What is Turmeric and Why Do People Take It?

What is Turmeric and Why Do People Take It?

Turmeric has a long history of use as a spice and medicinal herb. 

The Ayurvedic tradition in India has been using it for thousands of years. Modern science is starting to catch up to this ancient wisdom and more and more people everyday are taking turmeric as a supplement.

Let's take a closer look at what turmeric is and why people take it.

The Health Benefits of Turmeric

Before we dive into the myriad health benefits of turmeric, let's look at what exactly it is.

Turmeric is the spice that gives curry it's yellow appearance. It contains compounds with medicinal properties called curcuminoids, the most important of those being curcumin, of which you've probably heard.

Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. 

However it should be noted that just eating the spice on food is not enough to replicate the benefits that studies have found. In most of these studies, the researchers are using curcumin extract that is more concentrated than what you would find just in the spice itself.

So now that we have a baseline understanding of what turmeric is, and what curcumin does, let's look at some health benefits.

Turmeric Is Anti-Inflammatory

As we briefly touched on earlier, turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory.

Inflammation in the short-term, acute sense, is actually quite beneficial. We need it to fight infections, stave of disease, and repair ourselves from hard training.

When inflammation becomes chronic however, we have a problem. Science is starting to tell us that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a role in a host of the most prevalent diseases in modern culture, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and more.

Left unchecked, it's a big damn problem.

To even further stack the deck, our modern lifestyles (especially in the West) are fertilizer for this type of inflammation. We eat poor diets, we have massive amounts of daily stress, we don't move enough, and we spend the majority of our day indoors.

All of that is a problem.

However, the curcumin found in turmeric is such a powerful anti-inflammatory substance that some studies have found it to be just as powerful as drugs, without the side-effects.

How To Choose a Turmeric Supplement

Earlier we briefly touched on turmeric not being enough to reap the rewards of the curcumin locked inside.

On top of that, curcumin is not easily absorbed. To be at it's best, curcumin needs a little helper - black pepper.

Black pepper contains piperine, a natural substance which increases the absorption of curcumin by a massive 2,000 percent.

So, when you are looking for a curcumin supplement, make sure it also has piperine in it to help with absorption.

Curcumin is also fat soluble, so ingesting some good fats with your supplement might be ideal as well. A spoon full of coconut oil usually does the trick.

The unfortunate reality of our modern lives is living with a chronic, low-level inflammation always humming in the background. This is a massive contributing factor to our modern diseases. 

A daily dose of a turmeric supplement is a must, along with other strategies, both dietary and lifestyle driven, to combat the inflammation epidemic. 

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