Following on from my last post, about how to ease aching muscles, I’m making myself feel even better about being sore post-exercise (and feeling old), by reading up about the inflammatory effects of too much exercise. Yes…you read that correctly, exercise can cause inflammation, if you over do it – even though moderate exercise is widely touted for it’s healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits (especially the effect sweating can have on your skin).
Turmeric has come up again, and again as an anti-inflammatory. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial actions, along with hypoglycaemic (decreasing blood sugar) and wound-healing properties. Anti-cancer properties have also been found, with curcumin being shown to affect the same targets as chemotherapy in some studies.
Inflammation is a causative factor in countless diseases and conditions, and this study even recommends curcumin as a safe and cheap way to reduce symptoms of Crohn’s disease, along with conventional treatment. Lack of sleep, too much sugar and just generally not taking care of yourself can lead to increased inflammation – so including turmeric in your diet can be an easy way to reduce it.
Turmeric is also a common ingredient in DIY face masks – its anti-inflammatory effects are great for calming down acne, while it also targets hyperpigmentation. You might want stick to buying face masks with turmeric in them though, as home made ones can leave you with a deep Essex glow (and from personal experience, it takes a while to fade – not the best beauty prep for an event or night out!).
You can add it to curries and stir fries, but I drink it in a tea/hot water as I don’t get the chance to cook as often as I would like to. I aim to take in 2 teaspoons a day, one in the morning and one at night, in warm water with honey and lemon, as turmeric by itself is not so palatable. I definitely recommend using a straw, unless you’re a fan of orange-tinged teeth. Have you ever tried turmeric? If you have any other ideas about how to add it to your diet, I’d love to hear them.