Turmeric tea is a tea made from the spice turmeric, which contains the active ingredient ‘curcumin’. Turmeric is found in a lot of food and especially curry, where it replaces saffron thanks to its similar taste and cheaper price. Moreover, however, turmeric is also enjoyed for its great many different health benefits. It has long been used traditionally for a number of purported remedies, but today science is demonstrating that many of these benefits stand up to testing. In fact, turmeric may be even more beneficial than we at first realized!
Turmeric is available in a range of forms, but one of the best ways to enjoy it is as a warming tea. Turmeric tea is brewed using pure root or powder and is thought to be one of the best ways to get the full benefits.
In this post, we’ll look at
1. It’s More Bioavailable
Studies demonstrate that adults can safely consume 400-600mg of turmeric a day at least – and in all likelihood that number should be higher. For specific conditions, taking more may well be advisable.
The problem is that turmeric is not highly bioavailable.
That means that when you consume it, there’s no guarantee that the body will utilize enough of it in order to get the full benefits. This is part of the challenge when using turmeric supplements – ensuring that enough of the active ingredient is made useable by the body.
Drinking the tea is thought to be one of the best ways to ensure that your body can actually make use of the substance. Consuming pipperin supplements along with curcumin may be one other method, but of the two, the tea is certainly the more readily available to most of us, and the more delicious!
2. It Boosts Brain Function
The number of health benefits that turmeric offer is quite staggering and this will be apparent as we go through this list.
But what’s also impressive is that turmeric is performance-enhancing. In other words, it can help to keep you well and to prevent you from becoming ill… but it can also help to improve your body and brain to a point that is better than the baseline!
This is particularly true of your cognitive performance. Turmeric will increase bloodflow to the brain by widening the brains and the arteries (it is a vasodilator) and this will help you feel more awake and focussed. At the same time, turmeric may be able to reduce brain fog by fighting inflammation and some studies even suggest that it is a powerful agent for increase brain plasticity.
Brain plasticity is the formation of new neurons and neural connections in response to learning. Turmeric appears to accomplish this by increasing BDNF – a neuropeptide that correlates with increased dopamine and can also enhance focus, energy, and mood.
3. It Builds Muscle
You’d think that would be enough reason to add turmeric to your diet, but there’s more! Turmeric can also help to build muscle by increasing bloodflow. In this way, it works similarly to a pre-workout to increase the amount of blood and oxygen the muscles get during recovery.
At the same time, turmeric will also increase your muscle mass by elevating testosterone. Several studies have shown a link between testosterone and turmeric use, and as any bodybuilder or athlete knows, testosterone is the principal anabolic hormone and responsible for building muscle, burning fat, and generally increasing your strength and recovery.
Finally, turmeric has been shown to lower cortisol. This can help to protect muscle from degradation, especially in response to a lack of protein and training. That’s because an increase in cortisol is correlated with an increase in myostatin – with myostatin being a molecule that triggers the body to break down muscle and use it for energy.
This explains why turmeric is increasingly finding its way into bodybuilding supplements and onto health blogs!
4. It Burns Fat
Turmeric can also help to encourage fat burning. It does this at least partly by reducing the production of enzymes (chemical catalysts) that the body uses in order to create fat cells. In other words, it prevents the body from being able to create new fat stores – which as you can imagine will lead to weight loss!
Turmeric may also increase insulin sensitivity. This means that it will improve the body’s ability to use energy that is in its system. This has also been shown to help increase weight loss, by reducing the amount of ‘leftover’ calories that the body will turn into fat.
5. It Increases Energy
Too many of us these days feel burned out and low on energy as a default setting. This is due predominantly to the simple fact that most of us are too in demand, do too much, and are constantly focussed and aroused by technology and the demands of work.
Fortunately, turmeric may just be able to improve your energy levels and thereby help you to cope with these demands. Turmeric is able to do all this for a few reasons.
Firstly, we have already seen that turmeric is able to cause vasodilation and thereby enable blood and oxygen to get around the body more easily. Athletes will often use similar compounds during a competition in order to increase their energy levels during endurance tests.
At the same time, turmeric can also increase the ability to use insulin, thereby helping us to get more from the carbohydrates in our diet.
Finally, turmeric may help to combat adrenal fatigue by improving the ratio of testosterone to cortisol. This is actually one of the key measures that coaches will use to test their athlete’s recovery.
6. It Improves Stomach/Gut Health
There are several ways in which turmeric may help to improve the gut and stomach. It has been shown for instance to help restore damaged stomach lining, which may in turn reduce the likelihood of infection and prevent a range of other stomach related issues.
More interesting is that turmeric is also able to increase the population of healthy bacteria in the stomach. Not all bacteria are bad – in fact some bacteria are necessary for many of our health functions. The healthy ‘gut flora’ that lives in our stomach is used not only to help us break down and make use of food but also to produce a number of key neurotransmitters and hormones and to kill off unwanted bad bacteria.
Improving gut flora has actually been demonstrated in several studies to be a powerful tool for increasing energy levels, mood, and weight.
7. It Has Anti-Cancer Benefit
Turmeric is also powerful as an agent for preventing cancer. Again, this actually works through a number of different mechanisms. For one, turmeric is packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize the effects of free radicals in the body. A free radical is a reactive molecule that can damage cells in contact. In the short term, this can lead to a build-up of damage that eventually causes the appearance of visible wrinkles and lines.
In the long term, free radicals can end up breaking through the cell walls and to the DNA, where they can cause permanent mutations. These mutations are then replicated each time the cell splits and divides via mitosis and eventually this can lead to cancerous tumors.
What’s more though, is that turmeric has been shown to directly combat clusters of cancerous cells – and even to be effective against some that don’t respond to other treatments.
8. It Reduces Inflammation
One of the primary uses for turmeric tea is as a remedy for arthritis and joint pain. That’s thanks to the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric. Not only is turmeric used in order to reduce inflammation through its vasodilatory effects (it widens blood vessels to transport built-up fluids away from swollen areas) but it is also able to block signals from the body that trigger inflammation.
This means it can reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines and that in turn may be useful for preventing inflammation all throughout the body. This could also be useful for people suffering from brain fog and depression – both of which have been linked with inflammation in the brain.
9. It Improves Mood
As you can see then, turmeric may be very useful for combating depression thanks to its ability to reduce brain inflammation. At the same time, it can also improve the mood thanks to its ability to raise serotonin (the feel-good hormone) and to reduce cortisol. This makes it an effective anxiolytic, which is a substance used to reduce stress.
Finally, because turmeric improves cortical blood flow, this may also be able to increase the mood and help you to feel more energetic and uplifted. In short, it’s very possible that turmeric could be a powerful agent for boosting your mood and helping you to feel your very best.
And then there’s the fact that the tea itself is warming, soothing and comforting!