Superfood Spotlight: Turmeric

Turmeric is no longer a simple spice added to curries. You can find this amazing herb at every health food and supplement store. It is now sold in various packages, by different brands all over the world. Why are so many people getting excited about turmeric?

Studies show many Canadians are suffering from pain, inflammation and stiffness throughout their workday. Adding some turmeric to the daily routine may be helpful in alleviating pain and improving the inflammatory response in the body. This is important to note- inflammation reduction is not only important in managing pain but can also be key to addressing autoimmune conditions (like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) and other skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Turmeric, also known as curcuma longa, is a member of the ginger family and is native to India and China. It grows to a height of about 3 feet and it cultivated for the medical value of its roots, which can also be used to flavour and colour food. Curries get their bright yellow/orange hue from turmeric. You will also notice when handling turmeric it can quickly stain or hands or clothes if you are not careful!

Turmeric can be found as:

  • Powder
  • Capsules
  • Fresh Root

 

What it Does 

Turmeric has been used for centuries in India and has been traditionally prescribed for the treatment of bad eyesight, rheumatism, arthritis and liver problems. To date, many studies have now been performed with turmeric via test tubes, animals and humans. These studies have shown that turmeric may be effective for the following conditions:

 

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Indigestion
  • Acid Re-flux
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Heart Disease
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Bacterial and Viral Infections

 

How is Turmeric Used?

Turmeric can be incorporated into daily cooking, but is best absorbed into the body when combined with a fat (like olive oil or coconut oil) and a little bit of pepper. As mentioned above turmeric can also be found in higher doses contained capsules, which may be a more effective way to manage pain or other chronic inflammatory issues.  Speak to your medical or naturopathic doctor if you are interested in using turmeric.

 

Precautions

Turmeric in food is generally considered safe.

Taking large amounts of turmeric for long periods of time may cause stomach upset and, in extreme cases, ulcers. People who have gallstones or obstruction of the bile passages should be cautious when taking turmeric.

Additionally, because turmeric may increase the metabolism of liver enzymes, taking turmeric while taking other medications metabolized by the liver may change the concentration of these medications in the body. As always, it is best to speak with a professional before using new herbs or supplements.

Have you had benefit by using turmeric in  your diet? I would love to hear from you. Let me know your comments below!

Dr. Emily

 

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