Turmeric is a spice commonly used in curries and grown in China, India, and South Asia. It has long been known for its medicinal properties, which range from simple pain relief to preventing heart disease and certain cancers. Most turmeric benefits come from its active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin contains antioxidants that help fight free radicals, which cause cell damage and impair the immune system.

Turmeric may simply be added to food or taken as an herbal supplement. Supplements may come in tablets, capsules, or liquid extracts, each one offers different turmeric benefits. Other turmeric benefits include the following:

1. Anti-inflammatory

Turmeric has been proven to reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. For best results, mix in about one teaspoon of turmeric into a cup of warm milk three times daily. This also works with other inflammatory conditions, such as psoriasis and infected wounds.

2. Anti-cancer

Perhaps one of the most popular turmeric benefits is its ability to prevent certain types of cancer. Studies have shown that frequent use of turmeric can lower the risk of bowel cancer. When taken with broccoli, cabbage, kale, and turnips, it can also prevent prostate cancer. It is also being investigated for possible efects against breast cancer and skin cancer.

3. Heart disease prevention

Turmeric can help reduce bad cholesterol in the blood, which are the primary cause of artery blockage and heart attacks. Studies are also being conducted to determine its efficiency against multiple sclerosis, a serious nervous disorder.

4. Digestive aid

Turmeric also helps release digestive enzymes that process fats and carbohydrates. Turmeric tea is ideal for people with frequent stomach upsets.

5. Benefits for smokers

There are also several turmeric benefits for smokers. A 1992 study showed that taking only 1.5 grams of turmeric every day for a month can lower the amount of mutagens, a cancer-causing substance, in the body. The same study also compared the urine or smokers and non-smokers, and found that smokers who took regular doses of turmeric had even lower mutagen levels than non-smokers.

IMPORTANT: Dietary supplements in the US are not as strictly regulated as pharmaceutical drugs. Some manufacturers put extenders in their products which may be harmful to your health, such as silica, starch, sugar, and gluten. To make sure your supplements do not contain such chemicals, look for one that is GMP-compliant and avoid those that contain additives, such as artificial colors and flavors.

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