12 Surprising Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

Curcumin, a natural compound found in turmeric, has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and is thought to be one of the main reasons why the traditional Indian medicine system of Ayurveda has included turmeric in many of its treatments. This article will discuss the twelve surprising health benefits of turmeric and curcumin.

1. Protects Heart

Curcumin improves endothelium function, which is present in the lining of the blood vessels. It also inhibits inflammation and oxidation, both of which are involved in the development of heart disease. Curcumin may also help to lower cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control. All these effects may contribute to its ability to protect against heart disease.

2. Prevents a Variety of Cancer Type

Studies have shown that curcumin can help prevent the development of various types of cancer, including breast, colon, and skin cancer. Curcumin works by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and preventing them from spreading to other body parts. It also helps to induce apoptosis, or cell death, in cancer cells.

3. Fights Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a significant problem in many Western societies, as it is linked to various diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Curcumin can help fight chronic inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines and stimulating the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.

In addition, curcumin scavenges free radicals, damaging molecules that contribute to inflammation. It also boosts the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the body.

4. Protect Against Alzheimer's

Recently, curcumin has been gaining popularity for its potential to delay or reverse Alzheimer's disease. One study showed that curcumin could cross the blood-brain barrier and bind to the amyloid plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. This binding prevents the amyloid plaques from accumulating and damaging brain cells. Another study found that curcumin helped improve memory and attention in people with mild cognitive impairment, which often leads to Alzheimer's disease.

5. Prevent Diabetics

Recent studies have shown that curcumin may also help prevent or manage diabetes. One study found that curcumin supplementation improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood sugar levels in people with diabetes (1). Another study looked at the effect of curcumin on type 2 diabetes, including lower blood sugar levels, improved insulin secretion, and reduced insulin resistance.

6. Helps With Osteoarthritis (OA)

Several studies have investigated the effects of curcumin on OA. One study found that curcumin was more effective than diclofenac, a common OA medication, in reducing pain and improving function in people with knee OA. Another study found that curcumin was as effective as ibuprofen in relieving pain and function in people with hip OA. Curcumin is most effective when used for more extended periods (several months to years) rather than for short-term relief.

7. Helps with Depression

There is growing evidence that curcumin can also be effective in treating depression. One study found that it was as effective as the antidepressant Prozac in treating patients with major depressive disorder. Another study found that curcumin was more effective than a placebo in reducing symptoms of depression. Curcumin seems to work by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels, two neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation.

8. Improves Skin Health

Curcumin, a natural yellow pigment found in the spice turmeric, has been shown to offer a wide range of benefits for the skin. In terms of acne, curcumin can help to reduce inflammation and kill off bacteria that can cause breakouts. For eczema, curcumin's anti-inflammatory properties can help to soothe dry, irritated skin. Additionally, curcumin has been shown to protect against photoaging by reducing the formation of free radicals and stimulating collagen production. Finally, curcumin may also help treat psoriasis by reducing inflammation and promoting skin cell turnover.

9. Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and is a very effective natural treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that curcumin was as effective as diclofenac sodium, a common RA medication, in reducing joint tenderness and pain. Another study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that curcumin was more effective than a placebo in reducing RA symptoms and improving quality of life. Curcumin is a safe and well-tolerated treatment for RA with few side effects.

10. Prevent Eye Degeneration

Curcumin may help to prevent eye degeneration. Studies have shown that curcumin can help to protect against glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness. Curcumin helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can damage the eyes. In addition, curcumin has been shown to promote the growth of new blood vessels, which can help to improve blood flow to the eyes and prevent tissue damage.

11. Protect Against Free Radical Damage

One of the ways it benefits your body is by protecting it from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells, and they're one of the causes of aging. The body has natural enzymes that protect against free radicals but can become overwhelmed. That's where turmeric comes in – it helps to boost these enzymes, giving your body an extra layer of protection.

12. Turmeric Influences Longevity

Curcumin has been shown to boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, a protein that helps promote the growth and development of new nerve cells. BDNF levels tend to decline with age, so increasing levels through supplementation may help preserve cognitive function and delay age-related mental decline.


While more research is needed to confirm the anti-aging effects of turmeric, it is safe to consume in small amounts as a spice or supplement. Adding it to your diet may have potential health benefits and help you live a longer, healthier life.

Updated on: 04-Jan-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started