Inflammation Is Holding You Back
Everyone suffers from some degree of inflammation. Everyone. Unmanaged inflammation can have severe effects on your energy levels, body composition, cognitive performance and overall well being.
In short, inflammation is keeping you from being as awesome as you could be.
Reducing inflammation as much as possible should be a top priority in any diet or lifestyle system sincerely aiming for optimal performance and vibrant health.
Inflammation is a ubiquitous process in the body. It’s evolutionary purpose was primarily to protect damaged tissues against further injury. In our modern world, however, inflammatory pathways are constantly over-stimulated by environmental toxins, poor diet and stress. The result if that low-to-moderate chronic inflammation is as common as having 10 fingers.
Turmeric: Nature’s Anti-Inflammatory Powerhouse
The anti-inflammatory power of turmeric comes from one compound in particular called curcumin which is an antioxidant that demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties in conditions such as arthritis, muscle sprains and other injuries. The list of benefits from consuming curcumin is impressive.
Studies have shown curcumin to have anti-tumor and anti-oxidant activity in addition to its powerful anti-inflammatory effects. The anti-inflammatory action of curcumin comes from it’s ability to inhibit the body’s production of pro-inflammatory signaling compounds called eicosanoids.
Using turmeric to slow the body’s production of eicosanoids brings their levels in the body back to normal levels and as a result, chronic systemic inflammation in the body decreases significantly. In addition, turmeric may prevent and slow cancer growth, protect against liver disease and help reduce symptoms of digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Raw Turmeric or Powdered?
Perhaps the only real drawback to using turmeric on a daily basis is that it can be fairly complicated to deal with. Neither raw turmeric root nor turmeric powder are particularly convenient, particularly if you want to take large doses.
In powdered or raw root form, turmeric is also very poorly absorbed by the body – so to get truly effective doses of turmeric in your system, extracts are a much better choice.
Turmeric extracts simplify the process tremendously, but many fail to address the problem of poor absorbtion. Others contain only one of the beneficial compounds found in whole turmeric root, which means you miss a lot of the potential benefits that can be delivered by turmeric.
While simply adding turmeric to your daily cooking will increase consumption and enhance flavor, there are other methods to boost intake and encourage possible inflammation reduction.
While the use of turmeric in traditional Asian cooking, such as curries, is common in the kitchen, a hot beverage is another way to enjoy the spice and treat potential inflammation. To make a pot of turmeric tea, simply boil 4 cups of water and add one teaspoon of ground turmeric. Simmer for 10 minutes before straining into a cup. Add lemon or honey to taste. Adding ginger provides an additional natural anti-inflammatory.
Rub Some In
Another method for addressing inflammation with turmeric involves a topical application. Turmeric powder mixed with ingredients such as warm water, warm milk or sesame oil creates a paste that, when applied to the skin, helps to reduce inflammation and swelling. In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric paste is often used to cleanse wounds, reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Avoid the Taste
If the taste of turmeric is not appealing, dietary supplements offer another method of increasing turmeric consumption to aid in the reduction of inflammation. Director of integrative medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York, Dr. Minerva Santos, recommends 1,000 milligrams of turmeric supplements per day for patients suffering from joint inflammation, while the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends 400 to 600 milligrams three times a day. Turmeric supplements are available in tablets or capsules.
When to Avoid
While small quantities of turmeric in general cooking are considered safe, larger doses can pose risks for people with certain medical conditions or who are taking certain medications. Before adding increased quantities or turmeric to your diet or taking dietary supplements, talk with your physician about any possible complications. Large amounts of turmeric can cause stomach upset and ulcers. Turmeric can cause a drop in blood sugar levels when taken with diabetic medications, as well as interfere with blood clotting in patients taking warfarin or similar medications.
- Always consult with your physician before beginning any supplementation or dietary regiment to ensure that you have no pre-existing conditions that may be worsened by your turmeric consumption. Excessive intake of turmeric has been associated with complications of several medications and treatments.
- Do not apply turmeric paste over broken skin as this may increase the risk of infections.
- It is possible to use the powdered spice and not the supplemental extract, however, it is impossible to ascertain the total amount of the active ingredient, curcumin, you are consuming.