Turmeric has many health benefits, particularly related to lowering chronic inflammation, which have been known in some parts of the world for thousands of years. The active component in turmeric is curcumin, which is a known anti-inflammatory.
Now modern scientists are finding evidence in study after study for what traditional practitioners have known for centuries, and what drug companies don’t want to admit: this natural plant product can treat and prevent a huge range of diseases and ailments, from arthritis to dementia to digestive complaints, to heart disease. It can be more effective than aspirin or ibuprofen. The problem is, it’s hard to patent.
In March 2018 the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry released a study showing that curcumin can also improve memory and stabilise mood in healthy adults not suffering from dementia or depression. The placebo-controlled trial was conducted over 18 months. Healthy participants aged between 50 and 90 took 90mg of curcumin twice daily. Researchers noted a decrease in amyloid plaques in the brain, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. They also measured improvements memory.
The trial deliberately excluded subjects with symptoms of depression and those with any signs of the onset of dementia. Researchers commented that the results may have been even greater if these groups were included, because of the mood stabilising effect of curcumin. They used the Beck Depression Inventory to assess mood changes in participants, with positive results in the group taking curcumin.
The bioavailability of curcumin is low when consumed by itself. However there are other foods and spices that improve absorption. For example, the piperine in black pepper can increase absorption significantly.
Add turmeric to the food you already enjoy
Tumeric doesn’t have a strong flavor, so it can be added to many familiar meals and snacks without changing the flavor too much. It will change the colour though!
Recommendations of how much turmeric you should have per day vary between 1 teaspoon and 5 tablespoons! High doses are recommended if you’re suffering from chronic pain caused by inflammation. There is no indication of a maximum safe dose, and no significant side effects have been discovered in any of the hundreds of scientific studies on turmeric and curcumin.
- Add it to scrambled eggs. Add plenty of black pepper, as this helps your body absorb and optimize the curcumin in turmeric.
- Add to soups, especially vegetable or chicken soups.
- Add to your favourite smoothie.
- Tea – simmer about 10 minutes with ground ginger to make a tea. You can add milk (dairy or soy) or honey according to your preference. Use about ¼ teaspoon of ginger and ½ teaspoon of turmeric per cup. You can use fresh ginger if you prefer.
- Rub it on meat or roast vegetables.
- Most yellow curries contain turmeric, so these are another obvious source.
Or try a supplement
If you find eating a tablespoon a day of turmeric a bit of a struggle, consider taking a supplement. About Health’s Res-V® Ultimate contains therapeutic amounts of curcumin along with resveratrol and other carefully selected nutrients that support your mental and physical health as you age.