Turmeric might be the most powerful nutritional supplement ever, with its incredible benefits for your body and brain. Thanks to its active compound – curcumin, it provides strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help prevent and relieve many conditions.
Besides improving your health in many ways and reducing your risk of many diseases, turmeric is also beneficial for your blood sugar.
Here are some of the major reasons why people with diabetes or prediabetes should add turmeric into their diet.
Curcumin helps reduce the production of glucose in the liver. This is even proved in human studies conducted on people with diabetes and prediabetes.
That’s why turmeric is regarded as one of the best natural antihyperglycemic agents you can find easily.
What’s more, the active compound of turmeric helps reduce glycosylated hemoglobin levels. This shows how good your diabetes control is, along with normalizing your blood glucose levels.
Turmeric’s active ingredient helps stimulate the body glucose uptake as well as the production of insulin by the beta cells located in the pancreas.
Moreover, it improves the function of the pancreatic cells and helps reduce insulin resistance. Since insulin resistance is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, turmeric can help lower the risk by enhancing the insulin sensitivity.
High glucose levels in the body mean higher uptake of glucose. This, in turn, can increase the reactive oxygen species, thus causing oxidative degradation of fats.
This can lead to inflammation, kidney and heart disease, stroke, and other vascular complications related to diabetes.
Luckily, curcumin contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other potent antioxidants which can fight free radicals and prevent damage.
Turmeric’s strong anti-inflammatory properties are extremely beneficial, especially for people with diabetes. Its active compound can enhance the function of the endocrine system, as well as protect against inflammation.
It can normalize the increased production of proinflammatory cytokines, which is common for the condition. Also, curcumin can decrease inflammatory signals which are overactive in people with diabetes, as well as enhance the action of their insulin response pathways.
This is important as people with diabetes often have disrupted insulin response pathways.
According to researchers, turmeric oil is an effective glucosidase inhibitor. In other words, it helps inhibit glucosidase and other enzymes, thus retarding the glucose absorption in the intestine.
As a result, the carbs you eat are absorbed slower than usual, thus reducing the blood glucose spike after meals (postprandial hyperglycemia).
One study showed that taking curcumin capsules for 9 months reduces the risk of prediabetes progressing into type 2 diabetes.
What’s more, the capsules have shown to improve the function of the pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin, without causing any significant side effect.
Furthermore, animal research shows that curcumin helps prevent the death of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as well as improve their function.
The research also shows that it can reduce insulin resistance and delay the development of type 2 diabetes in animals.
Another turmeric benefit is protecting the liver from damage and maintaining its optimal function. This is important for people with diabetes as the disease raises the odds for liver problems such as fatty liver disease.
One 8-week animal research shows that adding curcumin in the diet lowers the weight of the liver, as well as the excretion of urea, creatinine, albumin, and inorganic phosphorus. These changes indicate improvement in the liver function.
In those with diabetes, wounds heal slowly due to the prolonged inflammation in the system and the higher oxidative stress in the body.
However, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin can help accelerate the wound healing process, as well as reduce the swelling caused by inflammation. All you have to do is apply curcumin topically on the affected area.
People with diabetes usually have high cholesterol levels, hence the increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The condition known as diabetic dyslipidemia is characterized by low HDL cholesterol levels, and high LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
This condition increases the risk of coronary heart disease and premature atherosclerosis. But, curcumin can reduce the total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Consuming it for a longer period can reduce the hepatic cholesterol and plasma cholesterol levels, thus preventing or delaying the development of atherosclerosis.
Studies show that curcumin is as effective as the popular drug fluoxetine (Prozac) in the treatment of anxiety and depression. This is important as people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing depression than others.
There are many ways to include this healthy spice in your diet. Besides turmeric-based curries, you can also take it in the form of turmeric tea, golden milk, and fresh turmeric root juices and smoothies.
To make golden milk, you need to add a teaspoon of turmeric spice to your cup of warm milk. You can add it fresh to different smoothies and juices.
The dosage depends on the individual, so even though it’s recommended 500mg in the form of capsules, it’s best to consult a doctor.
Note- avoid it if you take blood-thinning medications. On the other hand, if you like to increase its absorption in the body, take it along with black pepper and healthy fats.