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The “Magic” Properties of Turmeric

I am sure that you have all heard about it, cooked with it, tasted it; TURMERIC! Although you have most probably used it in its powder form,-as a spice-, it is a plant of the ginger family, whose roots we use in cooking. In Asia and India they have been using it for thousands of years as a medicine, dye and food supplement. What is so interesting about turmeric is that it contains 5% to 10% curcumin, a bright yellow chemical – “super nutrient”.

Curcumin is a super nutrient because it belongs to the group of natural phenols, which are micronutrients packed with antioxidants and many health benefits.
To begin with, its anti-inflammatory properties fight the foreign invaders in the body repairing the damage and improve the function of the endothelium (inner lining) of the blood vessels. Both of these functions lower the risk of a heart disease. Most importantly however, it boosts the brain delivered neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is responsible for neurogenesis (the formation of new neurons and neuronal connections). As a result, it decreases the risk of a brain disease since most of them are due to neuronal degeneration. For example, decreased levels of BDNF might lead to depression and Alzheimer’s.

This non-toxic treatment however, not only prevents age-related memory decline but appears to have a variety of benefits such as significant improvement in memory, attention, depression, decision making and anxiety. A study at UCLA confirmed all these benefits and suggested that curcumin reduces the deposits of pathological proteins in our bodies and aids digestion as well. So while cooking during these festive days don’t forget to use your turmeric and enjoy your meals!

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