs have proved over the years to contain major benefits for the body and brain. Much more than just an ingredient that gives curry its yellow colour, turmeric is a spice with healing properties. Many high quality studies show it has ample benefits for the body and brain, making it arguably the most effective nutritional supplement available today.

So the latest science is backing up what Indian traditional medicine as always said. Turmeric really does contain compounds to support good health. Curcumin is the main active ingredient. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong anti-oxidant. It is now believed that chronic low-level inflammation plays a role in almost every major Western disease including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Therefore anything that can help to fight inflammation is potentially important. Curcumin fights inflammation at a molecular level. So it’s no surprise that arthritis patients have responded very well to turmeric supplements. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms in such cases more effectively than anti-inflammatory drugs.

Oxidative damage is also believed to be one of the culprits behind ageing, and many common diseases. As a powerful anti-oxidant, curcumin is thought capable of delivering one-two punch free resistances, neutralizing them and stimulating the body’s own anti-oxidant enzymes.

What’s more, it may be useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease, though evidence from trials are inconclusive as yet though several studies have found that curcumin effectively reduces depression symptoms more than a placebo. Curcumin may support heart health in several ways. Studies suggest that Curcumin improves the function of the lining in blood vessels and the fact that it reduces inflammation and oxidation are also significant here.

With more than 10,000 peer-reviewed articles published looking at turmeric’s benefits, it tops the list as the most frequently mentioned medicinal herb in all of science. However, curcumin only accounts for 3% of turmeric powder, so to benefit you really need to take a supplement that contains only the curcumin. Most importantly it shows it should be formulated to be readily absorbed by the body. One effective supplement, supported by 29 clinical studies, combines it with soy and lecithin – making it 30 times more absorbable than standard turmeric.

For some reason or other I have for a number of years considered turmeric a herb worth having. It gives food an aromatic ingredient which enhances taste as well as appetite. I’m glad to realise it has also undeniable health benefits as an added bonus.

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