How turmeric can make athletes invincible

By Ea Francisco | Photo by Pratiksha Mohanty/Unsplash

Food trends aren’t uncommon for an athlete. More and more exotic herbs and spices are starting to show their health benefits. We all have our fair share of beneficial plants, but there’s a South Asian spice that’s gaining traction in the fitness community.

Turmeric is a plant from the ginger family that is used to make curry. The roots of turmeric are widely used in medicine, but the main component that is beneficial to athletes is curcumin. This is the primary source of turmeric’s health benefits.

Recovery and Injury Prevention

Triathletes undergo a lot of stress from training and races, and these can cause inflammation. While acute or short term inflammation in itself isn’t that bad, excessive or chronic inflammation results in injury and other problems in the body. For a triathlete, this could mean poor recovery, poor performance, and increased muscle injuries like plantar fasciitis.

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that may work even better than pharmaceutical medicine. It inhibits certain enzymes so it won’t reach chronic levels. According to a 2015 study, consuming turmeric before a workout alleviates fatigue and offsets exercise-induced muscle damages. It can also reduce joint pain from arthritis and improve overall mobility.

Improved Digestion

Turmeric has antioxidants that stimulate the gallbladder to release bile, which helps break down food for digestion. Its anti-inflammatory qualities can prevent certain digestive problems like ulcerative colitis, indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea. Further studies also show that curcumin stays longer in the digestive tract and helps alleviate gastrointestinal problems like gas and bloating. This can help any stomach issues a triathlete may experience before and during race day.

Some people take turmeric as supplements or in powder form, but you can easily add it to your meals if you can find it in markets. It’s a natural food with important benefits, so why not give it a try the next time you encounter it.