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Updated by TrendingOnIndia on Dec 07, 2015
Headline for 10 reasons to add a pinch of turmeric or haldi to your diet!
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10 reasons to add a pinch of turmeric or haldi to your diet!

Turmeric or haldi is one ingredient in your kitchen that holds a remedy for almost all illness you are likely to encounter. A staple spice in almost all Indian households, it has been used by Ayurvedic and Unani practitioners in India from time immemorial. Turmeric is aromatic, stimulant and tonic and also corrects disordered process of nutrition and restores the normal function of the system. This spice not only adds colour and flavour to food preparations but is packed with numerous health benefits. Here are the top 10 reasons you need to add this humble root to your food without fail!

Prevents Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a condition that affects the brain. Commonly seen in the elderly, this condition incapacitates the patient by rendering almost all the functions of their brain useless. Thought to be caused due to the accumulation of amyloid plaques, degradation of neurons, and tangled neuro-fibers, this condition still does not have a cure. According to a paper published in the Annals of the Indian Academy of Neurology (that compiled all the notable studies done with regards to turmeric’s action against Alzheimer’s), it states that turmeric or haldi is capable of preventing and healing Alzheimer’s disease. It states that diferuloylmethan (the main component in turmeric) is the component that reduces inflammation, stops excessive amyloid plaque formation around neurons and prevents their degradation, eventually preventing and reducing the severity of the disease.

Prevents cancer

Haldi is known to have chemo-protective properties and can protect you from a number of cancers like colon cancer, cancer of the prostate, T-cell leukaemia, radiation induced tumours and breast cancers. A study published in the Journal of Cancer Research[6] found that the compounds present in turmeric were capable of preventing the progression of both invasive and non invasive colon cancers by destroying cancer cells. It also found that the anti oxidative properties of haldi protects the body from damage due to oxidative stress and radiation, thereby reducing your chances or suffering from tumours caused due to radiation.

Relieves arthritis

The anti inflammatory and anti oxidative properties of turmeric make it a perfect home remedy for arthritis. A number of studies performed previously have also established that haldi has amazing immune-protective benefits. Because of its combined actions on the body, haldi has been used as an effective agent in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Studies conducted by Arizona Center for Phytomedicine Research[7] and at the Institute of Chemical Biology,[8], found that the compounds present in turmeric were responsible for reducing the inflammation associated with arthritis and RA. The study also found that continuous consumption of the root helps to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with the conditions.

Controls diabetes

If you have diabetes, haldi is something you simply must include into your diet. The curcumin present in turmeric has a very potent effect in moderating insulin levels and enhancing the efficacy of anti diabetic drugs. Being an antioxidant, it fights off the ill effects of free radicals and reduces insulin resistance. A study performed by Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center [9], found that curcumin prevents protein glycosylation (where the protein molecule is altered) and lipid peroxidation (oxidative degradation of lipids), two process that occur commonly in the body when a person has high blood sugar. By controlling these two factors, turmeric increases the person’s sensitivity to insulin lowering his/her total blood sugar.

Prevents liver disease

Turmeric is great for the liver. It protects it from the damage caused by eating foods that contain high amounts of fat and excessive alcohol consumption. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition [2], found that the anti oxidative, anti carcinogenic and hypocholesterolemic action (an action that lowers the amount of cholesterol in the blood) of turmeric – mitigated by the content of curcuminoids in it – helps lower the potentially damaging effects of excessive cholesterol on the liver. Since turmeric alters the way body metabolizes fatty acids, this action helps in keeping the liver healthy, and is vital to protecting the liver from diseases such as non alcoholic fatty liver disease and damage caused due to excessive accumulation of fats in and around the liver. In another study published in the American Journal of Physiology[3], it was found that the root had the potential to prevent alcohol-induced liver disease. The study found that the compounds in turmeric helped in blocking a particular gene that was linked to inflammation and necrosis of the liver due to excessive alcohol consumption. Haldi was found to protects the liver from both biochemical and pathological damage caused due an unhealthy lifestyle.

Lowers cholesterol

Did you know? Having turmeric on a daily basis can keep your cholesterol levels in check. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry [9] found that regularly consuming haldi changed the way the body processed cholesterol. This change lowers the total LDL or ‘bad’cholesterol and increased the amount of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol in the body.

Relieves gas, diarrhoea and morning sickness

Dr HK Bhakru says, ‘Turmeric is a very useful intestinal antiseptic. The juice or dry powder of its rizome, mixed in buttermilk or plain water is beneficial in intestinal problems, especially chronic diarrhoea. It also helps prevent flatulence. Fresh juice from the rhizomes, a paste prepared from it, or a decoction made from the plant has been found beneficial in the treatment of vomiting during pregnancy and afflictions of the liver. Turmeric has been found to inhibit bacterial growth and works as a powerful cleaning agent within the digestive system.’

Acts as good blood clotting agent and heals wounds faster

Whenever you get cut, you must have heard your grandmother or mother tell you to immediately put some haldi on the wound. No, they are not being superstitious, it is because of all the healing properties the humble spice has. The naturally present phenolic compounds in turmeric make it an effective natural antiseptic agent.It is also a natural antibacterial agent and can be used as an effective disinfectant. A study conducted at the Kasturba Medical college, Manipal, India [4] found that the phenolic compounds help speed up the wound healing process. This theory was further strengthend by a study performed at the Department of Pathology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA [5] that found that difeurloylmethane, helped in faster wound healing and hastens the process of complete recovery by initiating new skin formation over the wounds. Leading to the conclusion that haldi had properties that could not only heal a wound faster but also reduce the intensity of the scar seen on the skin.

Fights cough and cold

Rich in curcumin and volatile oils that have a protective as well as therapeutic action, turmeric is great in treating a cough and cold . As soon as you feel a scratchy sensation in your throat, it indicates the onset of a sore throat or cough, rely on haldi to stop the problem from getting aggrivated. The easiest way of using turmeric is to drink hot milk with half a tea spoon of turmeric.

Great for the skin

Turmeric is an elixir for the skin. It’s anti-inflammatory and anti oxidative properties help reduce the signs of ageing, wrinkles and fine lines, reduces burn and stretch marks, fights acne and takes care of cracked heels.

For diseases:

You can consume turmeric either as seasoning or just as it is. The best way is to have turmeric tea. Boil 4 cups of water, add 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder and keep for 10 minutes. Strain using a fine strainer if necessary, and then mix in a little honey and lemon – your medicinal turmeric tea is ready.

For beautiful blemish free skin:

If you want your skin to glow with health, haldi is what you need. Just take some young (immature) haldi roots. Every morning, on an empty stomach, mash a small piece of the root (about the size of a one rupee coin) mix it with a small cup of warm milk or warm water, and drink the mixture. This will ensure that your skin is clear, free of blemishes and glows. An added benefit is that this mixture purifies the blood and prevents acne.