Turmeric is common spice that is derived from a plant by the same name in many part of India, South Asia, and Central America. It is the primary ingredient in curry and has long been used a spice and coloring in cooking. Turmeric has been used for ages to treat different ailments resulting from inflammation. Related closely to ginger, turmeric has long been used to treat respiratory problems, pain, and fatigue. A lot of research, including studies done on humans, has been done studying the benefits of turmeric. Preliminary studies have shown that is can help in relieving osteoarthritis pain, alleviating skin irritation, and possibly improving cardiovascular health. Below are some of the evidence based benefits that adding turmeric into your supplement stash could provide!
INFLAMMATION: While short term inflammation is an important function of our immune system, long term inflammation can lead to many chronic conditions. Heart disease, cancer, metabolic disorders, and Alzheimer’s dementia are all believed to be a result in part due to a low level of chronic inflammation in the body. Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric that has very strong anti-inflammatory properties; studies have even found that curcumin can alleviate osteoarthritic knee pain just as well as ibuprofen!
ANTIOXIDANT: Curcumin is also a potent anti-oxidant that can play a big role in neutralizing the free radicals that cause oxidative damage to our cells. Not only does it provide defense against free radicals on it’s own, but curcumin also stimulates our bodies to make more of their own anti-oxidants.
BRAIN FUNCTION: If you need a brain boost, turmeric can help! The curcumin found in turmeric is known to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth hormone that helps our brain form new neuron connections. Low levels of BDNF have been associated with depression and Alzheimer’s dementia. Curcumin is being studied for it’s potential effects on reversing diseases of the brain.
HEART HEALTH: In one study of patient’s undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass surgery, two groups were given either a placebo or Turmeric for a few days prior to and after their surgery… the group that took Turmeric had a 65% lower risk of having a heart attach in the hospital compared with the placebo group. Curcumin has been shown to have a positive effect on the endothelium (or lining) of our blood vessels, which helps regulate blood pressure and our bodies ability to clot our blood. Some studies have even found that Curcumin works as well at improving our blood vessels endothelium as exercise or cholesterol medications!
GLOWING SKIN: Turmeric also has a positive effect on your skin and can help with healing acne scars, correcting oily skin, reverse sun damage, and prevent wrinkles and signs of aging. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of Curcumin are the reason behind all of these benefits for your skin. Try a turmeric face mask by mixing a small amount of greek yogurt, honey, and turmeric together then applying to your face for 10-15 minutes before washing off with warm water – just be careful of how much turmeric you use since it can leave a yellow staining on skin!
There are many ways you can add turmeric into your supplement routine – buy it raw or in powder form to spice up your dinner this week or add into your breakfast smoothie, or keep it simple and pick it up in capsule form at the store! What’s my favorite turmeric recipe? Golden milk! I love to steam 1 cup almond milk, then add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, vanilla, honey, and cinnamon to taste. It is ready in minutes, is delicious, and is full of health benefits!
Disclaimer: Common side effects of turmeric are upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness. In very high doses, there have been rare instances of turmeric being associated with heart arrhythmias, so as always please always check with your primary care provider before starting any new supplements.
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