Curry powder is a popular spice mix that has a number of valuable health benefits, including the prevention of cancer, protection against heart diseases, and reduction in Alzheimer’s symptoms and pain and inflammation. It also improves the bone health, boosts immunity, and increases the liver’s ability to remove toxins from the body.
Curry powder is made up of numerous ingredients, and depending on the region of the world, they can change slightly, altering the specific health benefits that may be derived from the powder. The most common and advantageous ingredients of curry powder are turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, sweet basil, and red pepper. Some other ingredients that are occasionally added, depending on the specific recipe, are fennel seeds, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, or mustard seeds, all of which have individual health benefits. Here, we focus on the benefits of the most traditional form of curry powder.
Curry powder is native to South Asian cuisines and was popularized in the 19th and 20th century in other parts of the world due to its mass exportation as a condiment after it was discovered by colonial visitors. In the mid-20th century, Indian cuisine became more globally popular, so curry, and subsequently curry powder, became widely available.
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Health Benefits of Curry Powder
Health benefits of curry powder include:
Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease
Turmeric is probably the most valuable spice component of curry powder, and one of the organic components of turmeric is called curcumin. Researchers have connected curcumin to a reduction in plaque that free radicals deposit in the neural pathways of the brain. It stimulates the immune system to eliminate the amino acids that make up this plaque, thereby reducing cognitive decline and the chances of Alzheimer’s disease. Ongoing studies are trying to firmly connect curry powder consumption with rates of Alzheimer’s in India, which is significantly lower than many other countries.
Recent research has suggested that increasing the amount of turmeric (and more importantly, its component of curcumin) can stimulate anti-cancer activity in human saliva! For this to be seen on a measurable scale, curcumin should be taken in supplement form, which is a much higher concentration than what is found in curry powder. Studies are ongoing to connect consumption of curry powder to a reduction in various cancerous growths and activities in the human body. Curry powder containing turmeric has had the most promising signs of decreasing colon cancer, among all cancers.
Relieves Pain & Inflammation
Once again, turmeric is an agent of positive health in terms of inflammation, pain, and rheumatoid arthritis! The anti-inflammatory qualities of turmeric actively decrease joint inflammation and deterioration, as well as the associated pain of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. The effects of turmeric have been shown to be comparable to ibuprofen, but organic solutions are always better than artificial pharmaceutical ones!
Protects Heart Health
Heart disease is one of the most dangerous and common diseases that affect human beings, so anything that can help prevent it is a bonus! Two of the ingredients commonly found in curry powder are cardamom and sweet basil, both of which are vasodilators. They affect the proteins that reduce the tension in the blood vessels. This leads to a reduction in blood pressure, which reduces the chances of many cardiovascular conditions, including atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
Improves Bone Health
Curry powder and its turmeric content are also being studied in terms of osteoporosis and bone health. Although human testing is still in its early stages, significant amounts of animal testing have shown turmeric to greatly increase the speed of bone regrowth, connectivity, and repair, while reducing signs of bone loss by up to 50%. This could mean a very powerful boost to your bones, particularly as you age, in addition to a dietary regimen packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
A final beneficial element found in the majority of curry powder throughout the world is coriander, which has a well-researched penchant for fighting off bacterial infections, particularly E. coli, and other severely damaging intestinal infections. Therefore, eating a healthy amount of curry powder can increase the health of your digestive system, and keep your immune system strong in its defense against bacterial agents.
Curcumin, that all-important component of turmeric, has also been connected to the health of the liver. It inhibits the expression of certain genes that lead to inflammation, cancer, and tumor growth in the liver. Although human testing is still in its nascent stages, animal testing has shown a healthy amount of curry powder and curcumin to be a major boost against liver diseases and excess liver toxicity.
Word of Caution: Curry Powder is a delicious and nutritious aspect of a person’s diet, but it also poses a few potential side effects. Curry powder is a well-known anti-coagulant, so if you already take blood thinners, you should consult your doctor to eliminate any dangers of excessive bleeding. Also, research has shown curry powder to be an irritant to the gallbladder or to people with preexisting gallbladder conditions. It stimulates gallbladder contractions, which are good for people with healthy gallbladders but can be very painful for those with gallstones or obstructed bile ducts.
Other than these issues, put some spice in your life with curry powder and enjoy all the health benefits!