Golden Healing Benefits of Turmeric Explained
With fall in full swing, the days of sun-kissed skin are far behind us. No more golden hour pics with the sun bouncing off of you for a full Herculean baby glow.
But just because we’ve said goodbye to outdoor temperatures over 60 degrees, doesn’t mean you have to lose the glow. This fall, start living the “golden spice” life with the benefits of turmeric.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a root in the ginger family that is native to Southeast Asia, primarily in India. Turmeric has historic connections to medicine and healing, as it was used in traditional Indian medical systems like Ayurveda and other Eastern Asian practices such as traditional Chinese medicine. (1)
Turmeric is also a very common spice in Asian recipes. If you’ve ever had curry, you’ve probably noticed the bright yellow-orange hue. That’s curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric responsible for its distinctive color as well as the multiple health benefits of turmeric. You might also hear turmeric referred to as the “golden spice”. That’s in part due to its vibrancy, but also because of its long reputation as a multi-beneficial superfood.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
The health benefits of turmeric span across your entire body. From cancer to heart health to immunity, turmeric’s effects make it one of the most powerful foods for fighting and potentially reversing disease.
1. Reduce symptoms of depression
Turmeric has been used historically as a therapeutic agent for mood and depression, but recent studies have also reinforced these effects. When administered regularly for six weeks, patients experienced the same benefits as a traditional antidepressant medication but without the various side effects and harmful possibilities.
Curcumin is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents out there. This can relieve the joint pain from arthritis, delay the effects of Alzheimer’s, and even decrease cancerous inflammation (5). The therapeutic benefits of curcumin on decreasing inflammation also make it a healing solution for people suffering from multiple other inflammatory diseases.
3. Prevent blood clots
The use of turmeric can prevent the accumulation of platelet aggregation, which reduces the risk of forming blood clots (2).
4. Boost skin health
Turmeric is great for the skin from an internal and external standpoint. Face masks have been known to heal scarring and reduce acne as well as give you some of that “golden” glow from the golden spice. Regular consumption of turmeric also contributes to overall skin health, a great way to work from the inside out.
5. Immunity boost
Turmeric has the properties of a prebiotic which allows it to help your gut by feeding the probiotics in your system. Healthy probiotics are what give you a healthy, well functioning digestive and immune system with a healthy microbiome to fight disease. Curcumin is also detoxifying and a natural pain reliever, so it can prevent multiple illness symptoms.
Pill vs Powder
Curcumin supplements can be found in most vitamin stores, but you might be wondering, what’s the point? If turmeric is readily available in my local grocery store, why buy a bottle of little yellow capsules?
Curcumin, though highly beneficial, is not easily absorbed by your system. Naturally occurring curcumin in turmeric has low solubility and oral bioavailability, meaning your body can’t reap the benefits as well in certain forms. Turmeric powder also doesn’t provide as much curcumin per spoonful as a pure capsule.
For some people, this isn’t a major problem. If you are taking turmeric for marginal benefits, kind of like a boost for your system, but you don’t have major health problems that you are trying to address, organic ground turmeric is just fine. If you can find it, fresh turmeric is great too. Turmeric root has the same vitamins and benefits in its pure form, just less concentrated, so it’s no loss.
On the other hand, if you want to target a health problem or disease, concentrated pills may be a better option. Consult a healthcare professional to determine if and how you should take this supplement.
If you want to start incorporating more turmeric into your diet, you can make a drink known as “golden milk”. The name, obviously, comes from the color and the fact that it uses the “golden spice” turmeric.
To make it, you will need:
- Milk of your choice (I love almond)
- Turmeric (fresh or ground)
- Ginger (fresh or ground)
- Black pepper
- Optional raw honey for sweetness
Heat your milk in a saucepan and add in the turmeric, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, and optional sweetener to taste. The black pepper enhances the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric by making it easier to absorb, and ginger is a common antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial root.
Turmeric as Skincare
I mentioned before that one of the benefits of turmeric is that it can give your skin a boost. This is due in part to the great internal benefits you get from ingesting curcumin. The detoxifying and immunity-boosting effects of curcumin help clean your insides for healthier skin. The ~glow~ you might long for comes from a healthy gut, and the multiple benefits of turmeric for your microbiome and blood lead to healthier, brighter skin.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it a great topical treatment for eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, acne, wrinkles, and dark circles. The antioxidants in turmeric can also slow down cell damage in addition to reducing inflammation.
A turmeric exfoliant or mask is an excellent way to spend your evening. You can target problem areas or apply all over for a full-body glow and rejuvenating boost. For a very simple face mask, you can make at home, mix turmeric and apple cider vinegar into honey until you have a thick paste.
Apply this first to a small area of your skin and make sure you don’t experience any unpleasant reactions to the turmeric. Once you’re ready, wash and pat your face dry, then apply the mask. Important note: do NOT keep the mask on for more than 15 minutes. The turmeric will stain your skin if left on for too long and you’ll be less “golden glow” and more “Homer Simpson”.
These are only some of the broader benefits of turmeric, though it has been linked to the prevention of many other disease symptoms. With such an incredible source of healing in your spice cabinet, you can’t go wrong with a dash of the “golden spice” on your next meal or a warm mug of golden milk when you’re feeling under the weather.
Written by Christiana Sinacola