Why Athletes Should Treat Inflammation with Turmeric

Turmeric has long been touted as a magical healing root, known to treat ailments such as arthritis, alzheimer’s, depression and even cancer. 

A lesser known use of the plant is inflammation control, something extreme athletes need to keep in mind.

Inflammation is a broad term for your body’s response to stress. These stressors can include physical strains like sprains, bruising or over-worked muscles, food allergies, toxicity drawn from the environment, emotional stress and exposure to bacteria. Regardless of the trigger, the result is the same: your body blasts your immune system on high to fight off whatever is stressing it out. This battle is called inflammation. 

While this sounds great—our body is taking care of itself like the amazing self-automating machine it is—inflammation has a verity of side effects that can be painful, uncomfortable or long-lasting, and often our bodies don’t know when to stop fighting back. As a result, some of our healthy bacteria or tissue can be damaged, or our body can be plagued by larger issues.

For athletes, repetitive physical stress is what tends to cause inflammation in the body. Tough practices, long hours of physical activity and emotional pressure placed on games and matches can all lead to inflammation. Over time, this reaction can lead to illness, exhaustion, muscle degradation or long-standing issues like arthritis and tendonitis.

So where does turmeric step in?

“Tumeric, specifically curcumin—which is the active compound in turmeric—has been shown to have properties that may aid in controlling inflammation and therefore help with pain,” says Dr. Charles Srour, a practicing chiropractor and founder of Dox Supplements . Srour notes that positive results have been seen in people with tendonitis, arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

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But why is turmeric so important for athletes and the extremely active?

“By helping support the body’s inflammation levels, it is a valuable supplement for those active in sport,” explains Srour. “The repetitive trauma caused by athletic training causes inflammation and pain that can be controlled with curcumin.”

So how should athletes incorporate turmeric into their diets? While it’s nice to toss the root into soups and smoothies, Dr. Srour suggests that athletes take curcumin in supplement form. Why? On its own, turmeric is not always digested in full, which means the healing compounds may not be readily available. In addition, Srour notes, the active compound curcumin exists in only a small percent in turmeric, so one would have to consume an impossible amount through food to get the desired effect.

Other than high-endurance athletes, anyone with inflammatory issues can benefit from curcumin, as well as anyone trying to actively prevent heart disease or cancer.

While many other food sources can treat inflammation (try broccoli, pineapple and ginger – all in a juice, perhaps?) nothing takes the stage quite like turmeric.

Below are a few recipes featuring the earthy, colorful root.

 

106 comments

Mike R
Mike R5 months ago

Thanks

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Peggy B
Peggy B5 months ago

TYFS

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hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD5 months ago

tyfs

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Ruth S
Ruth S5 months ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S5 months ago

Thanks.

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Sue H
Sue H5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Berenice Guedes
Berenice Guedes d5 months ago

Thanks for sharing!!

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O5 months ago

when I was an athlete I did not get inflammation. Maybe something is wrong with your training.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O5 months ago

th

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hELEN h
hELEN hEARFIELD5 months ago

tyfs

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