The Health Benefits of Turmeric: Going for Gold with the Powerful Plant Root
- Recently, turmeric has shot to stardom as the latest and greatest health trend.
- While the ancient herb has been linked to a lengthy list of wellness benefits, the two that stand out are turmerics anti-inflammatory properties and high antioxidant content.
- There is no “wrong” way to add turmeric to your daily routine, but there are a few ways to get the most out of your supplement
If you keep up on health trends, chances are you’ve heard about the many benefits of turmeric. These days, the powerful plant root can be found in everything from cold-pressed juices to high-end face masks. But what, exactly, makes this iconic Indian spice so powerful when it comes to your health? Today, we’re breaking down the benefits of turmeric and offering up our top tips for ensuring you’re getting the absolute most out of this coveted golden root.
What are the main health benefits of turmeric?
Turmeric contains medicinally beneficial bioactive compounds called curcuminoids, the most powerful of which is curcumin. Curcumin has a number of proven health benefits—but the two that are getting the most attention are its powerful anti-inflammatory effects and the fact that it acts as an antioxidant.
- Fight chronic inflammation: According to Healthline.com, “Scientists now believe that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions.” Because curcumin is extremely effective at fighting inflammation at a molecular level (even matching the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals, without all of the nasty side effects.), adding turmeric supplements to your daily routine can be a great way to calm inflammation and ensure your body is in prime shape for an upcoming procedure. (After all, the healthier you enter surgery, the faster you recover.)
- Increase your body’s antioxidant capacity: Antioxidants help protect your body from free radicals (which play a major role in oxidative damage, one of the mechanisms behind aging and age-related diseases). Because of its chemical makeup, curcumin works to protect your body from free radicals and helps to stimulate your body’s antioxidant enzymes at the same time—ultimately delivering double the benefits.
Are there other benefits of turmeric and curcumin?
There are! In addition to the two prominent benefits of turmeric we broke down above, curcumin is also proven to:
- Lower your risk of heart disease
- Lower your risk of brain disease
- Help ease the pain and discomfort of arthritis
- Fight age-related chronic illnesses
- Help prevent (and possibly even treat) cancer
How do I work turmeric into my daily routine as I prepare for surgery?
- Opt for a daily supplement to really reap turmeric’s benefits. The curcumin content of turmeric is relatively low (according to Healthline.com, it’s about 3 percent). Because of this, it’s pretty difficult to reap all of the benefits of turmeric by simply using it to spice or flavor foods. Instead, consider taking a turmeric extract supplement that contains high amounts of curcumin once a day leading up to and following your procedure. Mixing a teaspoon of ground turmeric into your morning smoothie or juicing fresh turmeric root in your green drink are both a great place to start. But, to be sure you’re getting enough curcumin to reap the health benefits of turmeric, you’ll want to take a daily turmeric supplement.
- Pair it with black pepper for ultimate effect. Because curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, it helps to pair it with black pepper. Black pepper contains piperine, a natural substance that makes it easier for the bloodstream to absorb curcumin and, therefore, increases your chances of benefitting from turmeric’s powerful medicinal properties. If you’re using turmeric in your food, smoothies, or juices, crack some fresh-ground black pepper in there as well. When it comes to daily turmeric supplements, read the labels and be sure you choose a supplement that includes piperine along with circumin.
- Take turmeric supplements with a fatty meal. Because curcumin is fat-soluble, another way to ensure you’re actually absorbing curcumin and reaping the benefits of turmeric is to take your turmeric/curcumin supplements with a fatty meal. If you’re using turmeric as a spice in your meals, considering cooking your food with coconut oil (as it contains a high amount of healthy saturated fats). When taking your turmeric/curcumin supplement, try swallowing a spoonful of coconut oil to wash down the pill.
Overall, when it comes to preparing for surgery, turmeric has the potential to play a seriously powerful role in your presurgery routine. From its strong anti-inflammatory effects to its cancer-fighting potential, the benefits of this potent plant root are about as bright (and hard to ignore) as the unmistakable color of the spice itself!