Turmeric - The Anti-Inflammatory Superfood
I was introduced to turmeric about 12 years ago when I started juicing with the Jack LaLanne juicer my mom bought for me on QVC. I had read a story about how fantastic this root from the ginger family was for arthritis pain so I figured I had to give it a shot.
It was unquestionably the worst tasting root I’ve ever had the displeasure of choking down. The taste is hard to describe. Turmeric may be from the ginger family but it doesn’t taste a bit like ginger. I’ve never quite understood why juice bars serve it up in a shot glass rather than insisting it’s mixed with tea or a fruit juice to mask the taste. Maybe it’s the “no pain, no gain” mantra?
Twelve years later I’ve acquired a bit of a tolerance for its horrendous taste but I still have to plug my nose and drink a chaser to get it down without gagging. Oh, the price we’ll pay for health!
So enough bashing of our Super-food du jour. Now I’ll get to the history and health benefits of this remarkable root.
“The use of turmeric dates back nearly 4000 years to the Vedic culture in India, where it was used as a culinary spice and had some religious significance. It probably reached China by 700 ad, East Africa by 800 ad, West Africa by 1200 ad, and Jamaica in the eighteenth century. In 1280, Marco Polo described this spice, marveling at a vegetable that exhibited qualities so similar to that of saffron. According to Sanskrit medical treatises and Ayurvedic and Unani systems, turmeric has a long history of medicinal use in South Asia. Susruta’s Ayurvedic Compendium, dating back to 250 bc, recommends an ointment containing turmeric to relieve the effects of poisoned food”(1)
𝗠𝗢𝗗𝗘𝗥𝗡 𝗗𝗔𝗬 𝗛𝗘𝗔𝗟𝗧𝗛 𝗕𝗘𝗡𝗘𝗙𝗜𝗧𝗦-
Turmeric contains many plant substances, but one group, curcuminoids, has the greatest health-promoting effects. Three notable curcuminoids are curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Of these, curcumin is the most active and most beneficial to health.
Turmeric and curcumin have medicinal properties that provide many health benefits.
• 𝗢𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗼𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘀: Plant compounds in turmeric that include curcumin can reduce markers of inflammation and thus relieve osteoarthritis symptoms
• 𝗢𝗯𝗲𝘀𝗶𝘁𝘆: Turmeric and curcumin may inhibit the inflammatory pathway involved in obesity and may help regulate body fat
• 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲: Turmeric and curcumin can reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce the risk of heart disease as a result
• 𝗗𝗶𝗮𝗯𝗲𝘁𝗲𝘀: Turmeric and curcumin can improve blood sugar metabolism and potentially reduce the effects of diabetes on your body
• 𝗟𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿: A rat study found that turmeric extract and curcumin were protective against chronic liver damage by helping reduce harmful oxidative stress
• 𝗖𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗿: Though research is still in its early stages, turmeric and curcumin may reduce the activity of colon and other cancer cells
• 𝗔𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗯𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗮𝗹: Turmeric and curcumin have strong antibacterial effects. They can reduce the growth of many disease-causing bacteria
Turmeric contains more than 300 naturally occurring components including beta-carotene, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium, flavonoids, fiber, iron, niacin, potassium, zinc and other nutrients. But the chemical in turmeric linked to its most highly touted health effects is curcumin.
It's a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.
I can personally attest to turmeric’s arthritic pain fighting properties as I’ve been taking it in both raw root form and supplements off and on for the past 12 years and regularly for the past five.
I’ve found this bright yellow, miserable tasting root to be nothing short of a miracle in that it’s allowed me to get back to running on a regular basis, something I never thought I’d be able to do a decade ago. It’s anti-inflammatory effects have eliminated 80-90% of my arthritic knee pain. Of course, individual results will vary.
𝗧𝘂𝗿𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗰 𝗖𝘂𝗿𝗰𝘂𝗺𝗶𝗻 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗹𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀-
For osteoarthritis, most research indicates 500mg taken 2x daily to maximize benefits.
The best part of turmeric supplements is that you won’t taste it😉
𝗪𝗵𝗼 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗡𝗼𝘁 𝗧𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗜𝘁?
“Although turmeric is believed to be safe for most individuals, certain people may have to avoid it.
These conditions warrant extreme caution:
Pregnancy and breastfeeding: There is not enough research to determine if turmeric supplements are safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Gallbladder disease: Turmeric may cause the gallbladder to contract, worsening symptoms.
Kidney stones: It’s high in oxalate, which can bind with calcium and cause kidney stones formation.
Bleeding disorders: It may slow the ability of your blood to clot, which can worsen bleeding problems.
Diabetes: It may cause blood sugar levels to drop too low.
Iron-deficiency: It may interfere with iron absorption.
In addition, turmeric supplements can interact with certain medications such as blood thinners and diabetes medications.
However, turmeric seems to be safe under these circumstances in the amounts typically eaten in food.”(2)
(1) Sahdeo Prasad and Bharat B. Aggarwal. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 13.
(2) Healthline. Makayla Meixner on June 11, 2018. Turmeric Dosage: How Much Should You Take Per Day?
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