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      Improve your mental health with turmeric, a natural antidepressant
      04/25/2020 / By Skye Anderson / Comments
      Improve your mental health with turmeric, a natural antidepressant

      The rootstalks of the Indian spice Curcuma longa, more commonly known as turmeric, is?known all over the world as the main ingredient of curry. Although it may look a lot like ginger from the outside, turmeric’s bright orange flesh is what gives?it away.

      Aside from being a well-loved spice, turmeric is also known as a medicinal herb. In fact, it is widely used in Ayurveda because of its healing properties. Today, turmeric is made into supplements or tea and added to dishes or beverages to treat or prevent?a wide range of diseases, from inflammatory bowel diseases to rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer.

      But in a recent study, Italian researchers reported that turmeric can also help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. After reviewing the results of several studies, they found strong evidence of turmeric consumption benefiting people with major depressive disorder (MDD). They credited turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties for its positive effects on mental health.

      Natural antidepressant

      Over the years, studies have?shed light on turmeric‘s many?health-promoting properties, most notably its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer activities. Researchers have?attributed?these properties to the presence of a compound known as curcumin. A yellow pigment found mainly in turmeric, curcumin is an active polyphenol that offers a variety of health benefits.

      In a study published in?Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, researchers at the University of Catania in Italy reviewed the results of nine studies involving participants with MDD. These participants were given curcumin as part of their daily diet. The researchers reported that curcumin was well-tolerated by the participants and had an overall significant effect on depressive and anxiety symptoms. This suggests that turmeric consumption can be used as a treatment strategy for people suffering from anxiety and depression.

      An earlier study also reported the antidepressant effects of curcumin from turmeric. In it, researchers from Australia recruited 56 patients with MDD and gave them either curcumin or a placebo twice a day for eight weeks. They reported considerable improvements in the patients’ depression test scores after four weeks of taking curcumin. The researchers noted that the improvements lasted until the eight week, especially in those with atypical (difficult to treat) depression.

      According to Adrian Lopresti, one of the authors of the study, curcumin’s antidepressant effects are a result of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.

      “People with depression have greater inflammation and oxidative stress, which can affect all major organs in the body, including the brain,” he explained. By reducing both inflammation and oxidative stress, curcumin can restore the levels of important brain chemicals which are decreased by these events. This action not only improves brain function, it also protects the brain and elevates the mood.

      Other health benefits of turmeric and curcumin

      Turmeric and its main active component, curcumin, are two of the most well-studied plant-phytonutrient combos. However, studies have found that turmeric only has about three percent curcumin by weight; hence adding this spice to your food may not be enough to enjoy its full benefits. In addition, curcumin is also poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, so it needs to be combined with another natural compound, such as piperine from black pepper, to increase its absorbability.

      When the body’s ability to absorb curcumin is enhanced, it results in the following health benefits:

      • Reduced inflammation
      • Increased antioxidant capacity
      • Improved brain function due to an increase in brain-derived neurotropic factor
      • Lower risk of brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease
      • Decreased risk of heart disease
      • Cancer prevention
      • Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
      • Delayed aging
      • Disease prevention

      The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric — which are thanks to curcumin — can help?prevent chronic diseases, especially those linked to inflammation. To enjoy the health benefits of turmeric, add this superfood to your daily diet and?take high-quality turmeric supplements that also contain piperine to ensure maximum absorption.

      Sources:

      TurmericForHealth.com

      OrganicLifestyleMagazine.com

      TAndFOnline.com

      PsychiatryAdvisor.com

      Healthline.com

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