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One Major Side Effect of Eating Turmeric, Says Science

Drink golden milk and boost this part of your body.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

The turmeric latte, also known as golden milk, has been on trend for the past couple of years for its health benefits. Not only can the beverage help to reduce inflammation in the body, but it may also help to improve brain function and delay the onset of cognitive impairment. 

Turmeric is an integral spice in Ayurvedic medicine, a healing system that originated in India more than 3,000 years ago that's touted for its ability to promote good health by creating a balance of body, mind, and spirit. There is one component in turmeric that drives its anti-inflammatory powers. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now).

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric that enables the spice to have anti-inflammatory effects on your body. This ingredient is also believed to play a key role in promoting good brain health and perhaps even helping to delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. In fact, a 2018 study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition concluded that "supplementing the diet with curcumin, an anti-inflammatory polyphenolic compound from the curry spice turmeric, is a potential approach to prevent accelerated cognitive decline by counteracting chronic inflammatory processes."

Another thought is that curcumin can boost levels of a type of growth hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Interestingly, several brain disorders ranging from depression and Alzheimer's disease have been linked to low levels of BDNF. It's important to understand that BDNF increases the growth of new neurons, which is believed to be critical for fending off cognitive decline.

Researchers, in part, hypothesize that curcumin may be effective at delaying or even reversing forms of mild cognitive impairment in humans. A 2012 study on rats revealed that prolonged curcumin consumption demonstrated cognition- and neurogenesis-enhancing potential.

In short, it may be a good idea to add some turmeric into your diet. There's just one thing to remember. Whether you season your veggies with it or mix it into oat milk for a savory beverage, make sure you consume some black pepper as that will help the body better absorb curcumin.

For more, be sure to check out This Diet May Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer's, New Study Says.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of <Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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