Understanding the Healthful Properties of Turmeric
|By Petra Trudell, Managing Editor on Friday, January 31, 2014|
|If you haven't incorporated turmeric root into your daily routine yet, you're missing out
on some amazing health benefits.||
Turmeric is what we like to call a super root. This brightly colored root adds deep flavor to foods as well as nutritive benefits. If a jar of dried turmeric root isn't in your pantry or a bottle of this supplement isn't in your medicine cabinet, it's time to give it a try.
All About Turmeric
Native to India, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a root that is a member of the ginger family. The rhizome of the plant is what is used in cooking and in medicine, both raw and dry. While it's long been used for Indian cooking, this bright yellow-orange root gained greater popularity in the United States in the 1990s, when its nutritional benefits drew attention from Western physicians.
Popular Uses for Turmeric
The active compound within turmeric root that gives it its healthful benefits is called curcumin. Curcumin is a type of phenol that provides the bright color of turmeric. It's also an antioxidant -- antioxidants protect the cells from the damage of free radicals, which are the byproduct of energy production. When free radicals run rampant within the body, they can cause premature aging and weaken the immune system.
Curcumin is also a potent anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is a response to an injury or infection within the body. When the body is in distress, you can experience symptoms like pain, swelling, redness or warmth in an area. Inflammation can also cause rashes and other skin conditions. Controlling inflammation naturally with an herbal remedy like turmeric may help you cut back on medicines or other products that treat the symptoms of inflammation as opposed to the underlying cause.
Turmeric is especially helpful for inflammation in the tissues and joints, which has made it a popular natural remedy for rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory condition that causes the joints to become stiff with painful and limited range of motion. A 2006 study published in the medical journal Arthritis and rheumatism showed turmeric inhibited joint inflammation and destruction and warranted further investigation. A 2011 animal study published in Inflammation proved regular turmeric consumption was more effective than ginger in treating arthritis.
Getting More Turmeric
You can start adding more turmeric to your diet in the kitchen. Here are some suggestions:
Add some turmeric to your next green smoothie or juice.
Combine turmeric and honey in hot water.
Mix turmeric into stir fry or use it in a dry rub for meat, fish or tofu.
Season chickpeas with turmeric and other spices, like ginger and garlic and roast in the oven.
Next you can try a supplement. Turmeric supplements are available in many different strengths. Turmeric is also commonly combined with other anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger and holy basil for those inflammation reducing and antioxidant benefits.
Make sure to check with your doctor before adding any supplement to your routine, especially if you're pregnant, breastfeeding or being treated for a medical condition. If you're taking medication to thin the blood or reduce stomach acid, you shouldn't take a turmeric supplement without a doctor's approval.
Shop for turmeric supplements and more at eVitamins Canada and let us know how they work for you! Have a great weekend!
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