Most Indian homes have given turmeric a place of pride in the kitchen cupboard, not just for its curry flavoring properties but also for the several medicinal benefits it brings. Used as a medicinal herb in the country for centuries, turmeric has been proven to reduce inflammation, be a great antioxidant and even lessen the risk of type 2 diabetes. In the case of runners and endurance athletes, some of these properties can be particularly essential. Here’s why you should make this versatile space a part of your everyday diet.
Part of the ginger root family, turmeric is made up of curcumin compounds which have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the body. For runners specifically, inflamed joints and muscles are a frequent result of pounding pavement for miles on end. Inflammation can stem from issues such as diet, lifestyle choices, digestive issues, and chronic conditions, including heart disease or diabetes. Consuming turmeric post-run can either curb or alleviate the pain as effectively as some anti-inflammatory drugs.
The compound curcumin is effective in neutralising ‘free radicals’ – the by-products of metabolism and unhealthy lifestyle choices that can lead to diseases such as cancer. Curcumin is also known for preventing cases of type 2 diabetes amongst people who were at risk of the disease.
According to Alzheimer’s Society, curcumin has been shown to break down amyloid-beta plaques (a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease) in lab-based studies. Turmeron, another chemical in turmeric, has been shown to stimulate stem cells to make new brain cells, which in theory could help with neurodegenerative conditions.
Turmeric is known to reduce chances of heart attaches, especially for runners who have undergone bypass surgeries in the recent past. The spice helps in easy blood flood to the muscles, bringing down the risk of damage to heart muscles as well.
Turmeric is truly beneficial to our gastro-intestinal and immune systems. Research studies have shown that turmeric helps in releasing of bile which is believed to help in digestion of food. It further helps cure an upset stomach by keeping stomach acids neutralized and also prevents diarrhoea and heartburn. Using turmeric regularly can help your immune system stay strong, and reduce chances of catching common colds, viral or more serious diseases.
If you are not a fan of the flavour of haldi, there are supplements available that can give you a measured dosage of the spice. However, if you’re on an Indian diet through most of the week, you’re possibly getting your fair share already.