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Pain and inflammation? A daily dose of turmeric may be just what you need....

Turmeric is part of the ginger family and has a warm, peppery, slightly bitter taste. This ancient Indian spice has been used for many thousands of years in food and medicine and has long been recognised for its amazing healing properties. In Ayurvedic medicine its usage is well-documented in respiratory conditions, liver disorders and rheumatism as well as being used for sprains, swelling and wound healing. In traditional Chinese medicine it is used to treat conditions with abdominal pain and is used as a digestive and carminative aid. Today there is more and more research to substantiate these healing qualities, making it one of the most researched plants in existence.

The primary active compound in turmeric is curcumin, which is the most studied constituent and gives it its bright yellow colour.

Nature's Own Anti-inflammatory....

In numerous studies, curcumin has displayed many health benefits including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tumour, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic qualities. It is also recognised as a potent immune and liver support and helps to regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Still in other studies, curcumin compares favourably to pharmaceutical drugs in therapeutic application. A 2004 study published in the Oncogene journal found that curcumin was more potent than the following drugs: aspirin, ibuprofen, phenylbutazone, naproxen, dexamethasone and tamoxifen, in its anti-inflammatory effects. It works at several different points of the inflammatory pathway including inhibition of inflammatory prostaglandin production and decreasing COX and LOX enzymes.

Curcumin has shown to be highly effective in reducing pain and inflammation in many conditions such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, Crohn's disease, Inflammatory Bowel and Ulcerative Colitis. It has also been seen to have protective effects on cartilage, supporting its use for arthritic conditions even further.

Can I get health benefits from eating turmeric?

Absolutely yes! The beneficial effects of turmeric have traditionally been achieved through dietary consumption, even at low levels, consumed over long periods of time. Although the curcumin content of turmeric is quite low, consuming the whole food as opposed to isolated compounds from it has many other benefits. The whole food contains all of the synergistic nutrients required to maximise the effect of the individual compounds, each of which also comes with their own individual health benefits. Curcumin for example, is only one of the active compounds in turmeric, which is also a very good source of other plant compounds and curcuminoids, volatile oils, vitamins and minerals.

Turmeric can also improve the overall health benefits of a meal, as it helps to retain beta-carotene levels in certain foods like pumpkin and carrots and helps to counteract formation of cancer causing substances in meat when it is cooked at high heats over open flames.
Turmeric Lentil Dahl

Turmeric Lentil Dahl

So how much turmeric do I need to eat for health benefits?

Actually, very little turmeric needs to be consumed in order to receive the unique antioxidant abilities it contains and studies show that sufficient levels of turmeric may be consumed from curries to provide adequate antioxidant protection. In India, the average daily consumption of turmeric is about 1-2 teaspoons per day. A recommended daily amount to aim for in your diet would be 1 ½ to 2 tsp.

How do I get more turmeric into my diet?

There are many ways of including more turmeric in your diet, using either the turmeric root or turmeric powder.

I usually add ½ tsp of turmeric to my smoothies or juices which is an easy way to get more into your day. You can also drink turmeric as a tea. It can be added to your rice and quinoa, stews, soups, salad dressings, marinades and of course curries.

You can improve the absorption of turmeric and its compounds in the body by adding black pepper and healthy fat to the meal.

Add turmeric to your smoothies.

Add turmeric to your smoothies.

When should I supplement with turmeric and curcumin?

If you eat an anti-inflammatory diet and regularly consume turmeric over the long-term, this may help to prevent the onset of conditions requiring therapeutic doses of turmeric or curcumin in the future. If you are finding it difficult to get turmeric into your diet, then you can take it in supplemental form as a powder or capsule. This may be enough to help relieve the inflammation and pain of certain health conditions. If your condition is more severe you may need to supplement with curcumin.

The dose is dependent on your health condition and unique circumstances and I would recommend speaking to a health professional for guidance on this in order get maximum effect from your supplement.

Remember to look for a good quality product, preferably organic and ideally paired with black pepper or piperine for optimal absorption. Take it with food that contains oils or fats to assist absorption further. Curcumin is best taken in the evening.
If you have any questions or would like further advice on anything to do with turmeric or curcumin, then please contact me at BodyNatured.

Yours in good health, naturally! Victoria x

Sources:

Osieki H (2007). The Nutrient Bible. 7th edn. Australia. Bio concepts publishing Pitchford P. (2002).

Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books. California, USA

Sahdeo P & Aggarwal B. (2011). Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd Edition. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.

Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. (1998). 'Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers.' Planta Med. May, Volume 64, Issue 6, pg 353-356. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/13665603_Influence_of_Piperine_on_the_Pharmacokinetics_of_Curcumin_in_Animals_and_Human_Volunteers. Accessed: 23rd February 2017.

Takada Y, Bhardwaj A, Potdar P, Aggarwal BB. (2004). 'Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents differ in their ability to suppress NF-kappaB activation, inhibition of expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and cyclin D1, and abrogation of tumor cell proliferation'. Oncogene. Dec, Vol 23, Issue 57, pg 9247 to 958. Available at:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15489888. Accessed: 23rd February 2017.

Tilak JC, Banerjee M, Mohan H & Devasagayam TPA. (2004). 'Antioxidant and availability of turmeric in relation to its medicinal and culinary uses'. Phytotherapy Research. Vol 18, pg 798-804. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.1553/abstract. (Accessed: 23rd February 2017).

The world's healthiest foods. (2017). Available at: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78 (Accessed: 23rd February 2017).



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