Turmeric is definitely one of the most talked about superfoods there is! So does it deserve its golden halo? Or is it just a load of yellow hype!?

Lets look at the history: Scientists noticed that people on the Indian subcontinent suffered with fewer inflammatory diseases, and lower incidence of cancer than in the West, and had a longer life expectancy. Having ruled out lots of other factors they looked at the diet.

One of the most commonly used spices was turmeric (along with ginger and black pepper). A research boom did ensue! Over the years, thousands of studies have elicited how the luminous root does indeed work its magic, and how it really is the king of spice. Also, how it joins forces with its aromatic friends to become a veritable superhero!

Inflammation

Unlike NSAIDs (stuff like ibuprofen) which work on the COX-1 and 2 enzymes which tells the body to release the prostaglandin inflammatory cascade, the active compounds in turmeric – a family called curcuminoids – works on LOX too, the enzymes that activate leukotrienes. You have a LOT of different ways to get inflamed! If you combine turmeric with ginger and black pepper, you help scupper a range of other pathways including NF-kB and iNOS, plus the turmeric works even more effectively!

There is evidence that inflammation plays a role in cancer, which is why turmeric is purported to be beneficial as an adjunct to treatment and studies have shown in high doses an anti tumour effect. The antioxidant power of turmeric is also vitally important; and you’ll no doubt have heard about its effect against amyloid plaques in Alzheimers Disease.

You may not know that turmeric is also effective against depression, inhibiting mono-amine oxidaze, an enzyme that breaks down happy chemicals in the brain. Turmeric also promotes the growth of new neurotransmitter receptors – which kinda means more hands to catch the happy chemical balls!

How much turmeric?

Of course, cooking with turmeric, ginger and black pepper is wonderful! Not only do they provide a host of health benefits, they also taste fabulous. Using a mixture of organic fresh and ground turmeric is the best way to reap the benefits in your cooking (don’t use the non organic stuff – irradiation, as you might imagine, rather undermines the antioxidant power). Also freshly grinding black pepper adds piperine that gets degraded if you buy your pepper pre-ground.

However, to really get the benefits in a therapeutic quantity you need a critical mass of these curcuminoids. Cooking it and popping some in your smoothie is great for everyday wellness, but if you’re looking to swap your over the counter painkillers for something that doesn’t destroy your gut, you’ll need to take a supplement. You just can’t eat that much turmeric!

Active curcuminoids

What you’re looking for is a supplement that contains the potentiators as well as at least 95% standardized curcumin, and at least 250mg of active curcuminoids to do anything therapeutic – preferably nearer 800mg. When analysed, many of the supplements out there really weren’t delivering what they claimed, and some are ferociously expensive to boot. You really need to know that what you’re taking is worth the money, and more to the point, will be effective!

The one I’ll be reaching for after my wrist op is Natruflex from The Naked Pharmacy. Two capsules provide a whopping 1520mg, plus you get the piperine at the correct dose and potency too. Into the bargain is 150mg of magnesium citrate, which is super helpful for bone health, as well as relaxing muscles and supporting nerve function. At £19.99 for 30 it’s great value. I also love that the Naked Pharmacy test every single batch of each supplement, and if it doesn’t reach the necessary potency, it doesn’t hit the shelves.

Whether you have a health condition or just hope to ward off chronic illnesses in the future, turmeric is a well-tested, safe addition to your diet and supplement programme. If you want to find out more about beating inflammation and living a more pain-free existence, do get in touch for an individual plan. In the meantime, add some golden goodness to your life today!