The Health and Beauty Benefits Of The Golden Spice
Move aside matcha, because turmeric lattes are the hottest new health craze in town.
While most would argue that those green tea leaves are the reigning antioxidant king, it can also contain almost as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. So, it's not exactly everyone's idea of a calming afternoon beverage.
And, now, matcha has challengers for its applauded health benefits. We're talking about turmeric.
For the uninitiated, turmeric lattes - aka 'golden milk' to those in the know - are the latest health drink to take the nation by storm, thanks to the unbelievable benefits of the once neglected spice.
Made from a mixture of cold-pressed turmeric juice and almond, cashew or coconut milk, turmeric lattes have become a staple drink in the diets of the health conscious.
But should you really swap your morning coffee for a dose of the yellow stuff, or is this just another in a long line of passing health food fads?
From improving your complexion to upping your brain game, the health benefits of turmeric are endless...
1. It's Great For Your Skin
Not only does turmeric have great health benefits, it's also great for your skin
Its anti-inflammatory properties mean it can help to reduce redness and skin irritation, whilst its anti-bacterial qualities make it great for blemishes and acne. It's reported that it's especially effective for those suffering from psoriasis and acne scarring.
Turmeric is also a great exfoliant, meaning it can help to improve the overall texture of the skin. If that wasn't enough, it can also help to protect against wrinkles, and prevent moisture loss.
To make matters even better (we know right, who knew a dash of yellow powder had so much power), the spice has a low bioavailability, meaning your body can only absorb a small amount, so you'll only need to add a sprinkle of the stuff to you morning latte to reap the internal benefits.
However, you'll have to ingest it pretty much every day since it passes through your body so quickly if you want to see results, so prepare for a long term relationship with the stuff.
2. It's Good For Your Brain
Turmeric produces a compound known as curcumin, which has a number of medicinal properties. One of these is that it can help to protect against the effects of Alzheimer's disease, increasing overall memory function. As well as this, turmeric can also help to keep your brain healthy, promoting repair to stem cells in the brain.
It really is brain food!
A new study — recently published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry — provides further evidence that curcumin can protect the brain.
For a total of 18 months, the study's participants were randomised to one of two groups. One group took 90 milligrams of curcumin twice daily, while the other group took a placebo. All volunteers underwent standard cognitive tests, and these were repeated every six months throughout the study, as well as at the end.
The results found that subjects who took curcumin twice daily demonstrated a 28 per cent improvement in memory tests over the course of the experiment, while those who took the placebo showed no significant memory improvements.
3. It Helps Relieve Muscle Pain
Curcumin also has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and wound-healing properties, which means it can help to relieve joint pain.
It also helps to reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (great news for gym-bunnies) and is as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs for people who suffer from arthritis.
It can also sooth sprains, settle upset stomachs, stop diarrhoea and reduce bloating. Basically, it's everything you want from a spice.
4. It Delays Diabetes
Studies have found that turmeric can help to delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes, lowering blood glucose levels and reversing insulin resistance.
Given their blood sugar-regulating abilities, when ginger and turmeric are combined they're a powerful tool to manage diabetic symptoms, preventing the dangerous peaks and troughs in blood sugar that can be dangerous for diabetics or those at high risk of developing diabetes.
5. It Fights Infection
Thanks to its anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic qualities, turmeric can help to prevent stomach ulcers, and reduce infection in the gut. It can also help to relieve stomach pain, making it great for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's disease.
According to LIVESTRONG, people fighting off a viral infection such as a cold or flu can drink warm milk with a teaspoon of turmeric three times daily as a preventative health supplement.
6. It Can Help To Relieve Depression
Curcumin is a well-known component that helps to manage depression.
'Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer's disease and major depression,' said study head Gary Small, M.D., director of geriatric psychiatry at UCLA's Longevity Centre.
'These results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years.'
Unlike other anti-depressive drugs, which were found to have a similar effect, curcumin also doesn't carry with it any of the dangerous side effects.
7. It Fights Against Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, turmeric interferes with 'several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth and spread,' meaning it can help to fight against cancer.
During studies, it was found to kill cancer cells, inhibit cancer cell growth, and boost antioxidant levels and the immune system.
Research has also shown that there are low rates of certain types of cancer in countries where people eat curcumin at levels of about 100mg to 200mg a day over long periods of time.
However, Cancer Research UK highlights that there is currently no conclusive research evidence to show that turmeric or curcumin can prevent or treat cancer.
8. It Reduces Cholesterol
Turmeric has been found to reduce levels of 'bad' cholesterol in the body, whilst increasing the levels of 'good' cholesterol.
Curcumin is widely believed to slow the formation of fatty tissue by affecting the blood vessels needed to form it, contributing to lower-body fat and weight loss.
Having lower cholesterol means you are less at risk of developing serious health conditions, from heart attacks to strokes.
Alright guys, we're sold.