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Turmeric: A Super Spice for the Body

Turmeric is a lot more than just an added spice in your favorite Thai or Indian dish. While it’s indeed packed with flavor, its also chock full of health benefits. But what exactly can it do for us? We’ll answer all the most common questions of this trending super spice. 

What is turmeric and where does it come from? 

When it comes to medicinal purposes, we are concerned with the root of a turmeric plant, which is native to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. But before we dig deeper (no pun intended), let’s cover the basics, like how we pronounce this word. Phonetically, turmeric is writtenˈtər-mə-rik. If you weren’t pronouncing it right before, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Turmeric has actually been around for thousands of years, but what has allowed it to flower into the “ingredient du jour” is the fact that science has started to back up lots of what several cultures have believed for years, that its medicinal benefits are vast.

Turmeric vs. Curcumin: What’s the difference?  

While turmeric is delicious and nutritious, it’s actually just the vehicle for compounds with strong medicinal power. The compounds in the turmeric plant are called curcuminoids (the responsible party for turning everything an orange color). 

The most important curcuminoid in turmeric is called curcumin, think of it as turmeric’s most active ingredient. It has the power to lower inflammation and cholesterol, relieve joint pain, boost weight loss, and much more. 

However, while curcumin is powerful, it’s not very potent in the turmeric root. In fact, its content makes up only about 3% by weight. Thus, sprinkling that pungent orange spice on your coconut soup each day will not be enough to reap the medicinal benefits. That’s why it is recommended to take a supplement with high concentrations of curcumin to see and feel relief.

 What’s the most effective way to take turmeric? 

While a simple search on any online engine will offer you thousands of ideas as to how to add more turmeric into your daily food plan, getting the medical benefits from curcumin isn’t quite as simple. Going the supplement route not only gives you a higher concentration of curcumin via turmeric, but a good supplement will pair it with black pepper. Why may you ask? Black pepper contains piperine, which enhances the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%. Those numbers will certainly offer you more bang for your turmeric buck, and your aching joints and arthritic bones will say thank you.

Another interesting fact is that curcumin is fat-soluble, so ingesting it with a fatty meal can help with its absorption. Pass the butter!

What health benefits does it offer? 

The healing power of turmeric covers a broad swath of ailments. Below is a list of the highlights that its ingredients help to relieve: 

-Acne 

-Allergies

-Alzheimer’s disease

-Asthma

-Bruising 

-Cancer 

-Cardiovascular disorders

-Depression

-Diabetes

-Fibromyalgia

-Gingivitis

-Hay Fever

-Headaches

-Heartburn

-Hepatitis

-Joint pain

-Menstruation pain

-Muscle aches

-Obesity 

-Rashes or swelling

-Rheumatoid arthritis

-Stress

-Skin damage

And many many more! 

Is turmeric safe? 

Based on the amount tested for health purposes, turmeric is considered safe when ingested in moderation or applied to the skin. Research has found that doses between 500-2,000 mg per day to show effectiveness in humans. An over ingestion of turmeric can lead to gastrointestinal problems, so be sure to space with your health care provider about any supplements you choose to take, including those with turmeric.