Turmeric has been used in the Indian subcontinent for centuries before it was discovered by the West. It had an important place in both traditional medicine as well as in the kitchen. Indian grandmothers were just as likely to add a dash of turmeric to their curries as they were to prescribe it to grandchildren when they had a cold. But just how potent this spice is wasn’t fully known until modern scientific research studied its effects. Turmeric, it appears, is powerful against everything from aging to cancer. With all this hype around turmeric, you might be naturally curious to give it a try. But if you’re a little confused as to how to use it and in which form, here are a few pointers.
What Makes Turmeric So Powerful?
Turmeric contains hundreds of different compounds and nutrients, but it is best known for the antioxidant circumin. Curcumin gives turmeric its sunshine yellow color and is responsible for most of its health benefits.
Using Turmeric For Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural reaction by your body when it is harmed in some way. When you scrape your knee for example, the area around the cut gets swollen for a while. This is essential for the area to heal and repair itself. Inflammation that occurs due to an external injury is known as acute inflammation and isn’t dangerous. However, if inflammatory hormones are constantly being circulated in your body, this can cause damage to your organs and joints. Chronic inflammation occurs over a long period of time and results in diseases like arthritis and even acne.
Turmeric is a natural way to bring down chronic inflammation. Because it contains powerful antioxidants, it can protect cell walls from damage and suppress the production of inflammatory hormones. It reduces the symptoms of chronic inflammation
How Should You Use Turmeric?
Today, turmeric is available in the form of a powder, as a whole root and as a supplement. While the compounds are the same in all three forms, concentration of circumin is different in each. For example, 1 tsp of turmeric powder contains 15 mg of circumin, but 1 turmeric supplement contains 500 mg of it. Turmeric root is the most unprocessed form of turmeric and looks like a yellow ginger root. You can buy turmeric root at a natural food store and crush it yourself to make a powder. If you’re simply trying to include more antioxidants in your diet, then you can add some turmeric powder to your everyday recipes. However, if you’re trying to use turmeric to treat an existing condition, concentrated turmeric supplements are your best bet.
When Should You Not Use Turmeric?
While turmeric is a powerful spice, it isn’t safe for everyone. Avoid taking concentrated forms of turmeric when you’re pregnant as it can increase your risk of a miscarriage. Don’t take supplements even if you’re trying to conceive as it could make things more difficult for you. People with a gall bladder disease or who have gallstones should stay away from high amounts of turmeric. If you’re on blood thinners like aspirin or are going to undergo surgery soon, avoid turmeric because it could make you bleed heavily. If you’re under heavy medication for diabetes, turmeric supplements could lower your blood sugar levels. Turmeric could also interfere with iron absorption, so don’t use it if you’re anemic.