Turmeric & Ginger: Can Root Vegetables Improve Your Health?

Turmeric and Ginger are two roots that are both often used in Asian cuisine.

Turmeric has been used medically for almost 4000 years in India. (1) Ginger has also been cultivated for thousands of years by people in Southeast Asia before being brought to Europe by the Romans.

You’re probably already familiar with the burning taste of ginger root, but turmeric root is less common outside of Asian grocery stores. Turmeric root looks similar to ginger, but when you cut it open, the inside is bright yellowish-orange.

Both these herbs have enormous benefits for your overall health due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

To maximize the benefits of these two roots, you may want to consider taking them in supplement form. Not only does taking a supplement offer a more convenient way to reap the benefits of these foods, but it also allows you to take much higher dosages.

Keep reading to find out what these roots can do for you and why you should include BioPerine when taking these herbs.

Turmeric is a Powerful Antioxidant

Turmeric spice is so brightly colored that it can be used to dye clothing yellow. Most natural foods that have bright-colored skin contain high amounts of antioxidants.

Turmeric is no exception.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric responsible for its bright color. When you take turmeric in supplement form, you’re getting a concentrated amount of curcumin.

Research shows that regular consumption of foods high in antioxidants, like turmeric, reduces metabolic damage in your body. (2) Regular antioxidant consumption may also reduce your risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.

If you want to keep your skin looking young and healthy late into your life, the antioxidants found in curcumin may help. Years of exposure to UV light from the sun can damage your skin and cause spots. You should still wear sunscreen to protect yourself from direct exposure to sunlight. However, research shows that taking an oral turmeric supplement can improve the appearance of your skin. (3)

Turmeric Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Curcumin also has potent anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is a leading cause of many metabolic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. (4)

Inflammation can also aggravate joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.  

The benefits of taking curcumin supplements for osteoarthritis pain are well-documented. In a study published in 2010, researchers in Italy gave participants with osteoarthritis 1000mg of curcumin supplement per day. Over eight months, the participants had significant reductions in pain. (4)

Turmeric Reduces Cancer Risk

Curcumin supplementation may have a particular benefit for colon cancer.

A study published in Cancer Preventative Research examined the effects of curcumin supplementation on aberrant crypt foci (changes in the colon with the potential to become cancerous). (5) Participants who took 4g of curcumin per day had a significant reduction in the number of these abnormalities.

Turmeric root only contains about 3% curcumin, which means you have to eat a ton of turmeric to get the amount of curcumin used in research studies.

In fact, if you want to take in the 500mg of curcumin often used as a research dose, you would have to eat 16.67g of turmeric root or spice per day. Even if curry or other turmeric-dense foods are a staple in your diet, it’s impractical to believe you can eat almost two kilograms of turmeric per day.  

Turmeric supplements often contain up to 95% concentrated curcumin.

The Pain-Relieving Benefits of Ginger

Ginger is a common ingredient in the food of many Asian cultures. You’re probably familiar with the intense burning aftertaste that ginger gives you when you eat it.

The burning sensation that you get from ginger is caused by its active ingredient called gingerol.

Like the curcumin found in turmeric, gingerol is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which is why they make a great combination.

If you suffer from osteoarthritis or joint pain, you may want to consider doubling down on a turmeric and ginger supplement. A study published in Denmark examined the pain-relieving effects of ginger compared to ibuprofen for osteoarthritis. (6) The researchers concluded that taking 510mg of ginger per day was nearly as effective as taking ibuprofen.  

Ginger Reduces Inflammation and Appetite

Research also supports that ginger can improve your risk of developing heart disease and cancer by reducing inflammation.

A study published in 2011 examined the effect of giving participants at risk for colon cancer 2g of ginger per day. (7) Over 28 days, the researchers found that participants had significantly lower markers of inflammation and concluded that ginger may be useful for preventing colon cancer.

In a pilot study examining the benefits of ginger for dulling appetite, researchers gave overweight men 2g of ginger per day dissolved in water. The researchers found that participants in the study who ate ginger reported less hunger after eating a muffin for breakfast. (8)

Taking Advantage of Turmeric and Ginger

You don’t need to settle for either the benefits of ginger or turmeric. There’s no reason why you can’t have both. Try including both of these foods either as roots, powders, or supplements.

The advantage of taking these herbs as supplements is that you can get much higher dosages than you can get from the roots alone. If you decide to take a turmeric supplement, it’s a good idea to make sure it includes BioPerine for its ability to increase absorption.

No one food can make your diet healthy, but by consuming these two herbs regularly, you can decrease inflammation, up your antioxidant intake, and hopefully improve your overall health.

Increase Curcumin Absorption with BioPerine

BioPerine is a trademarked name of piperine, a chemical found in black pepper.

Consuming piperine increases the bioavailability of curcumin by inhibiting certain enzymes in your body. (9) It’s also thought that piperine can also increase the process of thermogenesis (the release of heat due to increased metabolism) in your body. (10)

While including black pepper in your diet for its high nutrient-density is a good idea, it might not have a huge effect on curcumin absorption because of the low dosage.

Quick Disclaimer

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. Readers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither the author(s) nor the publisher of this content take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All readers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

Sources


1. Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Turmeric, the Golden Spice: From Traditional Medicine to Modern Medicine. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 13.


2. Halliwell B. Antioxidants in human health and disease. Annu Rev Nutr. 1996;16:33-50.


3. Vaughn AR - Phytother Res (2016) Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence.pdf


4. Lontchi-yimagou E, Sobngwi E, Matsha TE, Kengne AP. Diabetes mellitus and inflammation. Curr Diab Rep. 2013;13(3):435-44.


5. Carroll RE, Benya RV, Turgeon DK, et al. Phase IIa clinical trial of curcumin for the prevention of colorectal neoplasia. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011;4(3):354-64.


6. Bliddal H, Rosetzsky A, Schlichting P, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study of ginger extracts and ibuprofen in osteoarthritis. Osteoarthr Cartil. 2000;8(1):9-12.


7. Zick SM, Turgeon DK, Vareed SK, et al. Phase II study of the effects of ginger root extract on eicosanoids in colon mucosa in people at normal risk for colorectal cancer. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011;4(11):1929-37.


8. Mansour MS, Ni YM, Roberts AL, Kelleman M, Roychoudhury A, St-onge MP. Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: a pilot study. Metab Clin Exp. 2012;61(10):1347-52.


9. Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998;64(4):353-6.


10. Outlaw J, Wilborn C, Smith A, et al. Effects of ingestion of a commercially available thermogenic dietary supplement on resting energy expenditure, mood state and cardiovascular measures. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013;10(1):25.

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