You probably already know that turmeric is widely used in Indian and Eastern cooking. But did you know that this bright yellow-coloured spice has also been heralded as a medicinal wonder? Keep reading to finding out why this spice really is the golden child of nutrition!
Part of the Ginger family, the Turmeric plant (Curcuma Longa) grows in warm, humid climates like India, Sri Lanka, the East Indies and Fiji. Its roots are tuberous and grow up to around 10cm in length, it’s these tubers that are dug up, cleaned and dried, to then be ground up into a powder making the Turmeric most know as the spice used in cooking.
However, this spice has also been used in traditional medicine dating back over 4,000 years. Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) and Oriental Herbal Medicine both used to dissolve Turmeric powder into alcohol to use as a medicinal tincture or tonic to treat inflammation and aid digestion. New research is uncovering more and more health benefits around this wonderful root, so much so that the World Health Organization recommends the use of this spice to aid in a healthy lifestyle and diet.
What are the health benefits of organic turmeric?
There are compounds found in Turmeric called 'Curcuminoids', the most important of these compounds is called Curcumin. This compound has shown to be a powerful aid in healing our bodies.
So what benefits can it actually have? The list is long rather!
One of the main properties in Turmeric is that it is anti-inflammatory. Whilst inflammation is a normal part of the bodies healing process following any kind of injury or illness, chronic-inflammation is a long-term condition where the body begins to attack itself. Taking Turmeric (in either powder, tablet or capsule form) has shown to reduce and ease this kind of inflammation.
Chronic inflammation plays a major role in heart disease, so taking turmeric as an anti-inflammatory may help prevent heart disease and heart attacks. One of the most interesting benefits of curcumin is how it can improve the lining of blood vessels which can help reduce the risk of heart disease by regulating blood pressure.
Turmeric root can also help with cholesterol levels and fat. One study of human volunteers found that taking 500mg of curcumin daily reduced their total overall cholesterol while their “good” cholesterol increased. Another actually found that the curcumin in Turmeric can reduce the growth of fat cells!
The anti-inflammatory properties can also benefit the joints and help keep them from getting inflamed and swollen, so many of our customers take our organic turmeric for arthritis pains. When it comes to taking turmeric for your joints, it’s shown to be most effective when taken before symptoms kick in, as a preventative measure to keep your joints healthy, pain-free, and mobile. However some studies have also shown its effectiveness in the treatment of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
The above is just some of the ways the anti-inflammatory properties of Turmeric can help in leading a healthy life. But Turmeric doesn’t just stop there, it’s an antioxidant too!
Its antioxidant properties fight excess free radicals in the body that can damage cells and diminish health. Curcumin is particularly special as it’s been shown to boost the antioxidant enzymes in your body, meaning your enzymes will be working more efficiently in delivering specific compounds to the right parts of the body in order for your body to fight off unhealthy cells. It’s one of the reasons why antioxidants boost the overall look of hair, skin and nails etc. and why we call turmeric a superfood. They are also very good for maintaining healthy liver function, cleansing it of toxins that can be detrimental to overall health.
Turmeric is generally considered an adaptogen too, like Ashwagandha Root and Maca Root, so it can help the body get back to its normal balanced state which includes maintaining normal hormone levels. There is also a substance known as a lipopolysaccharide in turmeric paste that has shown a capacity to stimulate and increase the activity of the immune system.
Are there any negatives to taking Turmeric?
With any food supplement, powdered or otherwise, the question you should always ask is ‘how much of the good stuff am I getting from this?’ The question of concentration or potency is important with Turmeric even more so as studies suggest that if you want anti-inflammatory effects you need to get 500 to 1,000 milligrams of curcuminoids per day. When using the spice on its own, the common rule of thumb is that there are 200 milligrams of curcumin in one teaspoon of ground turmeric. So when looking for a turmeric supplement consider one with a high concentration of curcumin. If you’re looking to take it in capsule form get one that is a high milligram dose per capsule. Our organic turmeric capsules provide a very high 745mg per capsule which is more than most other brands. Not only that, our capsules also contain BioPerine black pepper extract which can help our body's utilise the available of the active compounds.
With any form of turmeric keep in mind that one with added piperine (a compound found in black pepper) will greatly help your body absorb the curcumin. Sadly, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream without this aid.
You might be thinking that it would just be easier to find a supplement that is pure curcumin, however research shows that all of the components of turmeric (not just the curcumin) work together more effectively than taking curcumin alone. It’s also a good idea to take your turmeric supplement with food, as fat and oil also increases the bioavailability (ability to be absorbed in to the body).
Again, like any other supplement, you should gradually introduce it in to your diet and lifestyle. Turmeric can, as with other antiinflammatory agents, contribute to the formation of stomach ulcers, so start with small doses and increase in order for your body to be accustomed to it. If Turmeric is taken in too high a dose it can lead to upset stomachs or dizziness.
Turmeric is also not recommended during pregnancy because it is associated with stimulating the uterus. As with any supplement or new food, always check with your doctor or medical professional before taking.
You can easily include turmeric root powder to your diet by adding it to your meals and drinks or by taking a capsule. A common drink our customers make with it is called 'Turmeric Latte'. Remember, even if you are taking a capsules it’s best to have food with it so that all the good stuff can be absorbed easier. You could also try tossing root vegetables in turmeric and olive oil before roasting them. For more recipe ideas head over to our recipes section!
Find turmeric and many other superfoods at our online store or on Amazon by searching TheHealthyTree Company.