Every now and then, you find a supplement that checks all your boxes. With so many scientifically-backed health benefits, Turmeric might be your next go-to solution.
Turmeric, formally known as Curcuma longa, has been used for thousands of years and is especially valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine. Often used in Indian dishes to provide color and taste, its beautiful yellow color and flavor have given it a seat at the culinary table. However, there’s much more beneath the surface of this important herb.
Turmeric’s use in medicine has been appreciated for centuries in the East, and now, the West is catching up. With new science supporting the health benefits of turmeric, we now know that its active compounds, called curcumins, can help support a healthy immune response and help maintain overall health and vitality.REF#2499
We’ll talk about what Turmeric is, how the body uses it, and how to add a turmeric supplement to your daily wellness routine.
What is Turmeric?
This flowering plant is a member of the ginger family and is native to certain parts of Asia, particularly India, and its rhizomes are used in cooking (often alongside curry powder). The rhizomes are typically boiled and dried, then ground into turmeric powder for use as a spice for cooking, as Turmeric tea, or to be used in Turmeric-based medicinal supplements.
Eight Health Benefits of Turmeric
The active ingredients inside Turmeric, known as curcuminoids, account for its ability to help support certain bodily functions and provide health benefits. We’ll go over eight of the benefits here.
1. Knocks Out Oxidative Stress
Your cells are foundational to your health and are under continual attack by free radicals. Free radicals are unbalanced molecules released by the body when we’re exposed to external stressors like UV rays, cigarette smoke, pollution, and even some household cleaning products.
Free radicals cause oxidative stress on the cells, and oxidative stress can cause damage that is replicated over to new cells when they proliferate. This can lead to long-term health consequences if not properly managed.
Antioxidants can help protect cells from oxidative stress, and Turmeric is a good source of antioxidants.REF#2500 Turmeric’s antioxidant properties are the main source of its most celebrated benefits.
Unfortunately, Turmeric by itself isn’t readily absorbed by the body. It also metabolizes quickly and is rapidly eliminated.REF#2499
As such, other compounds are often added to increase its bioavailability. One promising compound is piperine, the active compound in black pepper.REF#2499 This is why you’ll find most curcumin supplements contain black pepper as a complementary ingredient.
2. Supports Workout Recovery
We’ve all experienced delayed onset muscle soreness, or “DOMS.” This condition can happen a day or two after a particularly grueling workout. Muscles get sore as lactic acid builds up, and we might even decide to skip a future workout to rest.
Turmeric is here to come to the rescue! The antioxidant content in Turmeric can help support your muscles both during and after a workout, easing soreness and helping you feel better prepared for another lifting session, run, or yoga class.REF#2499
Try It: You can add a little post-workout Turmeric to your recovery routine by trying this Brightened-Up Mango Turmeric Smoothie recipe. Add in a scoop of your favorite protein powder for added protein, and it makes for a delicious and nourishing post-workout drink.
3. Supports A Healthy Heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Americans.REF#2502 Supporting heart health is vital, and taking a Turmeric supplement can be a convenient way to support proper heart function.REF#2499
This is because Turmeric’s antioxidants can help support healthy metabolic function REF#2499
Dysregulated metabolic function can present as:
- High blood pressure
- Unhealthy blood sugar levels
- Excess weight
- Unhealthy cholesterol levels
These factors combined can result in metabolic syndrome, a precursor to cardiovascular disease and blood vessel diseases. Supporting your heart includes eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of exercise, and being selective about the supplements you take.
One of the most promising effects of curcumin is its ability to support these metabolic functions, helping stabilize them and encourage homeostasis.REF#2499
4. Soothes Joint Discomfort
Whether you overdid it playing pickleball or suffer from frequent joint aches when it rains, Turmeric can give you relief. Not only can Turmeric support healthy joint function, but in controlled trials, results suggest that it may alleviate local discomfort by soothing stiffness and supporting physical function.REF#2499
5. Nourishes Your Liver
Proper liver function is essential to overall health, as your liver helps remove waste products, processes various nutrients, and aids in the absorption of vitamins. Turmeric extract, tea, and spice can help encourage healthy liver function. REF#2503
6. Provides Relief For Muscle Soreness
We all overdo it sometimes. Whether you lifted something you shouldn’t have or you’re just experiencing the effects of normal wear and tear, Turmeric may be able to help. Turmeric is revered for its ability to reduce occasional discomfort.REF#2499
7. Supports Your Immune System
One of the most beneficial effects of Turmeric is its ability to support the body’s natural immune response. When your immunity is down, you may feel like you catch every cold and illness that goes around the office. Traditional medicine has relied on Turmeric root for centuries as a defense against minor illnesses, sneezes, and sniffles.REF#2499
8. Helps Clear the Sinuses
When congestion hits, you want relief fast. Take care of your sinuses and breathe easy with Turmeric. Because of its antioxidant and cleansing properties, Turmeric can help ease symptoms of nasal congestion REF#2504
How Can You Include Turmeric in Your Diet?
Enjoying the support of Turmeric doesn’t always mean taking a capsule-styled supplement.
Looking for inspirational ways to add Turmeric to your daily wellness routine? Try one of these delicious options:
- Pumpkin Chia Pudding. Perfect for a snack or for breakfast, you can get high doses of omega-3 fatty acids from the chia and flax seeds and plenty of potassium from the pumpkin, along with the Turmeric in our Turmeric Boost ® Uplift powder.
- Sunset Raspberry Peach Smoothie. This delicious post-workout drink can help you cool down and stay energized even on hot days.
- Traditional Golden Milk. This recipe combines Gaia’s Golden Milk powder, which contains Turmeric, Ashwagandha, Dates, and spices, to make a traditional, warming drink that has been consumed for centuries.
Psst: We have several other recipes with Turmeric in our recipe index.
It’s important to add here that if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have a pre-existing medical condition, you should consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian (RDN) before adding any new supplement to your routine. While the side effects of turmeric are few and uncommon, stop taking the supplement if you notice any discomfort.
Turmeric For All
For its ability to support your wellness, add protection against certain health conditions, and offer intense flavor and color to your dishes, Turmeric gets a perfect score. As with most herbs, you can incorporate it daily for the most benefit.
Grab your Turmeric, and hit the road (or the trail — or wherever your day takes you!) with the support you need to live every day to the fullest.
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