Turmeric Brain Benefits

Turmeric is a spice that has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine. It has many health benefits, including being an effective treatment for arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant, and it contains curcumin, which is responsible for its many health benefits. In this article, we’ll discuss 10 proven turmeric brain benefits, including how it can improve your memory, reduce inflammation, and protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Turmeric?

It’s the root of the Curcuma longa plant that grows all over Asia. It has been used as medicine since ancient times. This ancient spice comes from this rhizome which contains curcuminoids. These are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. They also help protect your body against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases.

People often buy it as a spice in jars or packets, but many ways to use it. You can make curry powder out of it, add it to soups and stews, mix it into yogurt, sprinkle on bread, drink tea made from its leaves, etc.

Curcumin vs. Turmeric: Is There a Difference?

Turmeric is a curry spice that comes from the root of Curcuma Longa, which belongs to the same plant family as ginger.

Curcumin is one of the ingredients in turmeric. It only makes up 2-8% of total turmeric content, so most people don’t know about it. But it is essential because it gives turmeric its health benefits.

However, they have different chemical compounds. While both contain curcuminoids, turmeric contains more than twice as much. In addition, turmeric contains piperine while curcumin does not. Piperine helps increase absorption by up to 1000%. So if you want to get the maximum benefit from turmeric, take it along with a food rich in fat like butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, eggs, meat, fish, cheese, milk, cream, etc.

10 Proven Turmeric Brain Benefits

Increases Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that travel between neurons in our brains. They help us think, feel emotions, remember things, make decisions… They allow us to function correctly. The most important neurotransmitter for memory formation is called BDNF or Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. This protein plays an essential role in learning new information and forming memories. When people eat turmeric regularly, their levels of this neurotrophin increase significantly!

BDNF plays an essential role in learning and memory formation. When we learn something new, our brains produce BDNF. If we do not practice regularly, then our ability to create new memories will decrease.

studies show that older adults who took daily doses of turmeric had higher levels of BDNF compared to those taking placebo pills.

Improves Your Memory

Curcumin also helps to improve your memory Studies suggest that regular consumption of turmeric improves cognitive functions such as attention span, concentration, working memory, verbal fluency, speed processing, problem solving skills, reasoning abilities, visual perception, spatial orientation, short term memory, delayed recall, recognition, and even mood.

One study showed that participants who ate 1 gram of turmeric per day improved their performance on tests measuring mental flexibility, planning, and decision making. Another study found that older women who consumed 500 mg/day of curcumin supplement performed better on tests assessing verbal fluency and abstract thinking.

Fights Depression Naturally

In addition to boosting your brain health, turmeric is an effective natural antidepressant. This means that if you suffer from mild to moderate depression, you should consider adding some turmeric to your diet.

The reason why turmeric works so well against depression is that it contains anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation plays a huge role in mental illness. When you have too much inflammation in your body, it leads to negative emotions.

A total of 60 participants were divided into three groups. One group received Prozac, another received curcumin, and the third group received both Prozac and curcumin. Researchers found that curcumin produced the same results as Prozac after less than 2 months.

The group that took both Prozac and curcumin saw the most remarkable improvement. Despite these findings, the sample size of this study was relatively small, so further research, particularly in areas where turmeric is uncommon in dietary regimens, is needed to clarify the picture.

Boosts Your Focus & Motivation

Turmeric has a stimulating effect on the body when taken orally. When you take it internally, it stimulates the production of serotonin – one of the most critical neurotransmitters in the human body. Serotonin plays a crucial role in regulating sleep patterns, appetite, energy level, and motivation.

When we’re feeling down, lack motivation, or tired, our bodies naturally produce lower amounts of serotonin. This leads us to feel sluggish, unmotivated, and lethargic.

By supporting your brain’s neurotransmitters, turmeric can help improve your overall sense of wellbeing. If you want to get motivated, focused, energized, and ready to tackle any task at hand, try taking a teaspoon of ground turmeric daily before bedtime. You’ll be amazed how quickly it will kickstart your productivity!

Anti-Alzheimer’s Properties

Turmeric has also been found to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. This is because it boosts the production of an enzyme called BACE1.

BACE1 plays a role in forming amyloid plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. By boosting this enzyme, turmeric could potentially prevent plaque formation.

It might also reduce inflammation, another hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Inflammation causes damage to nerve cells, leading to cognitive decline.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Turmeric contains an ingredient called gingerol, which helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol. This means that if you’re feeling stressed out, turmeric could provide relief. Curcumin also reduces anxiety by increasing GABA receptors in the brain.

2018 study suggests that curcumin (the main ingredient of turmeric) supports a biochemical balance in the striatum, hippocampus, and amygdala. These are areas of your brain that regulate emotions. 

Helps You Get to Sleep Faster

Turmeric also helps us sleep better. It contains an essential oil called eugenol which acts as a sedative. This means that if you take it before bedtime, you’ll fall asleep faster.

This could be useful if you struggle to wind down at night or wake up feeling groggy after sleeping through the alarm clock.

In addition, curcumin improves insulin sensitivity Insulin promotes growth hormone secretion, which increases alertness. So when you eat something sugary right before going to bed, you won’t have much trouble falling asleep.

This makes sense since insulin resistance often disrupts regular sleep cycles. Curcumin improves insulin sensitivity, making it easier for your pancreas to release enough insulin during sleep.

Help reduce inflammation

Another benefit of turmeric is that it lowers inflammation throughout the body. Turmeric works well on arthritis pain, gout, inflammatory bowel diseases, psoriasis, and other conditions caused by chronic inflammation.

If you suffer from these types of health issues, consider adding some turmeric to your diet.

Boosts Immunity

One more reason why turmeric should be added to your kitchen cabinet: it strengthens immunity. Studies show that turmeric protects against cold viruses, influenza, herpes simplex virus 1, and HIV.

The active compound responsible for all of these immune system improvements is known as curcumin.

How Does Turmeric Work?

There are two ways that turmeric affects your body. First, it stimulates the liver to make bile acids. Second, it activates enzymes involved in detoxification. Bile Acids

When we consume food, our bodies break them into smaller pieces to pass easily through the digestive tract. Bile acids help this process along. They dissolve fats and fat soluble vitamins.

But sometimes, too many bile acids build up in the bloodstream. When this happens, they cause problems such as gallstones, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, gas, bloating, and fatigue.

Turmeric boosts the production of bile acids because it has compounds similar to those found in plants. One example is silymarin, which comes from milk thistle seeds. Silymarin binds to cholesterol molecules and prevents them from forming gall stones.

Turmeric and Enzymes

Turmeric also enhances enzyme activity. Enzyme activation occurs naturally over time. But taking supplements like turmeric will speed things up.

For instance, turmeric speeds up metabolism. Metabolism refers to how quickly energy is burned off. If you’re overweight, then your metabolism slows down. That’s one way to lose weight.

However, there are several reasons why your metabolism might slow down even though you don’t want to gain any extra pounds. For example, stress may reduce metabolic rate. Or certain medications may do the same thing.

So what does turmeric do to boost metabolism? Well, it turns out that turmeric activates three different kinds of enzymes. These include lipase, amylase, and proteases.

Lipase breaks down fatty foods. Amylase digests carbohydrates. Proteases digest proteins. Altogether, these enzymes work to increase digestion and absorption of nutrients.

turmeric for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

If you have an obsessive compulsive disorder or any kind of mental illness, then you might want to consider adding turmeric into your diet. It could do wonders for your overall wellbeing.

There are studies showing that people who take turmeric supplements experience less severe symptoms than those taking placebo pills.

However, if you suffer from OCD, you should talk to your doctor before starting on a supplement. There are adverse effects involved when consuming large amounts of turmeric.

Quenches Inflammation In The Brain

Inflammatory conditions affect nearly every organ in the body. And they also impact how we think and behave.

Turmeric helps reduce inflammation throughout the entire body. It does this through multiple mechanisms, including:

Reducing free radical damage

Turmeric contains antioxidants called curcuminoids. Free radicals are unstable oxygen atoms with an unpaired electron.

Alleviates Brain Fog

Inflammation is the Cause of Brain Fog

They attack healthy cells and cause cell death. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating their electrons. So, they become stable again.

This means that antioxidant levels rise within the body. As a result, oxidative stress decreases. Oxidative stress causes DNA mutations and other cellular changes that lead to disease.

Increasing antioxidant activity

Curcuminoids can directly scavenge reactive oxygen species. They also activate detoxification pathways.

These pathways help remove toxins from the body. Finally, curcuminoids inhibit inflammatory chemicals such as cytokines. Cytokines are immune system messengers that tell white blood cells to go after invaders.

Curcuminoids block cytokine production so that white blood cells cannot get going.

Decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines

When activated, macrophages produce high levels of interleukin 1 beta. IL1B stimulates the release of more cytokines.

It also increases the expression of genes associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s Disease.

The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric make it useful against many health problems. However, it is most effective at reducing pain caused by arthritis.

Enhancing nitric oxide production

Nitric oxide plays several important roles in our bodies. For example, it relaxes smooth muscles.

Nitric oxide also acts as a neurotransmitter. That means it communicates messages between nerve cells.

Finally, nitric oxide promotes wound healing. These functions all contribute to making turmeric beneficial for treating various ailments.

Alleviates Brain Fog

Brain fog refers to mental confusion or lack of clarity. It often occurs during times of emotional distress.

Brain fog happens when you’re not able to think clearly because your mind isn’t functioning properly. You may have trouble remembering things, concentrating, thinking logically, or even speaking coherently.

Your memory might seem fine, but you just don’t feel right. Or maybe you’ve noticed some cognitive issues creeping up on you over time.

You could experience any number of symptoms related to brain fog. Some common ones include:

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Headaches

Since turmeric is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory foods in nature, it will help to reduce your brain fog caused by inflammation. 

Natural Turmeric vs. Supplements

We recommend using natural turmeric over curcumin supplements because there are so many more nutrients found naturally within turmeric. It’s best to consume the spice in its whole form by adding it as a spice while cooking or mixed with milk or water – just like it’s been done for thousands of years.

This way, you’ll receive the full spectrum of bioactive compounds, including antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols, volatile oils, etc., which work synergistically together to provide maximum benefit.

In addition, supplements contain only isolated forms of this active ingredient in turmeric. The problem with this approach is that they do not deliver the same amount of nutrition as consuming the food itself.

How to Take Turmeric For Best Absorption

The easiest way to take turmeric is through food. You should add some turmeric powder to your daily diet. The best time would be before breakfast since this is when our bodies absorb nutrients better.

You could also mix turmeric with hot drinks like tea or coffee. This helps to release the active component of turmeric faster. If you’re taking turmeric capsules, make sure to shake them well first so that the contents don’t settle at the bottom. Then drink right away!

Be sure to pair turmeric with black pepper to enhance absorption. Black pepper contains piperine, an alkaloid compound that increases nutrient uptake from other spices.

If you want to get the most out of turmeric, try eating it raw. Raw turmeric has higher levels of antioxidant activity than cooked turmeric. However, if you prefer to cook with turmeric, we suggest steaming it instead of boiling it. Boiling destroys much of the healthful properties of turmeric. Steaming preserves the integrity of the plant cell walls, allowing turmeric to retain its powerful medicinal qualities.

Is turmeric safe to take daily?

Carrying on our previous point, many people eat foods cooked with turmeric every day. This natural way of consuming turmeric is safe for most people But if you have certain medical conditions such as liver disease, gallbladder problems, kidney stones, ulcers, bleeding disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, pregnancy, breastfeeding, children under 12 months old, elderly adults, or anyone who takes prescription medications, then consult your doctor before starting a new dietary regimen.

However, there are some conditions when turmeric can lead to side effects. These include:

• People who suffer from depression may experience increased anxiety after consuming turmeric. It’s important to note that turmeric does not cause depression but works alongside antidepressants to improve mood.

• Some individuals may develop diarrhea due to excessive consumption of turmeric. One study showed that about 1% of patients experienced mild gastrointestinal symptoms following ingestion of turmeric.

• Those suffering from peptic ulcer disease should avoid consuming large amounts of turmeric. PUD occurs when stomach acid damages the lining of the digestive tract. Consuming too much turmeric might irritate the damaged area, further causing pain and discomfort.

• Kidney stones: According to research published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, turmeric supplements do not prevent calcium oxalates from forming. Therefore, those who already have kidney stones shouldn’t consume more than 2 grams per day.

• Diabetes: The same Journal reported that turmeric doesn’t lower glucose levels in people with diabetes. So, while turmeric isn’t harmful to diabetic patients, they still need to be careful regarding their intake.

• an iron deficiency: Iron plays a vital role in maintaining healthy red blood cells. If someone suffers from low iron stores, taking turmeric could worsen this condition.

Turmeric Brain Benefits: Q & A

What’s the best time to drink turmeric tea?

You can make turmeric tea any time of the day. Drinking turmeric tea before bedtime helps promote sleep quality. Turmeric also promotes relaxation, so drinking it at night will help you unwind and fall asleep faster. However, if you’re feeling stressed out during the day, try having a cup of warm turmeric tea first thing in the morning. You’ll feel calmer and ready to face whatever challenges come your way throughout the day.

How long does turmeric stay in my body?

The half life of curcumin varies depending on how much you ingest. For example, if you drink 3 cups of hot water containing 100 mg of curcumin, the average half life would be around 5 hours. On the other hand, if you drank 4 cups of cold water containing 200 mg of curcumin, the half life would increase up to 8 hours.

Can I take turmeric capsules instead of eating fresh turmeric root?

If you want to get all the health benefits of turmeric without cooking it yourself, consider buying turmeric capsules online. They contain high concentrations of active ingredients, which means you don’t have to worry about getting enough nutrients. Plus, these pills won’t spoil as fresh roots do.

Are turmeric tablets better than powder form?

Powdered turmeric contains less bioactive compounds compared to tablet forms. It may even cause gastrointestinal problems because its particles are smaller than what our bodies expect. In addition, powdered turmeric requires additional processing steps such as grinding or sifting. These processes reduce the amount of beneficial components found in turmeric.

Bottom Line

As mentioned earlier, turmeric isn’t an instant fix for everything. But when combined with a healthy lifestyle, it can make a big difference. The benefits of turmeric go beyond mental wellness alone. There are also physical ones like reducing cholesterol and improving heart function.

The bottom line is that turmeric is one of those spices everyone needs to try at least once. You might find yourself enjoying it more than you thought possible!

What about you? Have you tried turmeric yet?

Do you know of any other turmeric brain benefits? Share them below!


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Mishra, Shrikant and K. Palanivelu. “The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview.” Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology 11 (2008): 13 – 19.

Sanmukhani J, Satodia V, Trivedi J, Patel T, Tiwari D, Panchal B, Goel A, Tripathi CB. Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):579-85. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.5025. Epub 2013 Jul 6. PMID: 23832433.

Bombi Lee, Hyejung Lee, “Systemic Administration of Curcumin Affect Anxiety-Related Behaviors in a Rat Model of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder via Activation of Serotonergic Systems,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2018, Article ID 9041309, 12 pages, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/9041309

Regan, T., Gill, A. C., Clohisey, S. M., Barnett, M. W., Pariante, C. M., Harrison, N. A., MRC Immunopsychiatry Consortium, et al. (2018). Effects of anti-inflammatory drugs on the expression of tryptophan-metabolism genes by human macrophages, Journal of leukocyte biology, 103 (4), 681-692. https://doi.org/10.1002/jlb.3a0617-261r