As an athlete you are constantly looking for all the ways to optimize your performance. Lift heavier weights, sprint faster, recovery faster and ultimately DO MORE WORK FASTER.
Despite a plethora of supplements out there, Turmeric is one that you should not ignore – particularly if you are looking to improve your functional fitness.
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Turmeric is a bright yellow colored herbaceous rhizome (root) belonging to the ginger family native to the Himalayan mountains.
Turmeric has a long list of health benefits because of its medicinal properties and nutritional value. It has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and therefore can be used in many forms.
Here are the top 5 ways that adding Turmeric in your diet today, can help you reach your training goals and, ultimately, your maximum human performance.
1. It is a Powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
The foremost reason to use turmeric in almost any health condition is its anti-inflammatory property.
Curcumin is the compound in turmeric that has potent anti-inflammatory property. As an anti-inflammatory agent, it inhibits the activity of nuclear factor kappa B- the master protein that regulates inflammatory process.
Like conventional anti-inflammatory agents, it inhibits the activity of inflammatory enzymes such as COX and LOX. Additionally, it inhibits the activity of various inflammatory chemicals and proteins such as TNF-alpha, interleukin etc.
One advantage over conventional anti-inflammatory agents is that turmeric does not cause gastric side effects. Curcumin free turmeric is also found to have anti-inflammatory property.
2. It improves digestion and stomach health.
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action is found to protect the digestive tract from bacterial infections.
Traditional medicine states that turmeric is a carminative- it helps in relieving bloating. Turmeric is an effective digestive aid.
3. Turmeric benefits in weight loss.
Turmeric has anti-obesity property- it prevents fat deposit and improves metabolic health. Additionally, The metabolic disturbance caused in the body by obesity is linked to the depressive behavior in individuals. These disturbances include inflammatory signals, insulin resistance and hormonal disorders. In turn, Turmeric is known for its anti-depressant like activity.
4. It is a natural painkiller.
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory property contributes to its painkiller property. Its inhibitory action on inflammatory chemicals like prostaglandins and interleukins helps in reducing pain.
Additionally, curcumin is also found to relieve neuropathic pain which is similar to pins and needles sensation.
Even turmeric oil has analgesic properties and research shows that its painkiller properties are comparable to aspirin
5. It protects DNA from damage
Turmeric and curcumin have genoprotective property- they protect cellular DNA from damage. However, curcumin plays a dual role in DNA damage.
In case of cancerous cells, curcumin induces DNA damage and sensitizes cells to chemotherapeutic agents.
However, this is not the case with normal cells. A study shows that by virtue of its antioxidant property, aqueous turmeric extract offers 80% protection from DNA damage.
This means that your recovery is optimized for cellular repair after exercise.
No matter your training goals or what sport your participate in, Turmeric has immediate benefits that every athlete should take advantage of.