If you’re a regular reader of MH, you’ll know that we love a superfood (like this one, this one, and this one). And while the term ‘superfood’ shouldn’t be used lightly, there’s one ancient spice that is truly worthy of the title; turmeric.
Not just an exotic latte flavour found in Sydney’s East and Melbourne’s laneways, turmeric is so much more.
Troy Edyvean, founder of Tonic Alchemy, who has built a health empire on the back of the super-spice, believes wholeheartedly in the benefits and wants to be a key player in ensuring turmeric reaches the mainstream conscious. “I had been personally using turmeric as my main ingredient and awareness of the spice and its benefits are now only starting to increase in western culture,” he explained to MH. “It’s multifunctional and research shows it to be one of the best wonder spices on the market due to being anti-inflammatory, increases liver function, boosts brain function and is high in antioxidants.”
The research Edyvean mentions relates specifically to the tried and tested benefits of curcumin, the substance contained in a ground up turmeric root, and it’s positive impact on human health.
Most notably, curcumin is famous in medicinal circles for its anti-inflammatory properties. According to Brian St. Pierre, director of performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition, 400mg of curcumin can give you relief from pain symptoms, equivalent to 2000 mg of paracetamol. Oh and the best bit… none of the same side-effects. Boom!
And it’s not just physical pain that gets the boot as a result of good turmeric habits. The curcumin in turmeric has also demonstrated significant results in treating depression. A study where patients took either curcumin or an antidepressant found that both groups reported similar results, thanks to an ability to help boost serotonin and dopamine, two of the brain's most important neurotransmitters.
As if that wasn’t enough to earn superfood status, one German study found that consuming curcumin may be useful in preventing prostate cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Aussie men. Other studies have found that turmeric may also prevent heart disease, other forms of cancer, and even kill bacteria or viruses, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Oh, you thought we were done with this miracle ingredient? Maaate, not even close. Our friends at Women’s Health have done even more digging, finding this study that found 4 grams of curcumin a day for 30 days reduced the amount of colon lesions (which can sometimes turn cancerous) by 40 percent.
But reader beware (!), before loading up on turmeric, keep in mind exactly what you’re eating or drinking it with. Heading to Starbucks and ordering a turmeric latte will probably deliver you an added sugar hit that will easily outweigh the benefits of our new obsession. Stick to fresh recipes and drinks with natural ingredients.
“Whenever we read about something that has so many promises, we should pause, because there’s no one food or spice or herb that is the end all,” advises Keri Gans, R.D, and author of The Small Change Diet when talking to MH. “It comes down to eating a balanced diet.”
Be right back, sculling a bottle of turmeric ginger Tonic Alchemy and chasing those health gains ASAP.