You’ve heard it’s good for you – and it tastes flippin’ insane in bobotie – but get this: studies now show that curcumin, an extract of the spice turmeric, may help counter major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety.
We got the low-down from nutritional expert Vanessa Ascencao…
What’s the turmeric depression connection?
“Depression is treatable with various modalities, including lifestyle interventions and a host of natural support such as curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, renowned for its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties – which may support healthy mood and help counter depression,” says Ascencao.
“Research shows that curcumin may be a powerful weapon to help counter depression and anxiety and that it may have long-term effects on cognitive function by protecting against brain inflammation.”
According to Ascencao, turmeric has been used for centuries as an Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine treatment.
“Turmeric root is often ground into a powder and consumed as a spice,” she says.
“Recently, curcumin has been shown to be a powerful antidepressant and used to protect the brain.
"Generally, curcumin works by counteracting the harmful chronic inflammation promoted by many aspects of modern life.”
Studies have confirmed the positive effects of BCM-95, a curcumin formulation, in treating MDD and have found that curcumin’s effectiveness is similar to that of a standard anti-depressant medication, without the side effects and with added health benefits, adds Ascencao.
It’s never a bad idea to sprinkle your food with this miracle spice. You can also chat to your doc about food supplements, which are available – but note that studies are ongoing, so don’t go ditching your prescribed meds if you do suffer from anxiety or depression.
This article was originally published on Women's Health South Africa.
WATCH: 7 ways to use turmeric