A recent article in TIME proclaimed that “Turmeric May Not Be a Miracle Spice After All.” The author of the article asserts that recent research indicates curcumin found in turmeric should not be viewed as a “stand-alone supplement.”
This assertion is then followed by verification of the standard claims made by scientists and natural health experts regarding curcumin and turmeric.
It is unfortunate that this sort of article is circulated as a way of boosting readership because it can only cause confusion and controversy around a perfectly useful and humble spice with many health benefits and has been used for centuries as part of a holistic approach to good health.
No one who knows anything about curcumin and turmeric has ever said that it is a “stand-alone supplement.” Relying wholly on turmeric curcumin to fulfill your dietary needs or combat problems ranging from indigestion to cancer would be foolhardy, and no serious alternative health practitioner would ever suggest you should do this. [source]
As a part of a whole-body approach to good health, turmeric can be extremely helpful and effective. They are especially beneficial as natural anti-inflammatory herbs, which is the basis of all illness and all pain. In this article, we will explore the uses of the common kitchen spice, turmeric curcuma longa. We will also provide some practical suggestions for its use. Read on to learn more.
What Is Turmeric & How Do You Use It?
Ground turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a spice that is used in India. It is a major component of curry mixes and is also used in a variety of other types of traditional Indian cuisine. It comes from the tuber of the turmeric plant, which is a member of the ginger family. The effective ingredient in turmeric is curcumin.
In addition to being a staple of the Indian diet, turmeric is also used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat inflammatory illnesses such as bursitis and rheumatoid arthritis, and stomach and colon irritation. Along with its powerful anti-inflammatory effects, it also has powerful cleansing properties. [source]
The evidence supporting the use of turmeric as an anti-inflammatory agent is both anecdotal and clinical. Over and above hundreds of years of successful use, several different clinical studies have shown that the curcumin in turmeric root works to block inflammatory enzymes and cytokines. This is how pharmaceutical products such as Celebrex work, but turmeric is far more affordable “anti-inflamatory drugs” and far healthier as an addition to your daily diet.
Which Studies Proved How Effective Is Turmeric For Inflammation?
For over a decade, Professor Bharat B. Aggarwal has conducted impressive and successful research into the efficacy of using curcumin to combat cancer. His body of research presents convincing evidence that turmeric/curcumin is a valuable tool used to eliminate or reduce inflammation that is the root cause of numerous diseases including arthritis, cancer, colitis, diabetes, heart disease, and more.
Hear Professor Bharat B. Aggarwal Discuss Curcumin
Following Dr. Aggarwal’s groundbreaking work, many smaller studies have verified the role of turmeric in chronic inflammation relief. Among them are:
- 2006 – A study conducted by noted neurosurgeon, Joseph Maroon, found the therapeutic effects of curcumin like those of prescription steroids without the risk of dangerous side effects.
- 2014 – M.D. Anderson Cancer Center concluded that the anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant, anticancer, and antibacterial properties of turmeric infused the substance with great potential for combating all manners of chronic inflamation and illness.
These small studies are just the tip of the iceberg. The National Institutes of Health website (PubMed.com) lists over 7000 studies into the efficacy of turmeric and curcumin in preventing and combating a variety of illnesses. Most show very positive results.
How Much Turmeric Do You Need?
You can take turmeric as a supplement in liquid or pill form or measured by the teaspoon or tablespoon into smoothies and other foods. When you do this, you can follow these guidelines:
- Fresh Turmeric Root: Use up to 3 grams daily.
- Powdered Root: Use up to 3 grams daily.
- Powdered Spice: Use up to 600 mg daily.
- Fluid Turmeric Extract: Use up to 1.5 teaspoons daily.
- Tincture: Use up to half a teaspoonful daily.
- Capsules: Use up to 1200 grams daily.
No matter which of these options you choose, don’t take the turmeric all at once. Break it up into two or three doses taken with food at various times throughout the day as a turmeric supplement.
Understand that the amount of the active ingredient, curcumin, found in curcumin supplements may vary a great deal (from 2-6%). Read the label so that you will know just how much curcumin you are getting with each dose.
Be advised that high doses of curcumin can thin your blood and may upset your stomach. If you are already taking a blood-thinning drug such as Coumadin, you should talk with your doctor before taking turmeric as a supplement. Likewise, if you have a chronic illness, such as diabetes, or if you are pregnant, seek your doctor’s advice before adding any supplement to your daily routine.
Note that these dosages are recommended for adults. Children should not take turmeric as a supplement. Instead, it should just be added to the diet in small, flavorful amounts. Indeed, this is the best way for adults to use it as well.
It is wise to keep in mind that the reason Westerners know about the value of turmeric is that smart researchers, such as Dr. Aggarwal, noticed that the rate of inflammatory illness in India is much lower than that in the western world. Speculation that this was due to the generous amount of turmeric in the standard Indian diet proved to be true.
The Indian people don’t typically spend a fortune on turmeric supplements. They simply use this healthy, flavorful spice in a wide variation of foods, beverages, and home health and personal care products. This is a healthy, balanced, holistic approach.
Enjoy Turmeric In Food
In the west, we tend to think that more is always better, but that is not necessarily the case with turmeric. When you take it in supplement form, you run the risk of overdoing it by simply getting too much of a good thing all at once.
Taking large, concentrated doses of the spice can cause ulcers and gallbladder problems. If you have diabetes, it can lower your blood sugar level too quickly if combined with insulin.
It’s easy to see that taking large, concentrated doses of turmeric can have the potential for unwanted side effects; however, simply adding it to your anti-inflammatory diet is safe and smart for just about anyone! It’s also easy, affordable, and enjoyable.
Here Are Some Tasty Ideas You Can Use To Add Turmeric To Your Daily Diet!
- The most obvious way to add turmeric to your diet is to add curry. Turmeric is the main ingredient in curry mixes, and the other spices that typically make up these flavorful blends are also good for your health.
- Add turmeric to any egg dish you prepare. A quarter teaspoon sifted over a couple of fried eggs or a half teaspoon stirred into scrambled eggs or an omelet adds flavor, color, and health benefits!
- Use it to season veggies of all sorts. It is especially good sprinkled over cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli.
- Add health and color to a pot of rice. If you are making rice for 4-6 people, add a heaping teaspoonful of turmeric and a tablespoonful of healthy oil (e.g. peanut or coconut for hot cooking). Add these at the outset along with salt and any other spices you may be using. Be sure to add at least a pinch of black pepper. The cooking process, the oil, and the black pepper all work to make the benefits of turmeric more bioavailable.
- Use it to season your greens. The sharp, tangy taste of turmeric is especially good with dark, leafy greens such as mustard, collard, turnip, or beet greens. Be sure to add a bit of oil or butter and some black pepper to reap the greatest benefit.
- Add turmeric paste to any soup for a richer flavor and an appetizing appearance. The golden color makes chicken soup and vegetable soup especially appealing.
- Add a heaping teaspoonful to a pot of beans. Just add turmeric to the spices you usually use when cooking beans. Be sure to include some oil and pepper, too.
- You can make healthy, fresh homemade macaroni and cheese using whole grain pasta and organic white cheese and still deliver that vibrant orange color your kids love in the store-bought brands! Just mix a teaspoonful of turmeric in when you make the sauce. Adjust according to taste and appearance to get it exactly the shade and flavor you want. TIP: It’s also a great way to bring color and richness to plain foods such as mashed potatoes.
- Enjoy a sunrise smoothie. You can use fresh root, or powder or liquid to flavor and color almost any smoothie recipes. A mix of coconut milk, banana, peaches, and honey makes a tasty, healthy treat. Add a little coconut oil and just a dash of black pepper to boost the turmeric benefits. [source]
- Brew some curcumin turmeric tea. This tasty blend of turmeric, ginger, lemon, and honey is healthful and soothing to sore throats and upset tummies. You can use fresh, grated turmeric and ginger root, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. This takes a bit of preparation and brewing time. Alternately, you can just stir together a half teaspoonful each of dried turmeric and dried ginger in a cup of just-boiled water. Add a tablespoonful each of lemon juice and honey. Add a dash of black pepper, stir, and enjoy.
- Brew some golden milk or turmeric milk. This is essentially turmeric tea made with the milk of your choice. You can use dairy milk or nut milk, fresh or dried spices. Just be sure you don’t use lemon juice because it will curdle the turmeric milk. Instead, use a teaspoonful of coconut oil. You can experiment with the spices a bit if you like. Some people like to use cinnamon instead of, or in addition to, ginger. Nutmeg and similar spices are also nice.
- Make your own mustard. This is very simple, and the result is so much tastier than store-bought mustard…you’ll never want to buy that chemical-laden product again. Just mix up half a cup of dry mustard powder, a teaspoonful each of sea salt and turmeric powder, and a couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar. You can mix and store this tasty condiment in a glass jar with a tightly-fitting lid. It will keep in your refrigerator for a very long time.
- Make golden honey. This is a home remedy for a sore throat and cold symptoms. Just mix up a tablespoonful of turmeric powder and half a cup of raw local honey. You can take this by the level teaspoonful every few hours when you are ill or have trouble with allergies. This natural mixture will soothe pain and inflammation on contact and boost your immunity to help you recover faster and prevent illness in the future.
- Add it to your oatmeal. For a healthy breakfast, boost your oatmeal’s nutrition content by adding a level teaspoonful of turmeric, a teaspoonful of cinnamon, a dash of black pepper, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a handful of raisins. Add these ingredients at the outset rather than tossing them into cooked oatmeal. The result will be a tasty dish with nice, soft, plumped raisins. Add the milk of your choice.
- Keep a shaker of “spice turmeric” on your table alongside your salt and pepper. Try sprinkling it on all kinds of foods to add it naturally to your everyday diet. It is especially good on bean and pasta salads and on avocados. [source]
Remember The Healthy Oil & Pepper
To improve absorption, you should always prepare foods with a little healthy oil. Add a bit of coconut oil to smoothies and other cool foods. Cook warm foods with heat-safe healthy oils, such as coconut, peanut, or walnut oil. Turmeric essential oil is also available and it can be used for healthy and tasty cooking.
Always add a dash of black pepper to any food containing turmeric as this will help improve absorption of the curcumin. When you eat curry, you don’t need to worry about this as black pepper is included in most curry mixes.
Although for some people turmeric is an acquired taste, most find it has a mild, agreeable flavor that blends in with and enhances all sorts of foods. Give it a try. If it’s too strong to start with, ease it into your diet a bit at a time. Before long, you’ll be preventing inflammation with flavor and flair and enjoying the health benefits of turmeric!