Turmeric powder has long been used as a tasty spice in South Asian cuisines. But it also offers numerous health benefits, from calming an upset stomach to preventing dangerous neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. While turmeric can sometimes taste a little bitter and unpleasant in its raw form, there are many ways you can incorporate this powerful antioxidant into your daily diet and health routine.
Turmeric is extracted from the root of the turmeric plant. The turmeric plant is a close relative of ginger and the root can also be eaten raw, albeit with a bitter taste. You should aim to consume between 1.5 and 3 grams of root per day.
Turmeric is mostly sold in powder form. You should be taking around 400 to 600 mg three times a day. You can add it to sauces, soups, or drinks like milk or tea. For turmeric tea, boil a cup of water and dissolve 2 grams of turmeric powder in it. You can also add some lemon, honey, and ginger to enhance the flavor. If tea isn’t one of your favorite beverages, add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of milk instead to add antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
In the form of a tincture, all of the benefits of turmeric root are delivered in a liquid. You can simply add 2-3 drops of a turmeric tincture to water, tea, soup, or any other liquid you consume daily. You can get turmeric tincture at most health stores or in the vitamins section of your supermarket/drugstore.
If you’ve sustained cuts or burns, a paste can be the best way to reap the health benefits of turmeric since you can apply it directly to the affected area. Mix water, turmeric powder and ginger powder together. Use a clean, sterile spatula or brush to apply the paste to the injured area. If you plan to use your hands, remember to wash them before applying. Leave the paste on for a few hours. To heal minor burns, you can apply turmeric along with aloe vera. Mix together equal parts turmeric powder and aloe vera to make a potent paste.
Turmeric is also available in capsule form. The dose can vary depending on the product, but one tablet is usually 350 mg. You should take between one and three pills a day. If you suffer from an upset stomach, you can take a higher dose (three tablets). You can find the pills in the vitamins section of your supermarket or drug store.
While turmeric has tremendous health benefits for most healthy patients, do not exceed the recommended dose or you may experience an upset stomach. Talk to your doctor about how much turmeric to include in your daily diet.
While normal amounts of turmeric in food should be perfectly fine, you should not take supplemental turmeric in tablet or liquid form.
If you are experiencing unusual blood sugar levels, you should consult a doctor before starting a turmeric cycle. Turmeric can lower blood sugar levels. So if you suffer from low blood sugar, you should avoid taking medicinal turmeric. Turmeric can also interact with prescription diabetes medications.
If you are taking medication to control your stomach acids – such as Pepcid®, Zantac®, or Prilosec® – then you should avoid taking turmeric as it can interfere with the effects of these medications.
If your gallbladder is healthy, turmeric can help regulate the amount of bile it produces. However, if you have problems with your gallbladder, turmeric can have a negative impact on it, which can lead to gallstones or bile duct blockage.
Turmeric contains a powerful element called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to calm an upset stomach through its effects on the gallbladder. By stimulating the gallbladder to produce more bile, curcumin can improve digestion and relieve symptoms of gastric bloating.
Curcumin is also an effective anti-inflammatory. As such, it can relieve a variety of ailments, from arthritis and psoriasis to chronic neck or back pain. Curcumin prevents the activation of COX-2 genes, which produce enzymes that can lead to painful inflammation.
Turmeric has powerful antibacterial properties that can help heal cuts and protect them from infection.
Heart disease is often caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries that lead to the heart. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric improve blood circulation while keeping arteries clear of plaque. By using turmeric to improve your blood circulation, you reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
While there are no definitive studies on turmeric’s role as an anticancer agent, preliminary results suggest that turmeric may slow or prevent the formation of cancer cells in the colon, prostate, and lungs. The population of India has one of the lowest rates of cancer in these organs (thirteen times lower than, for example, in the United States). Many researchers believe that spices like turmeric in curry dishes are responsible for this low rate. The powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are considered by many scientists to be helpful in preventing cancer. Inflammation is often a factor in the development of cancerous tumor cells. Don’t try to cure cancer with natural vitamins and herbs alone. If you have cancer, be sure to work with an oncologist on your treatment.
Many doctors compare turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to over-the-counter nonsteroidal pain relievers. Turmeric has far fewer risks and side effects than these drugs. Be careful not to confuse the curcumin in turmeric with cumin (another name for cumin), the spice. These are two completely different things and you will not get the same health benefits from taking cumin as you would from taking turmeric.
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