Most mornings I like to walk down to my local Joe & the Juice and get my favorite drink: Joe’s Identity. Except that I swap out the spinach for turmeric.
Turmeric is one of nature’s most powerful (and hidden) medicines. This vibrant yellow spice, which is popular in many curry dishes, may help with issues ranging from arthritis to diabetes.
Before I continue, in case you ever wondered about the difference between turmeric and curcumin, here’s the skinny on that: curcumin is a naturally-occurring chemical found in turmeric, and turmeric is the actual yellow spice you use on your food.
There are over 11,000 studies (at the time of this writing) citing countless benefits of turmeric. Of course, there is no such thing as a one-stop miracle cure. But it’s rare to find something this healthy that also makes food taste so good!
Of course, turmeric and it’s most touted and studied compound, curcumin, offers quite a bit more than a colorful and delicious meal. It can even help you burn fat.
Trust me, there’s plenty here to be excited about.
Remember doctor’s orders to take Aspirin and Ibuprofen to fight inflammation? Well, according to a study published in Oncogene curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric is actually MORE effective than both of these when it comes to fighting off inflammation. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15489888)
Why should you worry about inflammation? Well in many cases inflammation can be good. It is your body’s intelligent response to injury and illness.
Papercuts happen. Paper cuts heal. Happy inflammation.
However, the typical diet and lifestyle of the average person cause all kinds of damage that the body responds too but is not able to completely heal.
It’s like giving yourself a paper cut in the same spot day after day, year after year.
This kind of damage can cause all sorts of problems and worsen other ones. Including, but not limited to:
- Ulcerative Colitis
I mention these things not to scare you, but to realize how bad inflammation can be so you can fix it. It’s never too late to break free of bad habits and replace them with new better ones.
Adding turmeric to your diet is one of those better habits.
Perhaps the most surprising benefit of the use of curcumin as medicine has been for treatment of depression. There are many different studies that show support for relieving symptoms of depression in animals.
The studies involving humans are much more interesting though.
One six-week study pits fluoxetine (you may know it as Prozac) against curcumin using 60 volunteers with depression. The results were staggering.
Curcumin-treated symptoms of depression just as well as fluoxetine and, considering the price of medicine and potential side effects, I’d say curcumin comes out ahead. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23832433)
Other studies pit curcumin directly against a placebo, with promising results. More studies should be done with larger sample sizes, and varying doses of curcumin, before saying for sure that curcumin can completely replace all SSRIs. But in the meantime, there is no harm in seasoning your morning eggs with turmeric to perk up your morning.
This is what you’ve been waiting for. How can adding turmeric to your diet help you burn fat?
I mentioned obesity earlier as a side-effect of chronic inflammation, so by fighting inflammation with turmeric, you are fighting obesity. But there’s more.
SO much more…
Turmeric can help regulate your metabolism and is a good source of fiber and resistant starch, which feeds a healthy gut-microbiome (important for weight loss).
[Note:…you can link this to the microbiome article here
Perhaps the most interesting development is the ability of turmeric to aid in the growth of new adipose tissue. Specifically, the kind that stores brown fat.
White adipose tissues store fat and may be the bane of our existence. But these brown fat adipose tissues are different and will actually aid your weight-loss journey.
These tissues turn the food you eat into heat and consume a large amount of glucose and lipids. This large amount of heat and consumption turns your formally resource-storing white adipose tissue into fat burning resources.
How To Get The Most Out Of Turmeric
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the benefits that turmeric and curcumin have to offer, but hopefully, it is enough to convince you to add it to your diet.
Well, turmeric is a wonderfully versatile spice that can add a kick to just about anything. Here are a few ideas:
- Roasted vegetables
- Turmeric tea
- Cauliflower rice
Oh, and for more ideas on how to use your cauliflower rice (including making a guilt-free pizza) check out my podcast.
A Word On Supplements
What if you can’t stand curry or just want the benefits without having to cook with it? You can still reap these amazing benefits with a supplement.
However, because the market for supplements is looser with their specifications than many medications there are some pitfalls to avoid to ensure you don’t buy snake oil.
Turmeric root powder, for example, contains much less curcumin than standardized turmeric extract. It’s not even close: 2% curcuminoids vs. 95% curcuminoids for the standardized turmeric extract.
You’ll also want to make sure your supplement contains black pepper or bioperine. It should say one of these things on the label. This ingredient helps dramatically with the absorption of curcumin in your body.
A quality supplement will have a certificate of analysis. If you are curious about a supplement, this certificate will help you see what is contained in the product and is conducted by a 3rd party lab.
Turmeric and curcumin have enough data behind it to show you could dramatically improve your health by using it.
If you are looking to fight inflammation, obesity, or depression the use of turmeric is especially helpful…and at the risk of sounding like a breakfast commercial, it is part of a well-balanced breakfast.
Even if you can’t add this spice to your diet you can still reap all the amazing benefits by including a quality turmeric daily supplement.