Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a herbaceous plant of the genus Curcuma, reaching heights of up to 1 meter, with a highly branched rhizome. The root of the plant has both medical as well as culinary application.

It possesses a pronounced yellowing effect due to its 2 – 5% contents of the curcumin pigment in the root. Recruitment of root-stocks begins once the leaves of the plant get yellowed.

Southeast Asia is considered its homeland but it is generally grown in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka, the Caribbean countries and others. Due to the beauty of its colors, in Bulgaria Curcuma is also grown in pots with decorative purposes.

Crushed in powder, the roots have a bright orange color and even a very small amount of the ingredient has the ability to you’re your dish yellowish. For the coloring and flavoring of 4 servings, a quantity equal to ? teaspoon is sufficient. In India, it is generously added to rice, eggs, curries and other dishes and because of its color resemblance to saffron it is also called the saffron of the poor.

Industry-wise is vastly applied as a coloring agent for margarine, cheese, liqueurs, ice cream, cakes, orange juice, biscuits, sauces and is known as the E100 food additive. It is mainly used to protect food from sunlight.

Recently, there has been a growing interest in the use of nutritional supplements with turmeric in diets to reduce excess weight due to a number of reports demonstrating that this natural extract can have serious positive effects. Like many diseases, obesity is characterized by increased inflammatory processes in the body. The active ingredient of turmeric, is proven to modulate a wide variety of cellular functions to reduce harmful inflammatory processes. It is believed that chronic inflammation plays a major role in almost all diseases. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and various degenerative conditions.

Curcuma plays an important role in detoxifying the liver, enabling it to perform its task of burning fat. In addition, curcumin increases thermogenesis and promotes weight loss. The popular spice improves digestion and speeds up metabolism. Our neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in certain areas of the brain they can also multiply and increase. One of the main drivers of this process is the neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a type of growth hormone functioning in the brain. Very common brain disorders are associated with decreased levels of this hormone.

Some include chronic depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly, curcumin may increase the brain levels of BDNF. Thus, the herb extract may be effective in delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and those associated with reduced brain function due to aging. The main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart health is improving the function of the endothelium – the lining of the blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and includes an inability to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and other similar factors. The herb has the ability to reduce inflammation and oxidation in the body, all important factors in various heart diseases.  Researchers study curcumin as a useful herb in the treatment of cancer. It can affect the growth, development and spread of the tumor at molecular level. Studies have shown that the active substance in turmeric can reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors), metastasis (cancer spread), and contribute to the death of cancer cells.

HOW DO WE CONSUME CURCUMA?    

1. Add turmeric as spice in the dishes. This is the best way to consume curcuma regularly. You can add turmeric to almost any dish you cook, but prepare for a slightly different and exotic flavor. Regular intake of turmeric in food will speed up metabolism and reduce bad cholesterol, thereby naturally stimulating weight loss. However, do not add too much turmeric because nothing thst is too much is healthy. Only half to one teaspoon is enough for any dish.

2. Prepare drinks with turmeric. This is the second possible way to use turmeric.

Turmeric milk Drinking milk with turmeric is widespread in India. Adding a pinch of turmeric powder (half a teaspoonful) to a glass of warm milk helps to speed up metabolism and lose weight, as well as aiding your good night sleep if you drink it 30 minutes prior to going to bed.

Who should not consume turmeric for weight loss?

Turmeric consumption should be seized 2 weeks prior to each surgical intervention. This is because, in combination with some drugs, turmeric slows blood clotting. People suffering from diabetes, those with gallbladder problems, pregnant women and nursing women are better able to refrain from consuming too much turmeric. It is best to discuss the topic with your physician, taking into account your specific condition.