Initially used as a dye, turmeric has been cultivated in Asia for almost 2,500 years and formed an integral part of traditional folk medicine.

It’s most common use these days is in the kitchen and it remains a key ingredient in dishes across the Middle East and Asia.

In recent years,

A wealth of studies have been conducted on the health benefits of the vibrant spice and the results show that its properties are more incredible than even traditional medicine practitioners could have predicted.

A completely safe, yet potent pain reliever, fat burner, immune system booster, and anti-inflammatory – people around the world are turning to turmeric to increase their quality of life.

And the best part?

Turmeric is entirely compatible with your ketogenic diet!

In this article,

We’re going to take a look at the top five health benefits of this super spice and how you can start integrating it more into your diet.

#1 Anti-Inflammatory

The active component of turmeric is called curcumin. It’s this wonder compound that gives turmeric its anti-inflammatory [1] and anti-oxidizing properties along with its distinct yellow coloring.

Incorporating turmeric into your diet can improve conditions like arthritis [2], muscle ache, and joint pain.

Numerous eye problems (cataracts, macular degeneration, etc.) have been linked to arthritis symptoms. Further, studies have shown that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties can even be used to combat degenerative eye diseases.

#2 Intestinal Health

Many followers of the ketogenic diet have turned to turmeric to improve their intestinal health.

While there may be seemingly limitless articles on fermented foods and probiotics online, turmeric curcumin has been shown to improve digestion by relaxing the muscles in your digestive tract and relieving gas and bloating.

A digestive tract that experiences low stress creates the perfect breeding ground for healthy gut bacteria, improving the health of your stomach lining in the process, and even increasing the production of stomach mucus; a key fighter against damage and discomfort caused by stomach acids.

#3 Weight Management

Having more control over their weight is another core reason why many people turn to the ketogenic diet. As stated before, turmeric can help them achieve this goal.

Not only does curcumin lower insulin levels and improve hypoglycemia—ultimately reducing the risk of diabetes—but it also enhances leptin resistance.

Further studies have also shown that curcumin can improve the body’s natural fat-fighting abilities, prevent fat accumulation in adipose tissues, and promote the “browning” of these tissues, effectively transforming them from fat-storing tissues into energy liberating ones.

#4 Liver Detoxification

Your liver is arguably one the most important organs in your body. It’s responsible for removing toxins from your bloodstream, producing digestion-aiding bile and playing a crucial part in the digestion, absorption, and processing of food.

Over time, your liver can become susceptible to a number of issues that compromise its critical function, including oxidative stress, chronic alcohol consumption, and viruses such as hepatitis.

Research has shown that turmeric naturally aids in the detoxification of the liver and can even help repair the harm done to an alcohol-damaged or fatty liver.

It’s also known to prevent against oxidative stress and reduce the impact of free radicals—unstable molecules with an odd number of electrons—that can have a negative impact on your tissues and cells.

#5 Long-Term Brain Function

For years scientists were curious about the unusually low rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly population of India when compared to the rest of the world.

By studying the various aspects of the population’s diet, they were able to isolate turmeric—extremely prevalent in the kitchens of most Indians—and begin to examine the benefits it has for brain health [3].

One study showed that curcumin might slow down the accumulation of amyloid plaque [4] in the brain, the substance that leads to Alzheimer’s, dementia and reduced brain function.

Following trials proved that curcumin is also able to prevent the clumping of proteins in the brain which leads to Parkinson’s disease. It also increases glutathione – an antioxidant in nerve cells which controls movement within the brain, which in turn, protects the brain from the damage Parkinson’s causes to the nerve cells.

Finally, research has also shown that curcumin improves nerve growth in the brain’s frontal cortex, effectively boosting the positive effects of antidepressants.

How Should I Take Turmeric?

With all of these incredible benefits, it’s no surprise that turmeric’s popularity as a dietary supplement has increased dramatically outside of Asia over the past decade, but how exactly should you take it?

Many people opt to take turmeric in pill form, however, they may be missing out on the hundreds of excellent recipes to be found online.

You can use turmeric in the same way you’d use any other curry-flavored spice in your dishes—adding it to rice, veggies or even pancakes—but these days people are getting even more creative.

Turmeric lattes, also known as “Golden Milk” are all the rage these days and are simple to make at home or easily located in many popular coffee shops. It’s a delicious combination of turmeric, coconut milk, coconut oil, ginger, honey, and cinnamon.

Lastly, you can mix turmeric powder with water to create a paste, then rub it on yourself.

Confused?

It turns out that turmeric is also a powerful antiseptic and antibacterial, making it ideal for disinfecting burns and cuts and promoting faster, natural healing.

Bottom Line

It’s always advisable to speak with your doctor or health provider before taking turmeric as a regular health supplement, especially if you have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, gallbladder issues, liver problems or cancer, to ensure it won’t interfere with your current medications or cause any unwanted side-effects.

Once you’ve been given the go-ahead, it’s simple to introduce turmeric into your ketogenic diet and start giving your body the health boost it deserves.

References:
[1] Jurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53.

[2] Chandran B1, Goel A. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.
Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639. Epub 2012 Mar 9.

[3] Dong S., Zeng Q., Mitchell E., Xiu J., Duan Y., Li C., Tiwari J.K., Hu Y., Cao X., Zhao Z. Curcumin Enhances Neurogenesis and Cognition in Aged Rats: Implications for Transcriptional Interactions Related to Growth and Synaptic Plasticity. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e31211 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031211.

[4] Zhang L, Fiala M, Cashman J, Sayre J, Espinosa A, Mahanian M, Zaghi J, Badmaev V, Graves MC, Bernard G, Rosenthal M. Curcuminoids enhance amyloid-beta uptake by macrophages of Alzheimer’s disease patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2006 Sep;10(1):1-7.

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Jessica Cotzin is a freelance writer, web developer, and avid traveler. Born and raised in South Florida, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Multi-Media Journalism from Florida Atlantic University and currently resides in Miami Beach. Her passions lie in reading great literature and traveling the world, bumping blindly into new adventures.

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