Whether you’re enjoying it as “golden milk” stirred into water or in the form of a ‘shot’ or capsule, the turmeric root, also known as Indian saffron, yellow ginger or its Latin name Curcuma longa, is considered to be THE superfood of the moment. This spice is believed to be incredibly good for us. But how healthy is turmeric really? We take a closer look at this trendy spice.
What exactly is turmeric?
Turmeric is an Indian spice that has been used as a remedy in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. Here in the West, we know turmeric primarily as a key ingredient in a curry spice blend. Curcumin, a polyphenol found in turmeric, gives the spice its characteristic golden-yellow colour. Turmeric is a tuber that is very similar to ginger. It is dried and ground into a powder but can also be used in its raw state.
What can turmeric do?
And what lies behind turmeric’s image as a “silver bullet” that can cure many illnesses? The health benefits of this popular tuber are of course subject to extensive research, but not all of its positive characteristics and effects have yet been scientifically proven. The effects of turmeric on the digestive system have been established and it is believed to help relieve gas and bloating. Turmeric is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. But tread carefully if it is described as a cure for osteoarthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or cancer. In such cases, additional research is needed to obtain more precise information about the effects of turmeric. The studies that have been carried out so far can only be extrapolated to humans to a limited extent. Added to this is the limited bioavailability of turmeric. Only small quantities actually travel from the gut into the body’s cells. We would therefore probably have to consume large quantities of turmeric to achieve any effect at all.
Should I eat turmeric?
If you love Asian cuisine, turmeric – on its own or in a curry blend – is the perfect spice to enhance many meals and an ingredient that your digestive system is sure to appreciate. However, turmeric can also lead to heartburn and nausea if consumed in higher doses or by people with more sensitive digestive systems. Turmeric capsules often also contain piperine, a pepper extract, which not everyone can tolerate. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid food supplements containing turmeric. Generally speaking, however, there is no reason why you should not include turmeric in your diet if you feel well. Do speak to your doctor if you are unsure.
Have you tried turmeric yet?
Your Dole Team