Historically, spices are treasured for the unique flavors they bring to food and for their healing properties. Most spices provide some health benefits. However, one spice that shines for its medicinal benefits is turmeric.
Turmeric offers a wide range of benefits, and it’s a brilliant anti-inflammatory agent. It is added to many cosmetic products, recipes, and some people like to use it to heal their wounds, reduce pain/inflammation or even treat cancer.
Turmeric is available in several forms, and we’ll tell you how to get the best of it.
The essence of turmeric
Curcumin is one of the most powerful compounds in turmeric, but it isn’t the only goodness this spice contains. It’s also found in ginger and other healthy plants.
Turmeric offers numerous health benefits, and we give you some of them:
- Anti-inflammatory effect
- Anticancer power
- Allergy treatment
- Relieves arthritis pain
- Treats depression
- Controls diabetes
- Reduces the risk of heart attacks
Turmeric and inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s response to an ailment. It’s often severe and stubborn. There are two types of inflammation – acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation occurs after injuries, and it can escalate instantly. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is persistent and can bug you for months and years.
Since chronic inflammation is long-term, certain medical conditions can start to develop such as cancer, asthma, arthritis, obesity, heart disease and much more.
Usually, chronic inflammation occurs due to an underlying problem, such as an unhealthy lifestyle, and according to experts, chronic conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease have a strong link with chronic inflammation, which promotes the production of free radicals
Turmeric root and supplements
The main difference between whole turmeric and supplements is that curcumin is in a much higher, concentrated form in supplements. For example, you can get about 500mg of curcumin in a supplement form (ie. capsule), but 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder will give you only about 15mg.
Some people do not like the bitter taste of turmeric and may not want to add it to their daily meal, so instead, they take daily supplements as a replacement. These supplements include some of the essential oils found in whole turmerics, but it mainly includes the curcumin compound. In order for the supplements to provide therapeutic benefits, it must contain at least 95% standardized curcumin.
Curcumin is the most important compound found in turmeric. Its therapeutic effects for health conditions are much better served using supplements because they are more potent than whole turmeric. Regular use of turmeric is good for preventative and overall health.
According to the University of Maryland’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide, here are suggested turmeric dosages for adults:
- Cut root: 1.5 to 3 grams per day
- Dried, powdered root: 1 to 3 grams per day
- Fluid extract (1:1): 30-90 drops per day
- Tincture (1:2): 15-30 drops, 4 times per day
- Their recommended curcumin dosage for a standardized powder supplement is 400 to 600 mg, 3 times per day.
- Look for products standardized for 95% curcuminoids that also contain piperine or black pepper extract.
Enhancing turmeric naturally
Unfortunately, turmeric’s main active ingredient curcumin is not very well absorbed. Unless the right steps are taken, it largely passes through the intestines unutilized.
Simply, you can mix it with black pepper, in order to stimulate its absorption. Namely, piperine, which is an ingredient in black pepper, increases its absorption by 2,000%.
Since curcumin is fat soluble, its bioavailability is enhanced when turmeric is cooked in oil. Again, tradition has this covered. Indian cuisine liberally uses peanut, sesame and coconut oil, and butter-derived ghee.
This tea is a wonderful way to incorporate this amazing spice into your regular diet. A rather interesting fact is that while boiling it in water for around 10 minutes, the curcumin’s solubility is increased up to 12 times.
In order to prepare this tea, you need to put 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a cup of water and simmer for 10 minutes. Then, strain and pour it into a cup. Its taste is a bit strange, as it is extremely bitter and medicinal tasting. For better taste, you can add some honey or stevia.
Turmeric supplement side effects
- Pregnancy (supplements increase the risk of miscarriage)
- Conceiving issues
- Gallstones/Gallbladder disease
- Upcoming surgery (don’t take turmeric if your surgery is in two weeks)
- Aspirin and other medication that prevents clotting (turmeric increases bleeding and bruising)
- Stomach problems (turmeric causes irritation, nausea, diarrhea)
- Diabetes medication (turmeric triggers hypoglycemia)
- Anemia/Iron deficiency