11 Benefits of Urucum - For what it serves and properties
Urucum can be found mainly in South America, the Caribbean and other areas where the climate is tropical or subtropical.
We know the annatto thanks to the Indians, who used their seed to paint the body with red paint. The herb is also widely used in lipsticks, and because of this, it is also known as a lipstick tree. In addition, annatto is also used in cosmetic industries and serves as a natural food dye. However, its benefits go a long way, even on account of its numerous beneficial properties for health.
Some of the benefits of annatto that most attract attention include its ability to promote good digestion, strengthen bones, reduce fevers, help in curing some diseases, help in eye health, eliminate headaches, reduce nausea, among others.
What is it for and what are its properties?
The herb has been used for thousands of years to heal and prevent serious diseases and even those with less health risks. Because of this, annatto is considered by many the herb of the future.
The most commonly used part of annatto comes from its seeds. Many do not know, but surely have eaten or eat urucum often, as it is widely used as a natural food dye; This includes cheeses, butters, margarines, cakes, biscuits, snacks, cereals, among others.
Its leaves have numerous medicinal properties, mainly for the cure of diseases.
The color of the annatto is due to the high bixin index. Bixinas are rich in carotenoids that are also found in carrots. Urucum has between 70% and 80% bixin in its composition. An interesting curiosity is that the brighter the mixture, the more it contains bixin.
Benefits of urucum for health
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One of the most powerful benefits of annatto from its high carotenoid content is the ability to protect the eyes against UV rays. In addition, it works as an antioxidant for the eye system, preventing cataracts and slowing macular degeneration, keeping vision strong for years and helping to prevent more serious eye diseases.
- Against Aging
The carotenoids present in annatto are also great antioxidants. Other organic compounds like tocotrienois also have the antioxidant function and they work in other parts of the body; Because of this, annatto is widely used for the treatment of skin.
Antioxidants prevent the signs of aging by fighting off the free radicals that destroy cells. In addition, it also protects the health in general.
Some studies also show that people who eat carotenoids from natural foods like annatto suffer less chronic illness and live longer than those who do not consume it.
A good tip for anyone looking for an antiaging solution would be the annatto paste which is made from seeds and can be applied to reduce signs of wrinkles, blemishes and other imperfections of the skin.
Another carotenoid found in urucum seed is norbixin, which is also an antioxidant. In research already conducted, norbixin has been found to play an antimutagenic role in healthy cells exposed to cancer cells and free radicals. With this, the prevention of several types of cancers may be one of the benefits of urucum for health.
- Strong bones
Urucum has the power to keep bones strong due to the significant amount of calcium. Therefore, it becomes important for anyone who wants to supplement the amount of recommended daily calcium. It is worth remembering that osteoporosis can affect anyone, making the mineral crucial in the diet.
- Prevents birth defects
The high amount of folic acid is responsible for several health benefits of urucum, among them the prevention of neural tube defects in newborns.
Because of this, pregnant women should increase their intake of folic acid to help prevent this condition.
- Healing effect
In cases of burns, sores or skin irritation, urucum seed paste can be applied to accelerate healing and reduce the appearance of the scar.
Urucum leaves have anti-inflammatory properties. One tip is to make a mixture of urucum and alcohol leaves and apply on burns, cuts, and skin wounds.
It can also be used to help cure vaginal infections.
- Lower risk of heart attack
The leaves can bring a number of benefits of urucum to health. They are one of the richest sources in tocotrienois, which limit the liver's ability to produce LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, the kind that can clog arteries and cause heart attacks.
- Better digestion
Due to the high fiber content in the seed and its leaves, there are excellent benefits of annatto for digestion, promoting a better absorption of nutrients in the body. Fiber also helps lower cholesterol and control diabetes, which can also help balance insulin and blood glucose levels.
- Help in weight loss
Because it has diuretic substances, urucum can be considered a good helper in weight loss.
Another factor that contributes to weight loss is the fact that it balances the insulin in the blood, and consequently lowers blood glucose, thus reducing body fat.
- Relief of pains in the stomach
Urucum is often used for the treatment of heartburn and other discomforts caused by viral infections or only caused by spicy foods.
Using the Right Measure
Many studies are still done with the herb. With each passing day, more benefits of annatto are discovered for the human being.
As we saw earlier, it is not only the seed that offers the benefits of annatto, its leaves as well. When boiled with water can be a great anti-inflammatory, treat wounds, infections, reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and other problems. The best tip would be to make a tea with 8 to 12 leaves of urucum in one liter of water for 12 minutes; then let cool and drink 3 glasses once a day.
Another way to ingest urucum would be in capsules or whole seeds that you can find at local fairs, natural food stores or general spice shops.
Even with several benefits, there are some cases of people reporting allergic reactions to annatto. It is worth remembering that if you go undergoing surgery in the future, avoid urucum as it can affect blood sugar levels. Likewise, even with benefits for pregnant women, medical supervision is required to prescribe the exact amount for each case.