Turmeric, also known as the “golden spice”, for its bright yellow color and slightly bitter flavor, is more than just a kitchen staple – modern science is starting to catch on to turmeric’s power. This popular spice, found in other spices like curry powder, is made from the ground root of the turmeric plant. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat everything from indigestion to wounds. Although turmeric primarily emphasizes its use for helping with pain, it has many other benefits, as well as some drawbacks that are important to be aware of. 

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

One of the key components of turmeric is the substance curcumin, a compound with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Having curcumin present in turmeric means that it’s also rich in phytonutrients, that work to protect the body by neutralizing free radicals (pollution, sunlight) and shielding the cells from damage. 

Turmeric might even help improve your mood by having an antidepressant effect. Taking turmeric with your meals and pepper is important because it helps your body absorb the compound curcumin. 

Great Source of Antioxidants for Brain, Heart, & Gut Health

Turmeric also provides a great source of antioxidants, contributing to healthy digestion and gut permeability. It can help the colon by encouraging glands on the organ’s surface to regenerate and heal whenever pathogenic(bad) bacteria are present. 

Some studies suggest that turmeric may reduce oxidative stress, where high levels are linked to several neurological diseases (i.e., Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, depression, and memory loss). 

 The benefits don’t end there – turmeric can help lower blood sugar levels and potentially reverse insulin resistance. Turmeric works by reducing serum-free fatty acid levels in the blood. Therefore, turmeric could help to lower your risk of heart disease among other diseases however, more research is needed to confirm this.

Now, with the many advantages this superfood offers, let’s discuss some of turmeric’s drawbacks to be mindful of.  

Curcumin Causes Staining

One of the cons of turmeric is that this spice can cause staining. Because of the curcumin, the compound present that makes this spice its rich yellow color can stain clothing, cutting boards, countertops, and even skin/nails. So, be sure to handle turmeric carefully to avoid staining.

Side Effects, Allergies, and other Contraindications

Other important disadvantages to being aware of include possible allergies to turmeric, and some experiencing skin irritations/symptoms such as rash, itching, hives, and difficulty breathing. Additionally, turmeric may cause digestive side effects such as upset stomach, acid reflux, and nausea.

Turmeric may also interfere with certain medications. For example, it could reduce the effectiveness of blood-thinning medications, anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs), and medications used to treat diabetes. Lastly, turmeric may not be suitable for pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding. Therefore, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional before adding any new supplement to your diet.

Conclusion

Overall, turmeric is generally considered safe in moderation as part of a balanced diet, keeping in mind the dosage right for you will vary for every individual. Try sprinkling some turmeric into your favorite dishes, or making a turmeric latte by mixing turmeric, milk, honey, and a pinch of pepper. If you’re not a fan of the taste, don’t worry – there’s an array of turmeric supplements available. Above all, be sure to pay attention to any potential negative side effects and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

6 Responses

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