Proven Benefits of Turmeric

It’s orange, found in your favorite exotic cuisines, and one of the most popular superfoods of the last decade. I’m talking about turmeric.

A member of the ginger family, turmeric has become a rock-star ingredient in many supplements because of the compound found within called curcumin. Many of the proven benefits of turmeric are all thanks to curcumin.

Turmeric and curcumin have found their way into many sports supplements with claims of faster recovery, better mobility, and less cellular stress. Since spring is here, there’s no better time to get up and get moving. Whether it’s for a walk around the park or your favorite cardio class, turmeric can support your endeavors to be more active. 

Better Workout Performance 

Stimulant-based pre-workout drinks might give you a jolt to get moving but given the large amounts of caffeine and potential cardiovascular complications, it’s best to skip the stimulants.

Turmeric has potential to be an ideal pre-workout supplement. Several animal-based studies found that curcumin improved endurance and physical performance. [1]

Positive Mindset for Exercise

The worst part about exercise is pushing yourself to do it. But once you get moving, it’s easier to maintain the activity that you’re doing. Turmeric has the potential to support a positive mindset for exercise.

Researchers found that curcumin supplementation helped to improve cognitive function, especially memory, while supporting a positive mood. Taking turmeric as a part of your exercise routine could help to create positive associations with the activity. [2] 

Turmeric for Post-Workout Recovery

Delayed-onset muscle soreness is common with all forms of exercise. If you haven’t been active during the colder months, muscle soreness might feel more intense for the first few weeks. Turmeric can help.

With its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and post-workout inflammation. One study found that those who were given the highest dosages of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, reported the least muscle soreness after a workout. [3]

Turmeric and Reduction of Cellular Damage

Stress is a natural part of life, but too much stress can interfere with cellular health. When the stress of physical activity is greater than your body’s capacity to bounce back, you risk cellular damage from free radicals.

Turmeric is a natural antioxidant, which eliminates free radicals while improving the body’s own defenses. [4]

Turmeric and More Physical Activity

As a natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric can help you with your performance and recovery during physical activity or gym-based exercises.

 

References 

  1. Huang WC, Chiu WC, Chuang HL, Tang DW, Lee ZM, Wei L, Chen FA, Huang CC. Effect of curcumin supplementation on physiological fatigue and physical performance in mice. Nutrients. 2015 Jan 30;7(2):905-21. doi: 10.3390/nu7020905.
  2. Small, Gary & Siddarth, Prabha & Li, Zhaoping & Miller, Karen & Ercoli, Linda & Emerson, Natacha & Martinez, Jacqueline & Wong, Koon-Pong & Liu, Jie & Merrill, David & Chen, Stephen & Henning, Susanne & Satyamurthy, Nagichettiar & Huang, Sung-Cheng & Heber, David & Barrio, Jorge. (2017). Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 26. 10.1016/j.jagp.2017.10.010.
  3. Ralf Jäger, Aaron R Caldwell, Elizabeth Sanders, Joel B Mitchell, James Rogers, Martin Purpura, and Jonathan M Oliver. Curcumin Reduces Muscle Damage and Soreness Following Muscle-Damaging Exercise. The FASEB Journal 2017 31:1_supplement, lb766-lb766.
  4. Kulkarni SK, Dhir A. An overview of curcumin in neurological disorders. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010;72(2):149–154. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.65012.

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