How much do you know about turmeric? Chances are, if you’re concerned about your health, you know at least a little bit about it. Otherwise, it might just be a spice you use to add flavor to your food. If you aren’t using turmeric for the health benefits, however, don’t fret- there’s a lot of research that remains to be done in order to determine just how beneficial turmeric is for our health. Turmeric, or more accurately, its active ingredient curcumin, definitely has some benefits, but these health effects may not be quite as extensive as some sources might suggest.
Inflammation is one of the touted benefits of curcumin, and this has a lot to do with the polyphenolic compounds in the spice, which do have evidence backing them as anti-inflammatory agents. There are a number of foods and behaviors that can contribute to inflammation one way or another. Turmeric can reduce inflammation certainly, as research has found. However, it is not a cure-all. Considering all the things that can contribute negatively to inflammation, such as oxidative stress, smoking, and exercise (or the lack of it), you will need more than regular doses of turmeric to repair unhealthy living.
While in some circles, turmeric is believed to serve as a pain-killer, the research is mixed and limited in this regard. Certainly, there is no evidence of the unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, that might come with medication. However, results are inconclusive on turmeric’s role in reducing the symptoms of certain chronic, painful illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis. A summary on the overall efficacy of turmeric indicates that there may be some potential for it as an effective painkilling alternative, but the small effective sample sizes and lack of standardized testing between studies prevent significant conclusions from being drawn.