When it comes to promoting overall health, turmeric is one of the first in line. This spice is frequently used in Indian and South Asian cuisine and has served as a potent remedy for centuries. However, only recently have we begun to fully grasp the extensive benefits this humble root provides.
The best way to take care of our gut health is to consider supplements and include plenty of antioxidant-rich foods in our diet. Turmeric happens to be a fantastic source of gut-friendly anti-inflammatories, and the great thing is, you can enjoy it in various ways.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at what turmeric is, why it's such a popular spice, and how it can do wonders for our gut health.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is an orangey, yellow-coloured spice that comes from the turmeric plant and the root of Curcuma longa, relative to the ginger root spice. It is known for adding colour, flavour and nutrition to foods.
Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and polyphenol-rich properties. Turmeric, along with ginger, is particularly recommended for people with inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, autoimmune disease, digestive disorders, allergies, mental health disorders, respiratory infections, and many others.1
Benefits of Turmeric
1) Turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties
Similarly to ginger, turmeric may help manage bodily discomfort, aches and pains, and may support your joints.
Turmeric has been found to ease symptoms of arthritis, like joint movement and stiffness, and in certain circumstances can be more effective than some anti-inflammatory drugs.1
It is also a natural remedy to reduce swelling in osteoarthritis and knee injuries.
2) Turmeric for boosting immunity
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich properties, turmeric has been shown to boost the immune system. Research shows that turmeric can modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells, as well as enhance the body's antibody responses. These are all involved in increasing antioxidant capacities to boost your body’s immune response.2
Turmeric is also often recommended for cold and flu symptoms as an immune booster and may help your body fight infections.
3) Turmeric for skin health
Due to its antioxidant profile, turmeric is effective for skin types and conditions, such as blemish-prone skin and psoriasis, by regulating oil production and helping to calm sensitive or inflamed skin.3
It can be used in a variety of ways, with skin cleansers, skin masks and night creams within your skincare regimes.
Turmeric can also be used for pimples, due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help with breakouts and can help manage surface redness and scarring.
4) Turmeric for the mind
It’s thought that curcumin may help ease depression and enable antidepressants to work more effectively by increasing their absorption in the gut.
Research has suggested a link between depression and chronic inflammation, suggesting that chronic inflammation and depression can aggravate one another.
Turmeric's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may contribute to its antidepressant effects by reducing inflammation in the body and brain.1
It is also a prebiotic, which may help to boost our good bacteria and increase our serotonin or ‘feel good’ hormone - a natural antidepressant!
5) Turmeric for regulating blood sugar levels
Turmeric has also been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity
In certain conditions, turmeric may be effective in reducing body weight, body fat mass, and serum lipid levels in obese individuals. Turmerics ability to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity may contribute to its weight loss effects and be helpful for those with type 2 diabetes.1
6) Turmeric for acid reflux
Turmeric may also help with acid reflux, gastrointestinal conditions and oesophageal disease.5
Acid reflux can be caused by inflammation, oxidative stress and low stomach acid. Turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin are both anti-inflammatory for the gut and can help soothe the gut lining during reflux.
It is also antibacterial, especially when paired with ginger and lemon. This helps to kill excess bacteria that contribute to low stomach acid and reflux symptoms.
Can Turmeric Help Gut Health?
Turmeric is an excellent addition to supporting your gut health. It is anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants, and is an extremely healthy spice to consume.
Turmeric and its active ingredient, curcumin, may help ease digestive disorders, particularly IBS, and has also been shown to possibly aid digestion by reducing gut inflammation and permeability, two measures of your digestive efficiency.1
It is also an excellent prebiotic for our good bacteria as a source of fibre, folate, and minerals, including iron, potassium, iron, and calcium. It can help to destroy harmful bacteria due to its antibacterial properties, as well as improve leaky gut by supporting the intestinal barrier.
Read more into the link between turmeric and indigestion.
How to Take Turmeric
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to take turmeric due to its versatility. Turmeric is easy to take in any form, including liquid, powder, capsule, or raw form in cooking.
The optimal dosage for health benefits is approx, 0.5 - 1.5 teaspoons and about 250 mg as a supplemental dose.4 You could also mix the powder with liquid to form a stronger drink.
In summary, turmeric is an excellent substance to consume either through food, supplementation or in smoothies. It is an extremely versatile spice with a host of health benefits.
Turmeric is promoted as a dietary supplement for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, digestive disorders, respiratory infections, allergies, liver disease, depression, and many others.