The hype about turmeric has not gone down, and with good reason.
Turmeric is an ancient herb that originated from India and was used as a natural dye, a spice for food, in special ceremonies, etc. Recently, probably within the past year, turmeric has reached a peak in its popularity for being a natural medicine in treating arthritis, dementia, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and many other ailments/symptoms.
In this post, I’ll list a few of the benefits that turmeric has as well as some additional information to help you get to know turmeric a bit more.
WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family (ginger being another spice/plant that is really good for you) and originated from India (more specifically around the south of India). Turmeric was traded among people during early civilization throughout the Middle East and made its way to the tropical parts of North/South America later on. Now, turmeric can be found in 99% of grocery stores in the spice section and is of course one of the main ingredients found in curry.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Just like with most plants that have healing properties, it’s not necessarily the whole plant that has the magic, but the active ingredient that is in the plant. Turmeric contains curcuminoids, “curcurmin” being the active one that has the most benefit. Curcurmin is best absorbed by the body while in conjunction with black pepper. There’s another active compound named piperine found in black pepper that helps the body absorb the curcurmin. Otherwise, ingesting turmeric on its own will provide very little benefit.
WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
According to this spice encyclopedia that I found(linked here), “turmeric is mildly aromatic and has scents of orange or ginger. It has a pungent, bitter flavor.”
I’ve incorporated turmeric into my soups, my hashbrowns, my smoothies, and, personally, I can definitely tell the difference between adding turmeric to recipes and leaving it out. It’s not a strong difference, but the taste is definitely there. When I make or buy a turmeric latte, it reminds me of something like a chai latte (which I LOVE). Incorporating turmeric to savory recipes is probably the easiest way to add turmeric to your diet, since the flavor gets hidden among any other added spices. If you don’t like the taste, try a supplement instead!
HOW DOES IT HELP?
ANTI INFLAMMATORY : Curcurmin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound. It is highly capable of reducing inflammation on the molecular scale. To understand the importance of this benefit, we need to understand how dangerous it is when the body is inflamed.
Inflammation in the body is sometimes normal, caused by an external factor like getting an infected pimple/hair follicle or when you sprain your ankle, or something of the sort. We can see inflammation on our bodies when we feel pain, swelling, heat, bloating, etc. That’s our immune system fighting off the “invaders,” promoting healing to our body, and protecting the healthy tissues. As I read in this article, when a medical condition term ends with “itis,” that most likely means that it’s a condition of the body caused by inflammation (f.e. Sinusitis, arthritis, gastritis, cystitis, etc.) However, when inflammation reaches a dangerous peak, it causes multiple problems and can lead to chronic conditions, like autoimmune diseases (hashimoto’s thyroiditis -surprise surprise!), fibromyalgia, heart disease, etc. Long term inflammation in the body can cause a lot of havoc, and most people won’t even realize that it’s going on! In another article, I’ll go over inflammation in more detail.
So again, the fact that curcurmin has the possibility of reducing inflammation, it is probably safer to take it, than not. Anti-inflammatory foods/spices such as turmeric may help treat/prevent the following:
- Brain disease: In studies, curcurmin has been shown to improve brain function and lower the risk of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
- Heart diseases
- Ulcerative colitis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (an autoimmune disease)
- May help delay aging and fight-age related chronic diseases
- Ocular conditions
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- So much more…
HOW MUCH TO TAKE?
Most of the studies that were used to research the benefits of turmeric gave their patients about 80-200 milligrams to about 1 gram of curcurmin per day. The quantity of curcurmin per teaspoon (tsp) of tumeric really depends on the brand you buy and where it is sourced. On this website, it states that a “good rule of thumb is” 200 milligrams of curcurmin/tsp of turmeric. It’s somewhat similar on other websites as well. As mentioned previously, It’s also recommended to take black pepper along with turmeric in order to increase the absorption rate of curcumin. In addition to that, curcumin is fat soluble, so it helps to ingest it along with coconut oil or some other type of oil/fatty substance as well. It might be easiest to find a supplement that has black pepper in it, and try to take that daily. To start, I would aim for a supplement that has a daily serving of about 500 – 1000 milligrams of curcurminoids per day. However, if you don’t want to buy a supplement, you can try adding a teaspoon of turmeric into a turmeric latte, a teaspoon into a soup for lunch, and a teaspoon with some chicken for dinner. And that would equate to about 600 milligrams of curcurmin for the day! (And don’t forget to add black pepper along with it! About a ¼ tsp per tsp of turmeric should help with absorption.) Do your own research regarding what you’re trying to use turmeric for, because there have been different recommended dosages depending on what you’re trying to treat. I always start slow when I’m trying a new supplement and found that’s easiest on my body.
As said before, having an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is extremely beneficial and helpful when it comes to being healthy. Adding turmeric to your diet or daily supplements will provide positive results, but of course talk to your doctor first before taking or adding anything into your daily regime. I’m not a health professional, but this is my personal research and I know for sure that I will be adding turmeric to my diet! Feel free to complete your own research and let me know in the comments what you think, if you think turmeric really is a great supplement, why you’re skeptical of it, anything!
With much love,
Featured Image source: Picture taken by me, Abril, with iPhone SE. Picture of: Dr. Smood’s Turmeric Latte. Not sponsored.