Most people are familiar with turmeric as the Indian yellow spice, commonly used in curries and teas. What most people do not know is that turmeric can be used for more than cooking. Indian and Chinese medicines have incorporated the powers of turmeric for healing purposes for centuries. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been proven to have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. As such, it is the ideal candidate for the fight against arthritis.
Arthritis, Inflammation and Turmeric
Arthritis is the country’s leading cause of disability; rheumatoid arthritis affects close to 1.3 million Americans. This form of arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means the body starts to attack itself. The main cause of RA is inflammation.
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory qualities mean that it is capable of blocking the enzymes and cytokines that trigger inflammation. A breakthrough study of rheumatoid arthritis patients showed that patients given turmeric, as opposed to NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), showed greater improvement.
Chronic inflammation may lead to more serious, complicated diseases and health problems. The problem is that you may only notice occasionally at first. An achy joint in the morning, some afternoon brain fog or perhaps a bloated stomach after dinner are all things that can be overlooked.
Even when the pain or discomfort fades after a day or two, these symptoms tend to be recurring so you will see them time and time again. The chronic inflammatory cycle causes cell death and the breakdown of important tissues. When it comes to your joints, this inflammation causes erosion of cartilage, followed by intense pain.
Curcumin helps to keep inflammation responses controlled by interfering with the pathway on a molecular level. NF-kB is a molecule that travels to the nuclei of cells and turn on inflammation-related genes. Curcumin is able to prevent this meeting in a more natural way than the leading medications and there are no side effects. Along with inflammation, oxidative damage is known to contribute to aging and many diseases. Thankfully, curcumin also possesses antioxidant qualities to neutralize free radicals and prevent damage.
Is Turmeric Good for Your Joints?
Alternative treatments for common ailments have been used for centuries across the globe. Until recently, there has been little place for these therapies in Western medicine. However, times are changing and currently one-third of Americans have now tried alternative medications. Anytime you see a commercial for the latest pain therapy or new drug, the list of potential complications and side effects are enough to give you nightmares. Your achy joints will feel great again but you may end up with migraines, nausea, trouble breathing and who knows what else.
Do you really want to risk all the potential complications? You will only end up having to take more medications to treat the side effects of your arthritis pills. The good news is that none of this is necessary. The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin (turmeric) help relieve inflammation and bring relief to your sore and achy joints. There are several ways to incorporate turmeric into your life, so it can be a much easier option that remembering to take pills every day.
How to Include Turmeric in Your Diet
Traditionally, the stem of the plant is taken, boiled, dried and then ground into a fine powder. Its versatility allows it to easily be incorporated into your daily routine. It is important to remember that turmeric alone is not easily absorbed, so taking with some black pepper helps to get it through the digestive process. Turmeric is effective in high doses, and fortunately, it is safe in large quantities.
Turmeric powder can be added to meals, smoothies or salads. It is even possible that you are already eating curcumin without realizing since it is contained in several yellow foods. Since turmeric is only between 2 and 7 percent curcumin, the chances of the effectiveness of these meal additions against arthritis is slim. This means you can either be extra generous as you sprinkle the powder into your food or you can supplement meals. You can also make your own turmeric tea by mixing hot water, turmeric, and a dash of black pepper. You will want to add honey or lemon for taste. The turmeric is efficiently delivered in this way and guaranteed to soothe your aches and pains.
Because of the large amount required to be effective, most people take curcumin turmeric supplements. For those suffering with arthritis of any form, this is the recommended method to ensure you get access to all potential anti-inflammatory benefits. Leading supplement brands like 1MD turmeric curcumin also contain black pepper, also known as bioperine, to enhance absorption. Ideally to treat arthritis, you want to take 500 mg twice daily.
Always check with your physician before starting a supplement because there is always a chance it can interfere with your medications. Specifically, if you take medication for diabetes, cholesterol, inflammation or blood thinners it is best to talk with your doctor first. For the most part, turmeric supplements are harmless and often seen as safer than NSAIDs. Some anti-inflammatory drugs can cause digestive problems, including ulcers, so this safer and more natural alternative is growing in popularity. This is quickly becoming the number reason that people prefer using turmeric for pain relief.