Donegal Nutritionist Sorcha McElchar from Sorchas Healthy Living looks at the many benefits of turmeric and how to add more to your diet.
Over the years the many amazing health benefits of turmeric have been highlighted and studied, so how you can include turmeric in your diet to improve your health!
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that gives it its vibrant, yellow colour and it is also seen to be the main active ingredient in turmeric that gives all the amazing health benefits.
Turmeric is a proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, but is it just the curcumin in the turmeric doing all this?
The normal turmeric you get as a powder in the supermarket has over 300 different components including curcumin. One study used turmeric with the Curcumin removed and found that it still exhibited anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-Diabetic properties. This shows that the other components in turmeric other than Curcumin offer those health benefits.
One of the main health benefits turmeric is spotlighted for is for its Chemo preventative properties. Chemo preventative agents are usually derived from plants and unlike Chemotherapy, which is used to treat Cancer, they kill the Cancer and prevent it from growing. Chemo preventatives like turmeric are inexpensive, easily available and have no or very limited toxicity levels when compared to Chemotherapy. Also, as the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure”.
But is turmeric proven to prevent cancer? The National Cancer Institute has tested over 1000 different potential Chemo preventative substances since 1969, and only 40 showed any promise and moved on to clinical trials. One of them was Curcumin, one of the active ingredients in turmeric.
To show you how effective Curcumin alone is, Chemo preventatives are categorized into three subcategories.
- Carcinogen blocking agent
Curcumin is all three of these, so it’s powerful stuff! It basically plays a role in blocking Cancer at every stage.
You may think to avail of these health benefits you need to consume turmeric or Curcumin supplements. This is not necessarily true!
There are studies that show turmeric to be more effective than supplements or Curcumin supplements in preventing several different Cancer including Colon Cancer and breast cancer.
Of course, turmeric has other proven health benefits aside from Cancer prevention. It is a strong anti-inflammatory so any disease caused by inflammation such as Heart Disease, Metabolic syndrome, or Alzheimer’s. It also helps ease the painful symptoms of Arthritis. One study showed it to be more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
Now for the not so good possible side effects you might encounter if you go a little overboard with the turmeric….
Taking turmeric in large doses can lead to
- Acid reflux
- Upset stomach
Some other things you should know about turmeric is that it acts as a blood thinner. So, if you have any bleeding disorders or are on blood thinners you should maybe avoid turmeric, or talk with your doctor before using it.
Turmeric can interact negatively with certain medications.
- Blood thinners
- Heard medication
Also, VERY IMPORTANT for Diabetics taking Diabetic medication. Turmeric interacts with Diabetic medication and can cause you to take a hypoglycaemic event.
It can also limit iron absorption and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding you can take turmeric but avoid turmeric or curcumin supplements.
In conclusion, the best way to include turmeric in your diet safely, and to avail of all the health benefits is to use it in your cooking! You can add it to curries, kormas, soups, scrambled eggs, omelettes, toss it in your vegetables, and mix some in with your rice. When I have a bad cough, I mix 1 tsp of turmeric with 1 tsp of honey and add it to warm (not boiling) water and drink it as a tea. I feel it really helps with a dry, tickly cough. You could also add it to a smoothie.
Check out my Blog www.sorchashealthyliving.com for some easy to follow Recipe ideas, and if you would like a more personalised one-to-one service check out my service page where I offer Nutrition Consultation, Nutrition Packages and Personalised Nutrition Plans.Tags: