Turmeric is a yellow-orange spice made from the herb of the same name. That plant, which is also known by the scientific name Curcuma longa, is a member of Zingiberaceae or the ginger family. It is native to India and parts of Southeast Asia.
The spice is made from the plant’s roots which are ground into a powder. People have used turmeric powder as a dye and a traditional medicine for generations. They have also used it in cooking to add flavor and coloring to various dishes, especially curries. The turmeric benefits in cooking include an earthy aroma resembling that of mustard and a bitter flavor reminiscent of black pepper.
Turmeric benefits health in the following ways: reducing inflammation, promoting cardiovascular health, aiding digestion, and relieving arthritis. It can also help people lose weight.
1. CURCUMIN CAN SUPPRESS THE GROWTH OF ADIPOSE TISSUE
Curcumin is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory found in turmeric. In 2009, researchers at Tufts University reported a study that indicated that curcumin slowed weight gain in mice by preventing new adipose tissue from forming. As a person or mouse gains weight, new blood vessels form along with the increasing fat tissue.
The researchers found that feeding mice curcumin prevented them from developing new blood vessels, and the mice developed less fat tissue. They also had less fat in their livers and lower cholesterol levels than did mice who weren’t fed curcumin.
2. CURCUMIN CAN HELP CONVERT WHITE ADIPOSE TISSUE INTO BROWN ADIPOSE TISSUE
There are actually two types of adipose tissue: white and brown. White adipose tissue stores energy. When people gain weight, they gain more and more white adipose tissue. Brown adipose tissue helps produce heat by burning fat. A neurotransmitter called norepinephrine helps convert white adipose tissue into brown adipose tissue.
In 2015, the science journal “Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications” described a study in which researchers found a way that turmeric benefits health. More specifically, they found that feeding curcumin to mice increased the amount of norepinephrine in their bodies. The added norepinephrine triggered the browning of their white adipose tissue, and the mice lost both weight and fat, even though they were still eating the same amount of food.