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The golden-orange spice that lends pizazz to curries and mustards comes from turmeric, an herb with numerous health benefits. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) contains curcumin, a biologically active compound known for its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Traditional Indian and Chinese Medicine practitioners use various forms of turmeric when treating conditions such as heartburn, digestive ailments, arthritis, and chronic pain. Numerous modern studies indicate that curcumin is also active against chronic diseases in which inflammation plays a significant role, including diabetes, obesity-related health complications, irritable bowel syndrome, some types of cancer, cardiovascular, autoimmune, and digestive diseases.
Research shows that curcumin blocks inflammatory enzymes at the cellular level in a natural, gentle, and effective manner. When inflammation in the digestive tract is reduced, the gallbladder can better carry out its important function in the digestive process. For instance, obesity is associated with digestive diseases and various cancers including gallbladder cancer. Studies indicate that curcumin has therapeutic value in the treatment and prevention of obesity-related cancers. Studies have also shown promising, but not conclusive, results for curcumin’s effects on gallstones.
While dietary intake of turmeric is not likely to reach therapeutic levels in terms of disease treatment, including turmeric liberally in your diet may provide digestive health benefits. For example, sprinkle turmeric over soup, yogurt, roasted veggies, or eggs. To help your body maximize absorption of turmeric’s key compounds, add it to healthy fats such as olive oil, an omelette, lean meat, or fish while they are warming.