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A little thing called turmeric - could it have health benefits for you?

Turmeric is a yellow spice (a relative of ginger), widely used in India and is also known for its medicinal properties.

The main active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin which is an antioxidant and also has anti inflammatory benefits. However it has been noted that just using the spice itself may not provide enough of the curcumin and a supplement can provide a higher dosage. The body finds it difficult to absorb the curcumin into the bloodstream well, however it has been found that having black pepper with it improves the absorption rates hugely. You can purchase supplements which contain the black pepper content piperine and it has been shown that consuming 20 mg of piperine with 2 g of curcumin increased absorption by 2000%.

As mentioned above, curcumin has anti inflammatory properties and research has shown that chronic low level inflammation plays a role in things such as heart disease, alzheimers and cancer, therefore some believe it could be used to combat/prevent these diseases. It has also been used to help people with arthritis and some claim it can help with depression too.

Curcumin has also been linked to improved brain function and it may help to prevent degeneration of the brain and memory. Another benefit of it is it can potentially lower your risk of heart disease, as mentioned above. Considering heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the world, this in itself is a great reason to add turmeric/supplement to your diet.

Some studies have shown that curcumin may prevent or even perhaps treat cancer. Indications show that it can reduce the growth of cancerous cells in test animals. Further investigation continues as to whether this can become a form of treatment in humans, however reports show that it could prevent cancer occurring in the first place. Scientists continue to study the benefits of this bright spice.

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