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This Common Cooking Ingredient Is The World's Most Powerful Antioxidant

This Common Cooking Ingredient Is The World's Most Powerful Antioxidant

February 11, 2020

Aiwo

Turmeric is called the golden spice for good reason. This amazing root is a part of the perennial Curcuma longa family. Characterized by its bright yellow color, turmeric is now getting a lot of attention for its medicinal properties.

Though turmeric has been used for thousands of years in countries like India and China, it is only now being advocated as a miraculous alternative medicine for a variety of health conditions in all parts of the world.

If you want to know how much turmeric to take per day, the answer is simple. You can take anywhere from 500 mg to 2000 mg of turmeric in a day to obtain its benefits. However, the explanation does not stop here.

It is important to know the benefits and the side effects of turmeric and the right way to use it in your everyday life.

Where and how is turmeric grown?

There are different species of turmeric grown over the world. India tops the list by being the producer of about 45 different species of this plant. Thailand comes closely behind by producing up to 40 species. As the plant grows and matures, it develops an orange or yellow colored rhizome (an underground stem). This is raw turmeric. The rhizome is boiled, dried and then powdered to make turmeric powder that is globally available now.

Why should you consume turmeric?

The basic nutritional breakup of turmeric is as follows.

  • 60-70% of carbohydrates
  • 5-10% of proteins
  • 5-10% of fat
  • 3-7% of dietary minerals
  • 2-7% of dietary fiber
  • 1-6% of curcuminoids

Apart from these, turmeric rhizomes also contain certain amounts of essential oils and water. Out of the split up, the particular component that makes turmeric special is curcuminoid.

What are curcuminoids and curcumins?

Curcuminoid is a polyphenol (a type of micronutrient) that is majorly present in turmeric. One of the major compositions of curcuminoid is curcumin. Curcumin is the chemical that gives turmeric its bright yellow color and is highly researched to date for its varied health benefits.

Here are some scientific studies that prove the benefits of curcumin.

Curcumin and pancreatitis

This article published in 2017 concludes that consuming the right dosage of curcumin can help reduce the signs and symptoms of pancreatitis. In particular, curcumin seems to prevent oxidative stress, which leads to pancreatic problems.

Curcumin as an antioxidant

In this article, scientists concentrate on the antioxidant property of curcumin. This compound can fight free radicals in the atmosphere including reactive oxygen and nitrogen and hence protects the body from internal and external damage.

Curcumin for osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that results in inflammation and pain in the joints, especially on the wrists and knee. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, this article suggests that turmeric can help reduce pain and improve mobility in osteoporosis patients.

Curcumin for weight loss

In another clinical trial, about 120 individuals who had high BMI levels consumed supplements rich in curcumin for about three months. At the end of the study, their total cholesterol levels dropped by 32%.

Apart from these, here are a few other benefits noted of turmeric.

  • Helps improve the quality of life for people with chronic kidney disease.
  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems.
  • Has been proven to lower the risk of tumors, especially in the pancreas.
  • Helps the body manage insulin better.
  • Helps prevent acne and skin infections.

Now that you are convinced about the benefits of turmeric, here is some clarity on how to buy and use turmeric.

Things to keep in mind when you buy turmeric powder/extract

Cheaper turmeric powders may have very little actual turmeric and more yellow food coloring which will harm your system in the long run. Look for brands that offer quality turmeric powders and extracts that are processed hygienically.

  • Here are a few things you can look out for.
  • Always look for the 100% pure tag.
  • Check the ingredients to ensure there are no additives added.
  • Prefer buying organic turmeric.

Do not buy powders and extracts that come with added preservatives.

Easy ways to add turmeric to your everyday diet

Turmeric tea

Tea has become the staple beverage in families all over the world for its subtle taste and health properties. You can boost the health benefits of your cup of tea by adding a pinch of turmeric to the brew.

Golden milk

Golden milk is packaged as a miracle drink and is sold in supermarkets and drug stores worldwide. You can easily make golden milk at home. Add a pinch of turmeric and some honey to a glass of warm milk and drink it before hitting the bed. This also helps you sleep better.

Yellow pancakes/ dosas

Does your family enjoy pancakes and dosas? Add turmeric to the batter and make bright yellow food that is appetizing and healthy too.

Add a pinch to soups, stews, and curries

Turmeric does not add taste to your food. So you can go ahead and add some turmeric to whatever food you cook to get its benefits.

Curcumin supplements

For people who don’t cook often or cannot just remember to add this ingredient, curcumin supplements are available too. These supplements come with the exact amount of curcumin your body needs in a day and all you have to do is pop the pills.

Here are two things to look out for when you buy curcumin supplements.

Opt for piperine enriched curcumin

When you buy curcumin supplements, ensure you choose packs that contain curcumin enriched with piperine. Piperine is an alkaloid that gives black pepper its pungent and strong taste. This alkaloid enriches the bioavailability of curcumin.

What is bioavailability of curcumin?

In the pharmaceutical industry, bioavailability is a vital term that talks about the potential of a drug or a supplement. When you consume any medication or supplement, the entire dosage does not go to your circulation system. Due to factors like absorption and metabolism, a percentage of the drug goes waste. Bioavailability is the term that talks about the fraction of drug that actually reaches your system effectively.

When you take turmeric in food, you cannot be sure how much of curcumin actually enters your system for circulation.

However, with curcumin supplements enriched with piperine, the bioavailability of the supplement increased by up to 200%. This gives you all the benefits of curcumin and is definitely a healthier option to choose.

 

Look for curcumin supplements created using BCM-95 technology

BCM-95 technology is a patented technology to extract curcumin from turmeric. The end result is pure curcumin with no artificial or synthetic ingredients. Before this patent, people had no way of knowing the purity and the bioavailability of the curcumin supplements they buy. Now though, you can look for the BCM-95 seal and then order authentic supplements.

Here is what to know about turmeric overdose

While it is rare that you can consume abnormally large quantities of turmeric in a day, when you do so, there are certain side-effects to look out for. Here are some commonly reported effects of turmeric overdose.

  • Kidney stones
  • Digestive issues
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Headaches

The bottom line

Turmeric is definitely an amazing natural ingredient that you can use in safe quantities to enjoy its benefits. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that when it comes to curcumin, healthy adults should aim to consume 1.4 mg of the compound per pound of body weight to receive its abundant benefits.

If you weigh 45 kg, the safe intake quantity of curcumin is 0.14 grams. Turmeric contains roughly 3% of curcumin levels.

Even if you do not have the patience to measure exact quantities of turmeric you use in a day, by adding a pinch to the meals you cook, you can visibly find yourself getting healthier and stronger. For those who prefer the supplements, ensure the brand and the product you pick are trusted ones.


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