Turmeric is having a major moment. Thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, the golden yellow powder—which has been used in Ayurvedic treatments for centuries—has entered the mainstream. Here are five reasons why you should stock up on the spice.
1. It’ll Give Your Skin A Glow
Turmeric helps regulates the immune system and reduces skin inflammation, says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. “The skin is our biggest organ,” says Levin. “It’s our barrier to the outside world, and a lot of skin conditions we see are issues due to our immune systems. Most recently, studies have shown that when [turmeric] is added to moisturizer, it reduces fine lines and wrinkles,” says Levin. Score. Turmeric also contains a mineral called manganese, which supports collagen production. Stir up a honey turmeric face mask, and slather on the all-natural goo for a luminous complexion.
2. It’s A Natural Detox
Flush the toxins away with a hot mug of tumeric tea. “It’s known as a blood purifier—it removes toxins from the blood and aids our liver and kidneys,” says Susan Tucker, founder of Green Beat Life, a holistic nutrition counseling practice. In fact, for a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers in South Korea gave turmeric supplements to people with elevated liver enzymes. At the end of the 12-week trial, those levels were significantly reduced.
3. It Combats Colds
Curcumin (a substance found in turmeric) is a strong antioxidant, and this helps fight free radical formation. Free radicals basically destroy healthy cells in the body, making you more prone to disease. So the next time you feel a cold creeping up, mix up black pepper, cardamom, vanilla, and duh, turmeric—with warm milk.
4. It Aids Weight Loss
The spice improves insulin resistance and increases metabolism, says Caroline Apovian, M.D., professor of medicine and pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. (A study published in the the Journal of Nutrition found that mice that were fed a high-fat diet along with curcumin supplements for 12 weeks didn’t gain as much weight as the group that was fed only fatty foods.)
5. It Boosts Brain Health
A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that curcumin’s ability to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow improves brain function.