With its well-documented immunity benefits, nearly every wellness-preneur and fitness influencer worth his/her salt, is talking about turmeric, a beautiful yellow Asian root spice from the ginger family, with mildly new and perhaps relevant ways of having it-as a tea (remember Turmeric Latte?), as an ingredient in your face scrub, as an oil, as a morning drink or turmeric-infused milk to sleep better. As an ingredient to fight inflammation, or even to support mental health, or simply as a warm soothing drink to fight the brutal winter, turmeric is the superhero among herbs and that is largely due to the presence of this compound called curcumin.
But why should you take our word for it? Research is here to prove it.
According to a review by these American researchers, a lot of its benefits whether it is prevention against metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, indigestion, bloating, abdominal pain, liver disease, gall bladder issues, respiratory infections, heart diseases, fibromyalgia or high cholesterol and triglycerides, come from its anti-inflammatory property and antioxidant-rich status.*
Meant for healthy people too
But here is the even better news. Even in people who have no diagnosed health condition, some doses of turmeric can have immense physical benefits. For people who are physically active, turmeric offers relief from muscle soreness or inflammation caused by activity.
Turmeric is loaded in Curcumin
Turmeric draws all its curative and anti-inflammatory powers from this incredible compound called Curcumin. Though curcumin can be found in other members of the ginger family too, turmeric has most of it which is about 2-5%.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory claims-well founded?
Let us explain this best with the help of a recent study that was conducted on patients with osteoarthritis, one of the most common and painful forms of arthritis. This is a degenerative joint disorder that can at best be managed. Modern science is yet to find a complete cure for it. Though this new study has given more hope. In this study, 139 people with at least mildly severe to very severe symptoms of knee osteoarthritis in need of treatment, were given either 50 mg of popular painkiller diclofenac or 500 mg of curcumin tabs for a month. After 2 and 4 weeks respectively, patients taking curcumin showed similar progress in pain reduction as those receiving diclofenac. But importantly after a week only, patients taking curcumin, experienced fewer episodes of flatulence in comparison to diclofenac patients. Those taking curcumin also showed improvements in weight loss and reduction in ulcers at the end of the month. What works with curcumin is that it is a bioactive substance and it reduces inflammation from the molecular level.
Turmeric fights oxidative stress
Yet another celebrated benefit of turmeric is its rich antioxidant status that helps reduce oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is when the rogue free radicals
Scientific studies suggest that in the long term, oxidative stress can contribute to diseases such as cancers, diabetes, or heart diseases. But what is oxidative stress and how does turmeric help?
Oxidative stress is when there is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals, which are reactive oxygen molecules with unpaired neutrons, released by the body as part of cellular metabolic processes. The production of excess free radicals may be due to several reasons including poor diet, lifestyle, exposure to pollutants and toxic chemicals, among others.
What antioxidants do is donate electrons to these unpaired oxygen molecules to neutralize them and protect the body from oxidative damage. When the body does not produce sufficient antioxidants, you do well by consuming it externally by having an antioxidant-rich diet and including turmeric in your daily intake.
Turmeric: It’s promise with cancer
While it is still too early to run screaming, curcumin is said to help chemotherapy and curcumin may work against specific types of cancers including lung, colon, breast, or prostate cancers. Initial clinical trials on human beings have shown it has potential in lowering protein levels, that reduce prostate cancer risks.
And here is what should help you break a sigh of relief. Most studies have declared turmeric absolutely safe for cooking and it has no side effects really when consumed in the right quantities.
Why you need to take natural turmeric supplements
While Indian cuisine is generously doused with turmeric powder as a flavoring agent, here in the West we do not consume sufficient amounts of turmeric to get the entire range of benefits it has to offer. Even if we were to take it as a spice in the food, taking it in the form of supplements means that the curcumin concentration is likely to be higher than available otherwise. For example, as part of your diet, 2000-2500 mg turmeric may fetch you about only 60-100mg curcumin, whereas turmeric extract supplements may offer 1900-2400 mg curcumin in it.
You can purchase Sri Sri Tattva’s Turmeric Plus which contains the precise mix of pepper for the body absorb the optimal amounts of curcumin.