Turmeric has increased in popularity throughout the United States in recent years. It can be used in cooking or taken as a health-boosting nutritional supplement. Most famous for its use as a color additive in some packaged foods or the unique component that imparts flavor to Indian curry dishes, turmeric is becoming a household name for good reason.
What exactly is turmeric and where does it come from? What health benefits can be achieved by adding turmeric to dishes or taking it in the form of a dietary supplement? Can using turmeric improve existing health conditions? The following information has been assembled to answer these questions in more depth.
What is Turmeric and Where Does it Originate From?
Turmeric is a popular spice used primarily in the preparation of Indian food. The use of this brightly colored and aromatic spice dates back at least 4,000 years, proving that even ancient civilizations have been aware of the healing power contained within this spice. Turmeric grows naturally in locations such as India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. In America, it has gained notoriety as being a natural anti-inflammatory that can potentially offer many different types of health benefits for some people.
Curcumin: The Secret Behind the Anti-Inflammatory Powers of Turmeric
The healing power of turmeric lies in one of the main components making up this unique spice. This component is known as curcumin. Curcumin is what is responsible for giving turmeric it’s golden yellow color. More importantly, it is also the component responsible for lower inflammation within the body. As a result, it can decrease swelling and relieve pain related to chronic health problems in many people. Curcumin also contains a lot of antioxidant compounds that fight the free radicals that can result in illness and speed the aging process. For this reason, turmeric has even found its way into some skincare lines as a natural way to fight the signs of aging.
What are the Best Ways to Take Advantage of Turmeric?
There are currently no specific dosages set for the use of turmeric to help with overall wellness, disease prevention, or symptom management. As a general rule, however, most researchers agree that anywhere from one to three grams of turmeric powder daily is plenty to see remarkable benefits.
Without proper absorption, however, the person consuming turmeric will not reap the benefits this spice has to offer. In order to improve the amount of curcumin that is absorbed and utilized by the body, it is best to consume turmeric along with a meal that contains a good source of fat. Turmeric is fat soluble. Therefore, consuming it with fat will increase the amount that is absorbed. Good sources of fat to consume along with turmeric include fish, olive oil, and avocado. Additionally, turmeric powder has the highest concentration of curcumin and is already in the form that is easiest to use in cooking for making tea. Last but not least, the addition of black pepper along with turmeric drastically increases the amount of curcumin that is absorbed by the body. If you choose to take turmeric in a supplement form, such as in capsules, be sure these capsules include the addition of black pepper. If you’re cooking with turmeric, simply add some black pepper to the same meal.
— Dr. David Samadi (@drdavidsamadi) October 19, 2017
Can Turmeric Help Control Existing Health Conditions?
Scientific research has already indicated that the regular consumption of turmeric may help reduce the overall risk of developing specific health conditions. What about health problems that are already in existence? Is there any evidence that turmeric can improve specific health issues or make their symptoms more manageable? There are a number of health problems that can be improved by the regular consumption of turmeric. Let’s take a closer look at a few of these below.
Arthritis results from chronic inflammation in the joints. This ongoing inflammation can lead to pain, limited movement, stiffness, swelling, difficulties with proper mobility, and many other problems. Since turmeric contains natural compounds that reduce inflammation, it only stands to reason that consuming turmeric can reduce these bothersome side effects and make arthritis more manageable.
While studying the effects of turmeric on cancer is still in its infancy stages, it shows promise for being useful in fighting the effects of this disease. Pre-clinical trials have shown that turmeric may be effective at getting cancer to stop growing. It may also be helpful in terms of assisting with the management of side effects brought about by chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Continued research is needed to determine how useful turmeric may be for those suffering from various types of cancer.
Ulcerative colitis, as well as some other forms of the disease, is an inflammatory condition affecting the bowels. The effects of colitis come and go. When the condition is actively flaring up, the sufferer can experience a great deal of discomfort and pain. The anti-inflammatory components of turmeric can help make managing this condition much easier.
While there are various forms of depression, the more common types are thought to be related in some manner to inflammation in the body and brain. This can lead to bothersome symptoms such as sadness, loss of appetite, and irritability. The active anti-inflammatory compounds in curcumin could help manage these symptoms more effectively.
Alzheimer’s disease is a serious problem resulting in inflammation within the brain. It can eventually lead to complete memory loss and severe repercussions. Turmeric can possible help reduce the accumulation of plaques within the brain that correlate to this condition. Turmeric can also help reduce the inflammation responsible for helping the disease to progress.
— Dr. David Samadi (@drdavidsamadi) October 19, 2017
About Dr. David Samadi
Dr. David Samadi currently serves as the Chairman of Urology at Lenox Hill Hospital. As a board-certified urologist, Dr. David Samadi specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer. Today’s surgical advancements and technologies allow Dr. David Samadi to perform surgical interventions to treat these conditions laparoscopically or using the help of robotic machines. These procedures can mean smaller surgical incisions and a faster healing time for the majority of his patients.
Dr. David Samadi also has an excellent academic record. He performed his fellowship training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where he put his focus on learning to successfully treat prostate, bladder, and testicular cancers. Dr. David Samadi is chair of the American Urologic Association and continues to lend his vast experience and expertise to eradicating diseases of the male urinary tract one patient at a time, with the help of advanced technology and scientific improvements.
More people than ever before are looking into natural and holistic ways to manage health problems and increase their overall well-being. While there is certainly a time and place for standard medical intervention, natural remedies appeal to many individuals because of their safety record and efficacy at promoting health without side effects. Herbs and spices such as Turmeric can provide a number of health-promoting benefits while even lessening the bothersome effects of some existing health conditions. Best of all, putting these natural substances to use in our everyday life is as easy as cooking up a satisfying and warming curry dish for dinner.
Read more about Dr. David Samadi: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/dr-david-samadi