Heart of Gold: Turmeric vs. Exercise

How To Take Turmeric & What Are Its Benefits?

 

Many papers suggest turmeric can benefit a multitude of health conditions and has few downsides at culinary doses. I’d suggest trying to find ways to incorporate turmeric into your daily diet.

 

What Is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice that’s part of the ginger family and can be purchased fresh or powdered. It contains curcumin, the pigment that gives curry powder its characteristic golden color.

 

Benefits Of Turmeric

Turmeric or turmeric components may be beneficial to preventing or treating a multitude of health conditions, including:

Certain Cancers

Including multiple myeloma and cancers of the breast, brain, blood, colon, kidney, liver, pancreas, and skin

Since 1987, the National Cancer Institute has tested more than a thousand different compounds for chemopreventive, or cancer-preventing, activity. Only a few dozen have made it to clinical trials, and curcumin, turmeric’s bright-yellow pigment, is among the most promising. 

Check out my video Back to Our Roots: Curry & Cancer.

Brain Disease

An exciting case series was published in 2012 (highlighted in my video, Treating Alzheimer’s with Turmeric): three Alzheimer’s patients were treated with turmeric, and their symptoms improved.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Curcumin has been proven to be more effective in alleviating pain from rheumatoid arthritis compared to the leading drug of choice—all without any apparent adverse side effects. Learn more on this in my video Turmeric Curcumin & Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

The yellow pigment curcumin in the spice turmeric may work as well as, or better than, anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. I explore this in my video Turmeric Curcumin & Osteoarthritis.

Inflammatory conditions such as lupus

Turmeric decreases proteinuria, hematuria, and systolic blood pressure—the cardinal clinical manifestations—in patients suffering from relapsing or refractory, meaning untreatable—lupus nephritis: according to a randomized and double-blind placebo-controlled study that I discuss in Fighting Lupus with Turmeric.

Ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease

Ulcerative colitis is a debilitating, chronic, relapsing-remitting—meaning it comes and goes—inflammatory bowel disease that afflicts millions. Curcumin seems to be a promising and safe medication—no side effects at all reported—for maintaining remission in patients with quiescent ulcerative colitis, along with significant improvement in the endoscopic index. Learn more on this in my video Turmeric Curcumin & Ulcerative Colitis.

Turmeric may also help with:

  • Surgery recovery
  • Reversal of DNA damage caused by arsenic exposure

 

How To Take Turmeric

Add small amounts of turmeric to your smoothies, oatmeal, or any savory dish. Blend it with cashews, pitted dates, and water for an adventurous drink. Use it in curries and soups.

For recipes featuring turmeric, check out our Veggie Mac and Cheese, Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine, and Morning Grain Bowl.

 

How Much Turmeric Should I Take A Day?

I recommend a quarter teaspoon of turmeric daily. Combining this with just a pinch of black pepper boosts the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%. Learn more on how this boost works in my video Boosting the Bioavailability of Curcumin.

 

Side Effects Of Turmeric

Turmeric has myriad benefits, but there are some side effects to be aware of including:

  • DNA damage
  • Painful for contractions for those with gallstones
  • Kidney stones

I cover these in more detail in the FAQ What are the side effects of turmeric? and my video Who Shouldn’t Consume Curcumin or Turmeric?

 

In summary, those who are pregnant, have gallstones, or are susceptible to kidney stones may want to moderate their turmeric consumption. For everyone else, though, my Daily Dozen recommends at least ¼ teaspoon of turmeric a day so you can benefit from its antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and even neuroprotective properties.

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


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