The Health Benefits of Turmeric Supplements & Curcumin
“If I could choose only one herb for total body health and comfort, I would pick turmeric. It's that good.”
Lee Swanson, President of Swanson Health Products
WA Frost, a turn-of-the-century restaurant located in the historic district of St. Paul, MN, serves a to-die-for chicken salad that is brimming with succulent raisins, crunchy cashews, sweet coconut and the savory taste of exotic curry. It's worth the 240-mile trip from Fargo on a weekend just to enjoy this enticing dish while casually seated out on their summer patio. What's hard to imagine is that something so delicious actually contains a number of ingredients that are good for my health, and curry powder is first and foremost among them. Curry powder is a mixture of a dozen or more spices that are all botanical antioxidants including cumin, coriander, cloves, chili pepper and a very special golden, almost iridescent, powdered herb called turmeric.
Why do you say that turmeric is special among herbs?
We now know that much of the aging process is a direct result of free-radical damage and oxidation to the body on a cellular level. The key to slowing down the natural aging process is to introduce something to the body that has the opposite effect of oxidation, and thank goodness there is such a thing! These agents have been appropriately named antioxidants. The herb turmeric has been used for thousands of years to impart a wonderful fragrant flavor to meats, poultry and rice, and at the same time it was used in ancient medicinal systems like Ayurveda for joint concerns and all kinds of intestinal complaints. However, it wasn't until recent times that health experts came to understand why turmeric is so effective for promoting health. They're now discovering that the very pigments that give turmeric its distinct yellow hue are the primary source of its substantial power. These brightly colored polyphenols are called curcuminoids, and they are proving to be more effective than vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and even the OPCs in grapeseed and pine bark extracts for gobbling up free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules that may cause sub-obitmal health.
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What are the specific health benefits of turmeric?
I doubt there is a cell in your body that wouldn't profit from turmeric, but specific areas where considerable benefits have been documented are the joints, the liver and the digestive system.
How do turmeric supplements help the joints?
Turmeric doesn't work like glucosamine to support cartilage, but it works well with it because it really helps to make joints feel comfortable. Studies have shown that it is absorbed by the body especially well when paired with the pineapple enzyme bromelain. So, if you try turmeric supplements for your joints, I suggest using it along with a bromelain supplement. Swanson Health Products also offers both turmeric and bromelain together with glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM and several other joint nutrients in a combination formula called Mobility Essentials.
I'm curious what turmeric supplements do for the liver.
Well, your thinking is right on track, and no doubt many of us should give more consideration to our livers because they regularly work overtime, cleansing and detoxifying all the foods and chemicals we eat and breathe in. Turmeric has demonstrated some amazing abilities to help the liver eliminate dangerous toxins, and animal studies have shown that when fed curcuminoids (an active compound in turmeric), the animals have higher than average blood levels of the enzyme glutathione S-transferase, which is the key antioxidant the liver makes to detoxify our bodies. That's a huge benefit right there! Turmeric also stimulates the flow of bile to help digest fats, so it's easy to understand why it was used as a digestive aid in times past.
How much turmeric does a person need to take?
It's advisable to use about one teaspoon at a time, which is the same as 1.5 grams or 1,500 mg of the whole spectrum powder, and you can use it several times per day. If you like a standardized extract, you can get by with less of it. Swanson Health Products offers both forms depending on your preference, and we also pair it with chlorella for especially effective cleansing and detoxification of the whole body.
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