Many of my personal training clients often complain about inflammation and joint pain. Whether it’s from the occasional muscle soreness or more chronic inflammation, turmeric can provide major relief.
What is it?
Turmeric is a bright yellow aromatic powder from the plant in the ginger family. It’s what gives the yellow color to Indian curry and is used as a spice in many Asian dishes. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric and it contains many anti-inflammatory properties and is a strong antioxidant.
The amount of curcumin in the turmeric spice is very low (~3%) so that is why it is necessary to take a supplement with higher levels of curcumin. It is not easily absorbed into the bloodstream so be sure to look for an extract that contains black pepper to aid with absorption.
What are the benefits?
Curcumin contains many anti-inflammatory properties. Many studies have shown that curcumin fares equal or better to some well-known over-the-counter
pharmaceutical drugs but without the side effects (think digestion/stomach issues). Several of my clients with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis
take this supplement daily to help with their chronic inflammation.
Curcumin also acts as an antioxidant helping to fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals cause oxidative damage and are related to many diseases in the body. Curcumin not only helps fight free radicals but it also helps boost the body’s own activity of producing antioxidant enzymes.
Other studies have shown that curcumin aids in the production of a brain growth hormone which can help delay or even reverse age-related diseases in the brain. In addition, there are studies that show it helps to strengthen the lining of blood vessels which aids in blood pressure regulation and other heart related diseases.
You can find turmeric or curcumin in your local pharmacy or health food store. It has made a world of difference for many of my clients.