Ingredient Highlight: Turmeric

5 Ways Turmeric Benefits Your Health

When you take a bite of a chai almond BumbleBar, you’re greeted with the spicy-sweet medley of turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. Here at BumbleBar, we not only aim to create yummy concoctions, but to pack our bars full of ingredients that boost your health. Turmeric is one of those ingredients.

The turmeric plant has lance-shaped leaves and yellow flowers, with the herb rhizome as the root.

The spice — popular in South and Southeast Asian cooking and medicine — comes from the rhizome of the Curcuma longa plant, which is in the same family as ginger. The bright yellow-orange, fleshy rhizome used to make the powder grows horizontally underground as the root of the perennial flowering plant.   

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. Its health benefits range from treating depression to providing relief from gingivitis. Here are five ways curcumin helps your body:

1. It protects your cells against damage. 

Turmeric has potent antioxidant properties that help protect against free radical damage to our DNA and cells. Our bodies have a mechanism to deal with free radicals, but because of factors such as pollution and the food we eat, the task can become too overwhelming. It’s important to assist our bodies by including antioxidants in our diets. Antioxidants like curcumin are incredibly effective at scavenging and neutralizing free radicals.

2. It reduces the inflammation of many chronic illnesses.

Inflammation is known to play a major part in chronic diseases, such as pancreatitis, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, and irritable bowel syndrome. Studies show turmeric has an anti-inflammatory effect that lowers histamine levels and increases the production of natural cortisone. It’s highly capable of targeting molecules involved in inflammation.

3. It has the potential to treat cancer.

Tumor production is closely associated with inflammation. Because turmeric is anti-inflammatory, it can inhibit or reverse cancer formation. The role of turmeric in fighting cancer has yet to be heavily researched, but research so far shows it to be quite promising in this field.

4. It gives your brain a boost.

Curcumin can increase levels of the growth hormone Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, have been linked to decreased levels of the BDNF hormone in the brain. Studies also exhibit curcumin’s ability to boost the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, and treat depression.

5. It’s good for your mouth.

This incredible spice even has dental benefits! Due to turmeric being anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, as well as antiseptic and immunostimulant, it can treat periodontal disease and oral cancers. You can also make it into a paste or mouthwash. By massaging it onto aching teeth, it can relieve pain and swelling from gingivitis and periodontitis.

How To Use Turmeric

Turmeric is a rhizome, an underground stem that is dried and ground into powder.

It’s important to note that most studies on turmeric have participants taking dosages exceeding 1 gram per day of turmeric extracts with higher concentrates of curcumin than common turmeric. So if you are seeking the full effect of these benefits, you might want to go for an extract.

You also want to consume turmeric with black pepper. Sadly, our bloodstreams don’t absorb curcumin well, but that’s easily fixed by pairing it with piperine (the alkaloid in black pepper). 

Regularly adding turmeric to snacks and meals is still an excellent way to receive the herb’s health benefits. Putting it in fatty meals is especially beneficial, as curcumin is fat soluble. Try out our recipe for cauliflower tempeh curry and our fast-breakfast mini tofu quiches. Don’t forget to add some pepper! Or you can drink your turmeric with this recipe for turmeric almond milk. The turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, and ginger give this cozy drink a bold flavor.

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