There is a great diversity of plant species in nature, many of which are edible for humans. Fruit trees, vegetables, legumes, cereals … all are an integral part of our diet.
In addition to them, we can also find other types of plants that we rather use as a condiment, although they are still of great importance to us and even form part of the traditional cuisine of many cultures.
One of them is turmeric, Which besides being one of the main ingredients of curry has been part of the antiquity of Asian cultures like India and is receiving more and more attention due to its many beneficial properties. It is this vegetable that we will be talking about throughout this article.
What is turmeric?
It is known as turmeric an an aromatic herbaceous plant that is part of the zingiberáceas family and the scientific name is Curcuma longa. This plant is native to the territories of Southeast Asia, in which it has been very well known since antiquity, and on the contrary that others do not reproduce by seeds but by the use of cuttings. The most commonly used part of turmeric is the rhizome or underground stem, from which the roots originate.
The best-known use of this plant is gastronomic, which is generally used as an aromatic spice (which is obtained by crushing the rhizome of the plant) and used as a condiment in various preparations, including the famous curry already mentioned. It is also sometimes used in herbal teas. even if it is a traditional food in Asian countries and especially in IndiaGradually, the use of this species has spread.
In addition, it is also sometimes used as a food that helps treat various minor ailments and diseases, many of its properties known since ancient times and some of them confirmed by science. It also has other uses, such as dyeing or dyeing.
In this sense, an orange food coloring was also generated, E-100, in addition to being used in coloring paints and clothing. It is also part of various religious and cultural traditions (For example, it is one of the plants used as a dye to draw the traditional mark on the forehead which is usually worn by the Hindu people).
Main benefits and properties of this plant
Many properties and benefits have been attributed to turmeric, some of which have been scientifically verified. Generally, one of the most studied elements at this level is curcumin, the natural coloring derived from turmeric. Here are some of the most well-known benefits and properties.
1. It has anti-inflammatory properties
Several studies in animal models seem to indicate that the administration of turmeric and / or curcumin has anti-inflammatory effects, reducing the emission of cytokines (which are pro-inflammatory) and inhibiting that of inflammatory prostaglandins.
In this sense, it can be useful in conditions such as arthritis or psoriasis, and has been shown to be effective in reducing edema and granulomas, In addition to the treatment of asthma. These effects are observed in different organs, ectopic and respiratory, among others.
2. Antitumor effects
Although far from being a miracle product in this sense, administration of turmeric has been observed to have some anticancer effect, helping to reduce the growth of neoplasms by inhibiting the expression of tumor necrosis factors and various interleukins. (which promote development). and tumor growth). Its anti-inflammatory property also contributes to this.
3. An interesting antioxidant
Another proven property of turmeric is its action as an antioxidant, thanks to which slows down the generation and effects of free radicals responsible for cellular aging. These effects have been observed in the bloodstream, protecting against oxidation of hemoglobin and lipids. It also includes a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease, by reducing the appearance of beta-amyloid plaques.
4. Helps with hypoglycemia and diabetes
Some studies indicate that curcumin has hypoglycemic ability, that is, it helps lower blood sugar. outraged it has also been observed to promote an increase in insulin and a reduction in cholesterol.
5. Protects the intestine and the liver
Partly thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and hypoglycemic activity, it has been observed that turmeric helps maintain healthy digestive tract, In addition to possessing hepatoprotective properties. It also facilitates the flow of bile, which also aids in the digestion of fats.
Besides being used as an anti-inflammatory on the skin, turmeric has also been used topically as it also has antioxidant and astringent effects, which promotes wound closure. It is used for example in burns.
7. Protects the heart, lowers cholesterol and prevents heart disease
Turmeric has been observed to be helpful in preventing heart disease because it reduces inflammation and oxidation which can promote them and in addition it has an antiplatelet capacity. In this sense, it is very useful because it makes it difficult to create thrombi and also helps lower cholesterol.
8. Antibiotic properties
In addition to all of the above, turmeric has been observed to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiprotozoal effects, which helps fight certain infections and parasites.
9. Its usefulness in the fight against HIV is under study.
Some studies suggest that turmeric and products derived from its active ingredients may be helpful for people with HIV, as it appears. help slow the spread of the retrovirus by affecting HIV-1 intergrase.
10. Improves mood
Finally, it should be noted that another of the interesting properties of turmeric is the fact that it helps reduce stress and depression levels in the help modulate the neurotransmission of certain hormones.
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