An Ode To Turmeric
An ancient spice with healing properties
Turmeric has been particularly popular in the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years as a spice as well as a medicinal herb with unparalleled healing properties. It is the spice that gives Indian curries their characteristic yellow color and is also used as a food dye. Many Asian cultures have made use of this magical root for flavoring, and to treat digestive problems, inflammation, and chronic pain. Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient Indian holistic perspective on health dating back 3000 thousand years, considers turmeric to be beneficial to both, the brain and body.
Though turmeric has many uses in traditional medicine, it’s been widely used in treating gut-related issues. What is it about this root from the ginger family that makes it so gut-friendly? Let’s start by first looking at its properties.
Turmeric Properties & Curcumin
Turmeric is an aromatic spice possessing a powerhouse of healing properties. It can be beneficial as an antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-microbial, antitumor, antiviral, anti-allergic, radioprotective, cardioprotective, and anti-inflammatory.
Its real claim to fame is that it contains the active compound and superstar antioxidant called curcumin. This substance is what gives the spice its bright yellow color. Curcumin is not only an antioxidant by nature, it also has the spectacular ability to increase the body’s production of antioxidants.
Studies conducted in 2017 noted that this nutrient can help in relieving inflammatory and oxidative issues, particularly when combined with black pepper. Another research review conducted in the same year asserted the potential of curcumin-centered treatments in alleviating certain inflammatory conditions.
Turmeric For Better Digestion
This golden spice can help the digestive system at various junctures.
Turmeric is good for the stomach in many ways. It prevents the creation of certain stomach-damaging enzymes while helping secrete more stomach mucous. The healthier the secretion of the stomach mucous, the better it can be protected from gastric acid.
Turmeric’s active biochemical compound, curcumin smooths, strengthens and relaxes the intestinal wall muscles and aids in softly pushing food through it. Simultaneously, it discourages the formation of gas and prevents bloating.
Turmeric helps the colon by promoting the growth of good bacteria. Its key active compound, curcumin does a great job of balancing gut bacteria with the immune system response. It does so by encouraging surface glands to heal and regenerate in the presence of pathogenic bacteria.
Digestive Conditions that can be improved with curcumin
The reason why turmeric is hailed as a potent digestive supplement is that it suppresses inflammation. Studies suggest that consuming curcumin regularly can help patients with ulcerative colitis while taking proper treatment.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
It can also be greatly beneficial for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes a variety of digestive issues including bloating, nausea, stomach aches, constipation, and diarrhea.
Most of the IBS symptoms can be effectively calmed down with the use of turmeric. In fact, this spice is ideal for an IBS sufferer to try this yellow spice and see if it suits them. Since curcumin reduces excess stomach spasms and movement, it acts as an intestinal pacifier, which is what IBS patients primarily require.
According to a small study conducted in 2016, consuming curcumin alongside fennel essential oil for a month can make considerable improvements in IBS patients. A large-scale study is, however, required to establish this finding.
In addition to its many benefits, this turmeric contains minerals, vitamins, and special compounds that act against inflammation.
Nausea is another condition that turmeric can help with. Though it is difficult to figure out what is causing nausea – and it may just be caused by allergies or food poisoning – the use of turmeric may help alleviate this symptom to some extent. This is so because this turmeric fights viruses, inflammation, as well as bacteria, which are the most common causes of nausea.
Turmeric has special phytochemicals, which are rich in antibacterial and antioxidative properties. These naturally-occurring chemicals also offer neuroprotective properties that may relieve nausea-causing mental states such as stress and anxiety.
Turmeric can be beneficial in treating the occasional stomach aches, which often result from eating inappropriate food combinations. Curcumin’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties lend themselves well to relieving pain caused by the lack of exercise, consumption of excess alcohol, and spicy foods. This is so because turmeric contains compounds that assist digestion, preventing your stomach from secreting more gas-releasing acids.
The World Health Organization has encouraged the use of turmeric in treating flatulence, functional dyspepsia, and acid reflux. This spice, if incorporated into your daily diet, can be an incredible supplement that prevents the development of unfavorable intestinal conditions. The WHO recommends taking 1.4 mg of turmeric per pound (0–3 mg/kg) of body weight.
Making turmeric part of your diet
You can use turmeric as a natural dye to add color to your food. You can also use it to brighten up your eggs and baked foods such as cakes, bread, tarts, and cookies. If you can’t find turmeric powder in its pure, plain form then you can give curry powder a try. The latter combines turmeric with other beneficial spices like cumin, coriander, and dried chilies.
If you want to make the most of curcumin’s antioxidant benefits then combine turmeric with black pepper. This will drastically improve your body’s ability to absorb curcumin.
Turmeric is ideal for the cooking process. This is so because heat multiplies the nutritional benefits of curcumin and makes it far more absorbable for your body.