15 Ways That Using Turmeric Will Actually Make Your Life Better
We all know that in order to be healthy, we need to live healthy. This includes regular exercise and of course a well-balanced diet. But what exactly are the best things to eat to ensure our health? We’re told that we should eat salad, but you can get salads at every single fast food chain in America, and most of these salads have more calories than even their cheesiest and bacon-est burgers. Yet, they’re still marketed as a healthy decision. It’s all so confusing.
That’s why we wanted to introduce you to a wonder spice that can do wonders for not just your health but your entire life when coupled with healthy living and eating. If you’re not using turmeric, then you’re about to be blown away by all the things this wonder ingredient can do. Here are several ways that it will make your life better, how it works and the best way to take it.
First of all, what is turmeric? It’s the spice that gives curry its yellow color and has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb.
Recently, science has started to back up what Indians have known for a long time: it really does contain compounds with medicinal properties
These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound
Inflammation is incredibly important. It helps your body fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage.
But 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. Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is super important. Curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory. In fact, it’s so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side effects.
Increases Antioxidant Capacity
Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases.
It involves free radicals, which tend to react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA. The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial is that they protect your body from free radicals.
What do you need? Curcumin! It’s a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure. In addition, curcumin boosts the activity of your body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
Lower Risk Of Brain Diseases
Back in the day, it was believed that neurons weren’t able to divide and multiply after early childhood. However, it’s now known that this does happen.
Neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in certain areas of the brain they can also multiply and increase in number.
One of the main drivers of this process is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain. Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone, including depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Guess what? Curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF!
Lower Risk Of Heart Disease
One of the main benefits of curcumin when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of your blood vessels.
Endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of your endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors. Several studies suggest that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function. One study found that it’s as effective as exercise!
Can Help Prevent (And Perhaps Even Treat) Cancer
Cancer is one of the most devastating diseases out there, and countless hours of research are conducted on ways to combat it every single day.
This research has lead to looking at curcumin, which has been studied as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment and been found to affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level.
Studies have shown that it can contribute to the death of cancerous cells and reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and metastasis (spread of cancer).
Preventing And Treating Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia.
Unfortunately, no good treatment is available for Alzheimer’s yet. Therefore, preventing it from occurring in the first place is of the utmost importance.
There may be good news in the near future, because curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. In addition, a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of protein tangles called amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin can help clear these plaques!
If you or someone you know suffers from arthritis, you know how awful it is. There are several different types, most of which involve inflammation in the joints.
Wait a minute… didn’t we just learn that curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory compound? Then it makes sense to say that it may help with arthritis!
Several studies show this to be true. In a study in people with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug. So stock up on it!
Curcumin has even shown some promise in treating depression. In a controlled trial, 60 people with depression were randomized into three groups.
One group took Prozac, another group one gram of curcumin and the third group both Prozac and curcumin. After 6 weeks, curcumin had led to improvements that were similar to Prozac.
The group that took both Prozac and curcumin fared best out of them all. According to this small study, curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant. Again, this is just one study, so take it with a grain of turmeric.
Age-Related Chronic Diseases
If curcumin can really help prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, it would have obvious benefits for longevity.
For this reason, curcumin has become very popular as an anti-aging supplement. Not only will it help you live longer, but it will keep you looking and feeling young longer as well!
Given that oxidation and inflammation are believed to play a role in aging, curcumin may have effects that go way beyond just preventing disease. Knowing all of this, don’t you want some? Of course you do. And here’s the best way to take it…
How Much To Take
Of course you shouldn’t just start shoveling turmeric into your mouth and expect to live forever.
You need to be smart about it. Well+Good Council member Robin Berzin, MD, explains that when checking out a turmeric capsule’s label, it’s important to note how much curcumin is actually in it.
“Curcuminoids only comprise a small part of turmeric,” she says. “If you want anti-inflammatory effects you need to get 500 to 1,000 milligrams of curcuminoids per day.”
Gaia Herbs founder Ric Scalzo says he takes a few different products every day so that the dosage adds up.
About 500 milligrams of curcuminoids a day is a good wellness dose for keeping inflammation away and promoting gut health, Scalzo says.
But if you’re experiencing chronic pain, you might want to quadruple that, he adds. So if you buy a supplement, be sure to read the labels, as many in the health industry will try to rip you off.
Be warned: food and beverage manufacturers know consumers are on the lookout for new ways to get their turmeric.
Dr. Berzin says that she’s noticed some brands taking advantage of the buzzword in ways that are less than honest.
“We’ve all seen green-washing; now we have inflammation-washing,” she says. “A health bar or juice made with 20 grams of sugar and preservatives with a dash of an anti-inflammatory herb thrown in is so much more toxic and inflammatory than it is anti-inflammatory.”
Capsules Vs. Spices
Capsules are good for getting what you need in you quickly, but both Dr. Berzin and Scalzo point out the power of the spice in foods.
“Spices are some of nature’s most powerful natural medicines, so cooking with turmeric is a great idea,” Dr. Berzin says.
“That said, it’s likely to help with maintenance, but won’t cure or fix a problem.” It’ll make your meals delicious and help, but for the real benefits, proper supplements are what you need.
Dr. Berzin and Scalzo both are quick to note that while curcumin is amazing, it’s poorly absorbed on its own.
So even if you take the recommended dosage, if it’s not making its way into your stomach, you aren’t getting the full spectrum of benefits.
The solution? Couple it with black pepper. When combined with turmeric, it increases your body’s ability to absorb spice. Many turmeric and curcumin capsules often include it, so check the label closely the next time you’re shopping. And if you’re cooking with the spice, it’s best to add black pepper to your recipe. The benefit? Not only will it help your health, but make the dish more delicious, as well!