In a previous blog post, I discussed the best and worst foods for digestion. However, in that article, I did not address essential herbs and spices that are incredible for digestion. Now, let’s take a look at the super spice Turmeric!
Humans have used natural plants for various purposes from a very long time. Many of the plants are used for its’ pharmacological property. In the holistic medicine called “Ayurveda,” plant based medicine or formulations are used to treat various ailments. Turmeric is a plant and its history dates back 4000 years ago to the “Vedic” culture in India. Turmeric is used widely in South Asia for cooking and religious events. In the last 25 years Western medicine has been steadily embracing turmeric for its medicinal and culinary properties, as evidenced by thousands of research publication dealing with Turmeric. Turmeric has a bright yellow color and hence some call it the “Indian Saffron.” Susruta’s Ayurvedic compendium recommends an ointment made of Turmeric dating back to 250 B.C.
Turmeric is actually a product of Curcuma longa, a rhizome and perennial plant which belongs to the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Nutrition analysis of Turmeric shows that 100g of Turmeric contains: 390 Kcal, 10 g total fat, 3g Saturated fat, 0 mg Cholesterol 0.2 g calcium, 0.26 g phosphorous, 10 mg sodium, 2500 mg potassium, 47.5 mg iron, 0.9 mg thiamine, 0.19 mg riboflavin, 4.8 mg niacin, 50 mg ascorbic acid, 69.9 g total carbohydrates, 21 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars, and 8 g protein.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is root with bright yellow color and is used as a spice that is frequently used to flavor Indian cuisine, but the benefits of this herb go well beyond just sparking your taste buds. Turmeric is a very versatile spice and can help relieve gas, heartburn, and more! The vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidants, and fiber in turmeric helps muscle movement, acid production, and nutrient consumption to keep things moving like they should. In the United States the general public knows Turmeric as a spice.
Curcumin and Colon Cancer
Numerous studies have established the anti cancer properties of Curcumin an active component found in Turmeric. Researchers have identified that Circumin targets a major cell-cycle protein known as Cyclin dependent kinase 2 thus contributing to the prevention or therapeutic effect against colorectal cancer.
Curing Belly Issues
Each year, millions of Americans get mild to moderate stomach pain here and there. Chronic stomach pain could be a severe condition, but if you experience pain now and then, use turmeric to help relieve your pain. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds in the herb help ease the pain that comes from fattening or spicy foods, alcohol, or lack of exercise. Furthermore, turmeric can help alleviate diarrhea caused from medications, allergies, viruses and more. By simply drinking a teaspoon of powdered turmeric up to three times a day, alongside of drinking more fluids and cleaning your hands regularly, can offer relief when you have a loose stool. According to Reader’s Digest, the magnesium and potassium in the spice help you fight dehydration and rebalance your fluids, while other vitamins and chemicals improve digestion and immunity.
Turmeric can also help in preventing and easing gas. “For fast flatulence relief, turmeric can be used as an effective, all-natural remedy that’s not only able to treat the symptoms of gas but the underlying issues as well,” Britt Brandon, an SSA-certified personal trainer, triathlete, and nutritional counselor, said.
The relief does not end there! Turmeric can also help reduce nausea because a chemical in the spice called curcumin can help fight the inflammation, bacteria, and viruses behind your queasiness. Other minerals and vitamins found in turmeric also support healthy brain chemistry which can ease stress, anxiety, and other mental causes of nausea. Lastly, turmeric can also serve as a natural remedy for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Similar to nausea and gas, turmeric’s vitamins, minerals, and other chemicals can reduce muscle movements, reduce inflammation, and soothe digestive issues.
Turmeric is a power spice that can help relieve many stomach issues and promote healthy digestion! Tumeric is just one of the many spices that are great for digestion. Check back soon for another blog on the digestion benefits of ginger!
Mitra Rangarajan is one of the few people in the world who is cross-trained and certified in three interrelated, interconnected and intertwined disciplines which are: Nutrition, Diabetes Management, and Clinical Medicine/GI. Read more of Mitra’s GI Nutrition articles here!
Balakrishnan K. V. Postharvest technology and processing of turmeric. In: Ravindran P. N, Nirmal Babu K, Sivaraman K, editors. Turmeric: The Genus Curcuma. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2007. pp. 193–256.
DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0387 Published April 2014