Have you ever noticed how every year there seems to be some supplement or product which seems to exceed all expectations and become THE wonder supplement/product of that particular year? Lately we’ve had products such as coconut oil and green tea extract, and now, this year, appears to be the year of turmeric. Hold on, isn’t turmeric a spice? Well, yes it is a spice and a very popular culinary ingredient used in many forms of Asian cuisine, but it also happens to be one of the healthiest and most beneficial supplements in the entire world. The turmeric you’re probably most commonly used to, will be the brilliant yellow/gold powder you can purchase by the jar. Turmeric supplements are now all the rage, as experts are finally seeing the true potential in this wonder spice. If you’re looking to improve your health and well-being, and to roll back the years in the process, turmeric should ideally become the next supplement you add to your collection. Want to learn more about turmeric? Then take a look at this beginner’s guide and find out just how great for you it really is.

What is Turmeric?

There are actually three different varieties of turmeric, including yellow turmeric, white turmeric, and black turmeric. The turmeric we’ll be focussing on today, and the turmeric loaded full of the most health benefits is yellow turmeric, which is extracted from the root, dried, and then ground into a fine powder. Yellow turmeric, or curcuma aromatic, as it is scientifically known, has been used medicinally for thousands of years. In days gone by, turmeric was used to help settle upset stomachs, to help ease gas and bloating, and to help treat allergies. It was also used as a dye, and in fact, it still is used as a dye to this very day. Many candy manufacturers looking to be more health conscious will actually use turmeric extracts to dye certain candies yellow, rather than chemical-laden, artificial dyes. Turmeric is native to Asia, particularly India, where more than 90% of the world’s turmeric supplies are grown and produced.

Why is turmeric so fantastic?

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Log onto any health-related supplement forum, or check out any online supplement stores and the majority of the time you’ll find some special deals on turmeric, or somebody singing the praises of this spice. This isn’t just hype however, turmeric really is the real thing, which is why it is considered the wonder-product of the year. It also happens to be affectionately nicknamed the ‘spice of life’ so make of that what you will. In terms of the multiple health benefits of turmeric, though it is enriched with many nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it contains two active compounds that really take it to the next level. These are known as volatile oil, and curcuminoids. The volatile oil helps give turmeric its unmistakable aroma, but it is the curcuminoids that provide many of the health benefits. These ingredients are by far the most biologically active, with many of them functioning as extraordinarily potent antioxidants. Curcumin is perhaps the most well-known of them all. So just what is it about this great-tasting, great-smelling spice that makes it so amazing? Well, as is turns out, there are lots of things. Here are just a few examples:

Anti-inflammatory properties

One of the main reasons why turmeric extract supplements are now so incredibly popular is because they provide the body with very potent anti-inflammatory properties. People all over the globe suffering with joint pain, and general aches and pains associated with growing older are rolling back the years by taking turmeric extract supplements. The curcumin found in turmeric is to thank here, as this compound communicates with proteins in the body which initiate inflammation. This basically means that curcumin reduces the potency of genes in the body which are responsible for inflammation. It also helps to inhibit enzyme activity in the body, which again, ordinarily would initiate inflammation. By inhibiting the activity of these enzymes, again, inflammation is reduced hugely. On top of that, it also functions as a natural pain-killer, meaning people can consume turmeric and can reduce their levels of pain without relying on artificial drugs which do the body no good at all. For people suffering with arthritis, and general joint aches and pains, turmeric is ideal.

Loaded with antioxidants

In the body, antioxidants are very important because they destroy toxins and free-radicals that can damage our bodies through oxidative stress, and subsequently they help us to fight off and prevent all kinds of illnesses, ailments, and diseases. The antioxidants found in turmeric are the ones responsible for giving it that stunning gold/yellow colour, and they function very similarly to vitamins E and C. This means that turmeric can help to boost immunity by enhancing white blood cell counts, as well as reducing oxidative stress and eliminating harmful toxins and free-radicals from the body, which could eventually have led to cancer and cellular mutations.

Turmeric enhances healing

If you’ve cut yourself or suffered a wound, turmeric is ideal because it speeds up the healing process. It does this by cutting back greatly on natural responses proven to aggravate inflammation, plus it helps the body to form scabs quicker, which help to protect the wound from infection. Turmeric also has microbial properties, which means that it inhibits the growth of viruses, fungi, and bacteria. This means that not only does the wound heal quicker, but it also means that there is a far smaller chance of infection setting in. Studies have even found that Turmeric can be effective when used to treat/protect against hospital superbugs such as MRSA.

Great for digestion

If you suffer from digestive issues such as heartburn, indigestion, gas, bloating, or cramps after eating, you may wish to consider taking a turmeric supplement on a daily basis. The curcumin found in turmeric helps to protect the stomach from pain and discomfort as it strengthens the gastric lining and significantly helps to reduce the risk of painful stomach ulcers caused due to prescription drugs, heavy metals in the diet, and high acidity levels. Experts have also found that turmeric can help to reduce the symptoms associated with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Rather than relying on indigestion tablets which can do more harm than good, a simple turmeric supplement consumed each day will be far more beneficial when it comes to your digestive health.

It makes a fantastic curry

Okay, if you’re looking to make a delicious curry, you’ll want ground turmeric spice powder rather than a health supplement. Turmeric is used as a base for many spice blends and it is a hugely popular ingredient used in traditional Asian cuisine. If you’re partial to a curry, turmeric should be a staple ingredient on your spice shelf.

Isn’t turmeric hard for the body to absorb?

Ah, you really have been doing your research. Yes, turmeric isn’t all that bio-available and it is hard for the body to absorb enough of it for it to be beneficial. It is water soluble, but only barely, so the gut struggles to digest enough. Turmeric root is much better because the root contains natural oils, but if you’re going with a turmeric supplement, you will need to find a formula which is designed to enhance the absorption rates. Most turmeric supplement formulas also contain piperine, which is a black pepper extract, and there is a very good reason for this. Piperine has been found to enhance curcumin absorption rates hugely. Believe it or not, but piperine will enhance the bioavailability of curcumin, by an average of 2000%! That’s not a typo, we don’t mean 200%, we really do mean 2000% and this is all backed up by science and research. If you’re looking to take turmeric supplements for health reasons, look for formulas which contain piperine to ensure your body can absorb all of the good stuff this humble root has to offer.

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