Supplement Spotlight: Turmeric (+ Curcumin)

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I’m back with another supplement spotlight! This time I wanted to write about an increasingly popular supplement: turmeric. Turmeric has been gaining traction for years now – and rightfully so – and is often touted for it’s inflammation modulating abilities.

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family (also called Curcuma longa) and has been used for nearly 4,000 years. Over 3,000 scientific studies have been completed on turmeric and over 100 different compounds in turmeric have been isolated so far (source). One of the most popular compounds, curcumin, has been found to be extremely beneficial in most instances.

So, we have turmeric, which is the plant and curcumin, which is the active component and antioxidant in turmeric that provides benefit to the body. Turmeric naturally contains about 3% of curcumin, which is a relatively low amount. Further, curcumin is poorly absorbed by the body without piperine, most commonly found in black pepper. Piperine helps to enhance the absorption of curcumin by 2000% in the body (source)! WOW! Talk about a powerful combination.

Curcuminoids are the bioactive compounds in turmeric that provide most of the health benefits. Curcimin is the most abundant and best researched curcminoid, which is why turmeric is often referred to as curcumin.

Now that we are more informed about what turmeric and curcumin are we can learn what the benefits are. While often touted for modulating inflammation, curcumin can also help to:

    reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
    improve memory
    protect the brain from damage caused by heavy metals
    help in the fight against Alzheimer’s

Inflammation is responsible for so many modern diseases and is exacerbated by a diet rich in processed foods, sugar and refined carbohydrates. Environmental factors like pollution, chemicals and endocrine disrupters can also create more inflammation.

Not all inflammation is created equally – some inflammation is good and even necessary for healing the body! Inflammation can send out a signal to the body to bring white blood cells to fight off infection, bacteria and inflammation. While we do need some inflammation, the issue is when inflammation produces free radicals in our bodies that damage cells and tissues that in turn promotes even more disease and aging.

Not cool. Inflammation can be the catalyst for a whole host of issues like heart disease, metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Good news though, curcumin has been studied as a replacement for ibuprofen in reducing inflammation in the body and has been found to be just as effective (source)! This is huge information!!

Curcumin also acts as an antioxidant in the body and scavenges free radicals, has antibacterial properites, can help to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and have positive effects on the immune system.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Turmeric and curcumin are hugely beneficial. So how do we incorporated more of it into our diets?

One word: CURRY! Okay, that’s not entirely true. Curries that contain turmeric are awesome sources of curcumin, especially since traditional curries include either full-fat cream or coconut milk which contain fat and actually help the curcumin be absorbed even better into the body! Win-win! I have a few curry recipes like my Emerald Green Chicken Curry and my Creamy Curry Sauce that would be excellent options. You can also use curry powder on any roasted veggies or meat that you like!

Another awesome way to consume turmeric is in a golden milk latte: turmeric, coconut milk, black pepper and sweetener of your choice. I have an awesome recipe here. What’s better than a comforting and healing, good for you drink? Not much!

I hope this inspires you to make more room for turmeric in your life! I have linked my favorite turmeric products above in the appropriate sections and absolutely love these products! Here are the products I use:

  • for an ibuprofen substitute and muscle soreness from working out I use Gaia Turmeric Supreme
  • for a curcumin pain relieving supplement I love using Jarrow Formulas Curcumin 95 because it contains such a high amount of curcumin and is a clean supplement with very little additives. I use this when I am in a lot of pain – whether it’s my chronic disc injury or I way over did it in the gym, this is my go-to.
  • for a turmeric powder that I can use to cook with and for making golden milk I love Anthony’s Turmeric Powder because it comes in bulk and is Certified Organic!
  • My all-time favorite curry powder is Primal Palate Organic Curry Powder. It’s all organic, a family run small business and tastes so good!!

Do you already incorporate it? If so, tell me your favorite way to consume it in the comments!!

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