Curcumin is a kind of curcuminoid that is most abundantly found in the Indian spice, turmeric (a kind of ginger). It is responsible for imparting turmeric its yellow colour and has been used as yellow food colouring because of the same.
The compound exists in several chemical forms, each of which has a slightly different structure.
Curcumin has been found to have many medicinal properties and health benefits. Owing to this reason, research studies involving the compound have increased substantially in number.
There are no obvious health risks of consuming Curcumin; instead, its consumption is found to have numerous advantages. For this reason, it is advised that turmeric (and by extension, Curcumin) should become a part of your daily diet.
Benefits of Curcumin
You must keep in mind that the Curcumin derived from turmeric is very low in amount, so it might take a while before any of its health benefits are truly observed.
However, this does not disregard the fact that Curcumin is found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – which work in the manner that drugs do, and are potent as well. By targeting the molecular-level functioning, they reduce inflammation without causing harmful side effects.
Owing to these properties, it can be used in fighting the pain associated with arthritis. In working as an antioxidant, not only neutralizes the free radicals in the body but also stimulates the working of the enzymes in the body that are associated with the process.
Curcumin is known to help improve brain function. It does so by boosting the level of a hormone associated with neuron growth. Conversely, it also helps fight the degeneration of the brain – which makes it a particularly good preventive measure against Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative disorders.
Apart from this, some studies indicate that Curcumin may also help fight against depression by maintaining balance among hormones in the brain.
Owing to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Curcumin also helps combat heart disease. Not only do these two advantages go a long way in the prevention of cardiovascular illnesses, the compound also helps by improving the endothelial lining of the heart (which is associated with blood pressure and clotting).
Certain studies also suggest that Curcumin can work to slow down the rate of cancer cell growth and development. It works by reducing the chances of growth and spread of cancer while killing the tumour cells.
While the evidence is not conclusive yet, it may also work as an important factor in preventing the occurrence of cancer.
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Sources of Curcumin
As previously mentioned, one of the most well-known sources of Curcumin is turmeric. Thus, it is advised that people make turmeric an important spice used for daily cooking.
Similarly, Curcumin is also found in curry powder (which contains small amounts of turmeric). Another source of Curcumin is mango ginger, a rhizome that is grown (and consumed) in certain parts of India. The absorption of Curcumin is better when associated with an enhancer such as pepper.
Deficiency of Curcumin
Research indicates that a deficiency in Curcumin can sometimes lead to a deficiency in the levels of Vitamin D in the body – as the two are associated with each other.
Therefore, the symptoms displayed would be those of Vitamin D deficiency. The symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include bone and muscle weakness; apart from this, it also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In the mild to moderate cases of deficiency, an increase in the amount of Curcumin consumed may help counteract these symptoms, if Vitamin D intake is also increased.