Turmeric is one of the healthiest spices in the world. It’s most active compound, curcumin, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and anticancer properties (1).
What Is Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease?
There are two types of fatty liver disease: alcoholic fatty liver and nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD).
The first is caused by the over consumption of alcohol, whereas the second is likely caused by the over consumption of refined carbohydrates. NAFLD is associated with metabolic syndrome and can be reversed by adopting a diet low in refined sugars and simple carbohydrates.
According to the Mayo Clinic, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when your liver has trouble breaking down fats, causing fat to build up in your liver tissue.
People who are overweight or obese or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides are at a higher risk of developing the disease. Rapid weight loss and poor eating habits also may lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. via LiverFoundation
Fat build-up in the liver can lead to scarring (cirrhosis) and may eventually lead to liver failure.
How Does Turmeric Help The Liver?
According to a study in the Archives of Animal Nutrition (3), turmeric can help cow livers.
Dairy cows live very stressful lives, suffering from inflammation which is likely the cause of fatty liver disease and ketosis prominent in livestock.
The researchers found that a major stress hormone in the liver was significantly reduced in the group of cows fed the polyphenol mixture consisting of green tea (95%) and curcuma extract (5%). This suggests that the mix may prevent fatty liver syndrome.
Considering that the induction of fatty liver works in the same way, could turmeric be helpful in fighting fatty liver in humans, too? It can’t be said for certain but this isn’t the first example of good news like this.
Another study, published in the Journal of Food Science (4), found that Tumeric can also lower cholesterol and blood fat levels: “The extract of Curcuma longa, better known as turmeric, was orally administered to experimental rats that were fed a high-cholesterol diet to investigate whether it could regulate plasma lipids [blood fats] and cholesterol levels and possibly improve hepatic [liver] conditions. With turmeric supplements, rats showed a significant decrease in total plasma cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [bad cholesterol] but an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [good cholesterol] when compared with rats that were fed a high-cholesterol diet alone.”
Researchers suggest that turmeric prevents hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol) and the formation of fatty liver by the modulation of expressions of enzymes that are important to cholesterol metabolism.
Finally, turmeric can reduce liver inflammation by interfering with pro-inflammatory and profibrotic cytokines (5). It can also protect the liver from free radical damage as well as alcohol- induced liver injury. It’s so powerful that it has even shown the capacity to reverse liver scarring.
There are many ways to enjoy turmeric, but one of the yummiest is this golden milk recipe.