Sitting unobjectionably between the ground cinnamon and dried basil, turmeric is considered a miracle spice, playing a starring role in natural medicine for over 4,000 years. So much so, that it’s worth slipping it out of your spice rack, and sprinkling it over your daily routine.
And here’s why…
Considered one of the word’s healthiest spices, turmeric not only gives curry its beautiful yellow color, it’s also the super spice traditionally used to quell inflammation, boost the immune system, and inhibit tumors. It contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties. The most significant of these compounds is curcumin, which offers strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
“Studies are finding an astonishing array of antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, antibiotic, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties. As an immune system booster, turmeric is 5 to 8 times stronger than vitamin C and E.” (source: alternative daily)
Here are the top 15 health benefits of daily turmeric consumption:
- Fights inflammation
- Acts as a potent antioxidant
- Acts as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal
- Protects the brain
- Helps reduce risk of cancer
- Aids digestion
- Supports heart health
- May play a role in delaying the aging process
- Improves arthritis symptoms
- Can help reduce the risk of diabetes
- May help prevent and treat alzheimer’s disease
- Can help reduce pigmentation
- Acts as an anti-depressant
- Effective as a painkiller
- Helps manage inflammatory bowel disease (IBS, Crohn’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis)
“India has the lowest demential rates in the world; they consume 25 to 50 mg of turmeric daily, which prevents inflammation of the brain.”
~ Dr. Sunil Pai,
The above conditions, as well as many others, are typically treated with anti-coagulants, anti-inflammatories, anti-depressants, statin drugs, steroids, corticosteroids, and/or painkillers. To give you an idea of the side effects that have been alleviated and/or avoided by using curcumin instead of the usual steroid treatment, here is a sample of the typical side effects of steroid use, as listed by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and detailed here.
- Delayed Wound Healing
- Diabetes Onset
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- Increased Appetite (possibly leading to weight gain)
- Kidney and Thyroid Issues
- Mood Disturbances
- Muscle Weakness
- Risk of Infection
- Stunted Growth in Children
- Rapid Heartbeat (Tachycardia)
- Thinning Skin (leading to easy bruising)
So perhaps turmeric is something to keep in mind before applying a prescriptive medication. But please always consult with your health care provider first.
Used internally and externally, turmeric extends its benefits to beautifying your skin, including;
- Protection from sun damage
- Helping with acne
- Relief from psoriasis
- Fading hyper-pigmentation
- Helping wounds heal
Looking for more reasons to add this golden spice to your routine?
Here is an outstanding list of 99 reasons why turmeric is the best spice ever!
Pass the turmeric and pepper, please!
Follow this golden rule for this golden spice:
Always take your turmeric with a pinch of black pepper. Black pepper significantly enhances the absorption of this spice, and in fact, it is mandatory for accessing its bio-availability. Most supplements include piperine (the active ingredient in black pepper), but always check the label. Here is a good one to try. And when cooking, making smoothies, or making anything with turmeric, just add a pinch of black pepper
How much should I take?
The daily recommended daily amount of turmeric varies, but 2 grams or 1 teaspoon of freshly ground turmeric is a good dose. And since there are different forms of turmeric, here are some additional guidelines.
There are some contraindications and side effects, so again, please always consult with your health care provider.
10 ways you’re probably not using turmeric today (but might want to)
- Whiten your teeth naturallly
- Add it to your moisturizer for a boost in your skin tone
- Reduce scars
- Sunburn and blister relief
- Say good-bye to dandruff
- Use as a fabric dye
- Skip the yellow # 5, and use as a natural food colring in baking
- Have your cake, and eat it too
- Make some soap
- Naturally dye Easter eggs
Spice up Your Nutrition
For some tasty ways to incorporate turmeric into your daily routine, these tonics and recipes are like adding a cup of sunshine to your day:
- Add a fresh, peeled turmeric root and a pinch of black pepper to your homemade broth while it is cooking.
- Hide it in your smoothies, sneak it in your soups and stews, add it to your coffee drinks!
Sprinkle this super heathy spice throughout your day, and see how it makes you feel!
Spice Up Your Life!
This article was contributed by Jane Hill – fierce Bikram Yogi, lover of all things natural, and my best yoga buddy. Look for more articles by Jane in the Off the Mat Chats section of Views From the Podium!