Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has a long history of use in traditional medicine. According to previous studies, turmeric is not only known for providing curry with its bright yellow color, but also for having potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin is the primary active component of turmeric, and it is also the reason that the spice is yellow. Curcumin is responsible for most of turmeric’s potential health benefits.
Turmeric as Curcumin is an Anti-Inflammatory
Turmeric has long been used to fight inflammation, and most of its anti-inflammatory properties can be attributed to the compound curcumin. A study in the past found that curcumin might be more effective at reducing inflammation than common anti-inflammatory medications, such as Advil (ibuprofen) or aspirin. According to a past review, curcumin may aid in treating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, and arthritis, since chronic inflammation contributes to many chronic diseases.
As inflammation contributes to tumor growth, anti-inflammatory compounds, such as curcumin, may aid in the prevention and treatment of a variety of cancer types, including colorectal, pancreatic, prostate, and breast cancers. In mice, curcumin might slow tumor cell spread as well as prevent tumors from forming.
There are several ways in which it may do this, including disrupting the formation of cancerous cells at various stages in the cell cycle, interfering with cell signaling pathways, and even causing them to die. Cancer can be treated with curcumin in humans, but the research is ongoing and looking more promising by the day!
Curcumin Power Antioxidant
Free radicals, atoms that are highly reactive, are generated in our bodies and found in pollutants, such as tobacco smoke and industrial chemicals. Antioxidants help protect your body against damage caused by these atoms.
Exposure to too many free radicals can damage your body’s fats, proteins, and even DNA, leading to several common diseases and health conditions, such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. The antioxidant properties of spices like turmeric may therefore help prevent free radical damage. Specifically, curcumin scavenges different types of free radicals, controls enzymes that neutralize free radicals, and prevents certain enzymes from creating free radicals.
The effects of turmeric or curcumin on longevity aren’t fully understood. However, previous research suggests turmeric and curcumin may promote longevity by fighting inflammation, protecting the body against free radicals, and preventing cognitive decline.