The Latest Food Trend: Turmeric

This summer my parents decided to jump kick their healthy lifestyle and try a variety of new things. Chia seeds, flax seeds, and almond butter became just a few of the staple ingredients in our house. But recently my mom has been talking about adding turmeric because of its health benefits.

Turmeric is a type of plant grown throughout India, Asia, and Central America. This plant is well known in curry recipes and has been used throughout medicines history. Turmeric has been used for breathing problems, rheumatism, pain, and fatigue. In more modern times, turmeric has been used as a supplement for inflammation, arthritis, and gallbladder problems. You can buy turmeric in many forms such as capsules, tablets, tea, powder, and paste. Besides just relieving pain, turmeric also contains manganese, phosphorus, and potassium, all which are essential to healthy living.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, several studies have shown results of turmeric reducing inflammation. Participants who took 400 to 600mg capsules one to three times a day were seeing relief in just one day. Participants with arthritis in their knees said it worked just as well as ibuprofen when taking one 800mg capsule per day.

A turmeric extract known as Meriva has shown to provide long-term improvement in pain and function during a 2010 clinical trial for patients with osteoarthritis. Curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinct color and flavor, has shown to reduce joint pain and swelling during a 2012 pilot study for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

But just like everything in this world, turmeric does have some side effects if taken in large doses. These side effects are safe, but can include digestive issues, skin rash, headaches, and maybe some nausea. Only a small number of people have experienced these side effects and the dosage intake has differentiated per person. In daily intakes of 8,000mg or more a skin rash has developed. For digestive issues 1,000mg or more. Headaches and nausea have come from a lower intake of just 450mg. Even though these side effects only affect a small number of people, be cautious about how much you are intaking daily.

Turmeric does provide many health benefits, but if you are on the fence about it talk to your doctor. In some cases it is better to get a second opinion then take the risk.