Exercise is critical part of healthy living and incorporating it to our daily routine has been proven to provide a wide array of health benefits. Among them are:
- Flushes out toxins from the body through increased circulation and sweat
- Promotes weight loss
- Improves sleep patterns
- Reduces stress levels and anxiety
- Reduces the risk for having a stroke
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Increases circulation and oxygen levels
- Prevents osteoarthritis and strengthens the bones
However, as much beneficial exercise is, it can cause an injury in case it isn’t done properly. Sometimes, the person may even experience cramps or muscle fatigue, which occurs when the muscles are exhausted from the workout.
There are three stages of muscle response to exercise and all of the include body`s response to stress, known as inflammation. While inflammation is natural process and it`s a good thing, chronic inflammation causes more harm than good, as it may lead to permanent damage to our muscles and joints.
This is when turmeric steps in! Its active ingredient, called curcumin, has been shown to reduce inflammation by blocking it at cellular level and deactivating the gene responsible for inflammation in the first place. Simply put, anyone who exercises on a regular basis will benefit from adding turmeric into their daily diet. As a matter of fact, many professional athletes are using it to boost their workouts and enhance their athletic performance.
Why Turmeric Can be Effective as an Hour of Exercise
Apart from the benefits outlined above, studies show that eating pinch of turmeric is as effective as an hour of exercise when it comes to cardiovascular health. Specifically, a study published in Nutrition Research has found that eating turmeric or taking turmeric supplements provides the same effects as getting an hour of jogging or brisk walking.
The effects were especially notable in menopausal women for whom heart health can become problematic.
The study involved 32 women who were divided into three groups:
- A non-treatment control
The participants in the curcumin group were given 150 mg turmeric extract daily, for eight weeks, supplying 25 mg of curcumin. It is worth mentioning that their diet and exercise routine remained unchanged during the study.
Those in the exercise group exercised more than three times a week (two or three supervised sessions and home-based training).
During the study period, the participants underwent 30-60 minute long sessions, ranging from 60 percent of their individually determined maximal heart rate in the first phase to 70-75 percent maximal heart rate in the second half.
At the end of the study, it was noted that the function of endothelial cells, which line the inner surface of blood vessels, was improved in both curcimin and exercise groups, compared to the control group.
As concluded by the researchers, “The present study showed that regular ingestion of curcumin or regular aerobic exercise training significantly improved endothelial function. The magnitude of improvement in endothelial function to the same extent, suggesting that curcumin may prevent the age-associated decline in endothelial function in postmenopausal women.”
Note: To reap the same benefits, you will need to take a teaspoon of turmeric a day or get turmeric extract capsules and take 150 mg of the extract daily.