The Health Benefits of Turmeric

By Jenn Randazzo, MS RD on June 18, 2014, categorized in Endurance, Plant-based Nutrition

The Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric, a spice and member of the ginger family indigenous to Southeastern and Eastern Asia, continues to gain popularity for those seeking natural alternatives to managing inflammation. Although it’s been used for thousands of years as a traditional medicine, coloring agent and spice, it’s finally finding its way into medicine and pantry cabinets today.

Why eat turmeric? 

Although we know the active component in turmeric is curcumin, the substance that gives turmeric its yellow color, the exact modes of its actions are not yet fully understood. Most researchers agree that the basic mechanism of action within turmeric is its potent antioxidant action. Curcuminoids, phenolic compounds found in turmeric, seem to scavenge for damaging particles in the body known as free-radicals1, which can be caused by everything from aging, working out, exposure to environmental pollutants, dietary consumption of processed foods or cooking fats at too high of temperature.

Benefits of turmeric

While the full benefits of turmeric are still being explored, one major reason turmeric is touted as a natural powerhouse is because it provides potent antioxidants, like glutathione (GSH), Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), and Coenzyme Q10, that help fight inflammation and promote good health2. If you’re hoping to reduce inflammation in your body and destroy free radicals, you can benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric.

Turmeric for athletes

Competitive and recreational athletes can benefit from turmeric, and are encouraged to consume prior to and immediately following sport performance to manage inflammation. Consuming turmeric-containing Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer, or Vega Sport Sugar-Free Energizer before your workout and Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator after your workout, can proactively and reactively assist in managing inflammation.

Culinary uses of turmeric

Hesitant to add turmeric to your pantry? Don’t be! Whether you consume it raw, dried or in liquid form, you can easily incorporate turmeric into your current diet.  Some simple ways to incorporate more turmeric into your cooking include adding it to a smoothie, your favorite plant-based protein burger, a warm vegetable dish, and even a quick snack dip. Try eating turmeric with bromelain, an enzyme found in raw and juiced pineapple3. Doing so will not only enhance absorption of the turmeric, but also provide you with additional vitamin C.
So the next time you’re at the supermarket, cruise down the spice and supplement aisles for turmeric. Whether you take it orally in supplemental form or include it in your morning smoothie, you’ll get benefitting from turmeric’s antioxidative properties. It’s a spice and natural supplement that will both please your palate while promoting optimal wellness in your body.

 

References

  1. Jurkenka, J. (2009) Anti-inflammatory Properties of Curcumin, a Major Constituent Of Curcuma longa: A Review of Preclinical and Clinical Research. Alternative Medicine Review; 14:2. 141-154.
  2. Health Canada. (2012). Natural Health Products Database Monograph: Turmeric-oral. Accessed 6.15.14 from http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=216&lang=eng
  3. A complex of three natural anti-inflammatory agents provides relieve of osteoarthritis pain. Althern Ther Health Med; 20 Suppl 1:32-7.