Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory herb that has been used to treat a variety of ailments for decades. This plant, a cousin to ginger, is native to Southeast Asia and is sometimes called “Indian Saffron” due to its gorgeous golden color. It also yields the yellow pigment with curry powder.
If you’ve even clicked around the internet’s wellness corner, you’ve probably found articles about turmeric and its amazing nature, but you know how to fit it into your daily life? Not always pretty obvious.
The active compound of Turmeric, curcumin, has been extensively studied for its potential for disease-fighting and health benefits to prevention. While many of these studies focus on very concentrated curcumin supplement preparations, whether it is in the form of powder, tablet, or extract intended for therapeutic dosing, eating turmeric as part of your daily diet may be the best way to enjoy those benefits. Read on to find out how to use turmeric to improve your health and well-being.
1. It is a powerful anti-inflammation weapon.
Inflammation is a root cause of many disorders of health, such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and cancer. Plus, it has also been shown that inflammation plays a role in cognitive deterioration. Turmeric inhibits pro-inflammatory gene production, blocking the pathway to the inflammatory response. The effect of the potent anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric offers a protective advantage.
Use the turmeric in a go-to salad dressing to make it easy to the add-in. I love whisking white miso paste, tahini, apple cider vinegar, and turmeric together — just delicious and strong (or check out the full turmeric dressing recipe for salad).
2. It’s kicking free radical butt.
Turmeric has been shown to increase the capacity of antioxidants and help combat free-radical damages. This is especially good for the immune system, the role of the brain, and what is behind those claims to be anti-cancer.
Amplifying the body’s own antioxidant ability has also been seen, improving the defense mechanism. The antioxidant properties of Turmeric also benefit our appearance by protecting the skin against free-radical damage, such as pollutants to the environment. Add a teaspoon for an antioxidant boost to your favorite green juice, or smoothie.
3. This helps in strengthening the immune system.
The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties of curcumin make it a powerhouse that promotes safety. While curcumin is not absorbed so well into the bloodstream, eating it with black pepper increases absorption, thanks to a substance called piperine in the pepper. A cold-fighting tea with ginger and black pepper was one of my favorite ancient ayurvedic remedies I learned at the clinic. Attach one turmeric teaspoon to 12 ounces of water, and bring to a boil. Take the water off the heat and apply 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger and black pepper to each. You could also use coconut milk instead of water to make this into golden milk too. Since curcumin is fat-soluble, eating it with a food or beverage that contains fat can help you absorb it more effectively.
Related Reading: 9 Foods That Can Boost Your Immune System
4. It relieves pain in the joint.
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory benefits can help ease pain in the joints. Studies have indeed shown promising results in the ability of turmeric and curcumin to manage arthritis-related pain and inflammation. Athletes trying to soothe soreness may also find it helpful.
I prescribe an anti-inflammatory smoothie filled with calming superfoods to my clients dealing with aches and pains. Another powerful food that is rich in antioxidants and turmeric is frozen wild blueberries, roasted or steamed beets. Add your favourite plant protein, if you want to make it a meal.
5. It can aid in the treatment of and cancer prevention.
Turmeric and curcumin were extensively studied for their role in cancer treatment and cancer cell prevention, with many promising findings in animal and human studies. Turmeric is a natural pairing for a plant-based dish that fights cancer. Mix the olive oil with the turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, cumin, and black pepper and mix with chickpeas. Roast until crispy (approx. 20 minutes) at 350 ° F and enjoy over a salad or veggie-rich soup.
6. It guards your heart.
Curcumin and turmeric have been shown in numerous ways to protect your heart, such as improving endothelial function and reducing inflammation and free-radical damage. Capture the benefits deliciously by cooking turmeric in a fiber-rich whole-grain dish such as brown rice, quinoa, or barley.
7. Helps heal your intestines.
Although turmeric is often associated with spicy foods such as curry, it has in fact been used to treat inflammatory bowel conditions such as colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Try it out using organic chicken bone broth as the basis in a gut-soothing soup. Turmeric also happens to be a low-FODMAP food, so if you’re on a diet to avoid FODMAPs it’s safe to use. It pairs well with pureed kabocha or pumpkin, which is low-FODMAP as well.
8. It boosts the mood.
The impact of curcumin on BDNF has also been shown to have potential use in treating depression by reversing the detrimental changes in the brain that occur in depression. This is also being investigated for its ability to improve mood-regulating neurotransmitter levels such as serotonin and dopamine.
Since tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, it can also help to maintain a good mood by having enough of the amino acid. Although mostly found in animal protein, oats are a great source of plant-based products. Tasty oatmeal, anybody? Add an egg to stay power, add veggies to extra nutrients, and have a meal.
9. It could stave off neurodegenerative illnesses.
Because curcumin crosses the blood-brain barrier, research has suggested that the brain could also benefit from its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant benefits and stave off conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Use turmeric for fish in an all-purpose spice blend or toss with olive oil and toast up with walnuts, another food shown to protect the function of the brain as we age.
10. It improves cognitive function over the long-term.
Curcumin has been studied for its potential to boost brain health by increasing and supporting healthy levels of a hormone called the neurotrophic brain-derived factor (BDNF), which plays a key role in long-term cognitive function. Turmeric goes well with eggs, a special kind of brain food. Shake some into a veggie or scrambled omelet.
What amount of turmeric will I eat?
When you don’t want to add the golden spice into your meals, there are also available turmeric supplements, which contain turmeric extract. Turmeric powder is usually about 3 percent curcumin, and extracts are around 95 percent curcumin. While most clinical research studies look at turmeric extracts, it has been associated with health benefits to consume 1⁄2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon or about 2,5 to 5 grams of turmeric powder with food per day. But even smaller quantities (we ‘re talking about 500 to 2,000 milligrams or about 15 to 60 mg of curcumin) may be of some use as well.
Also Read: Top 10 Health Benefits of Fenugreek (Methi)