As an active individual, you create stress on your body during periods of intense exercise. While this stress is a necessary part of building endurance and strength, it also stimulates a short period of inflammation. Inflammation is a general term used to describe a state of stress in the body that may also be related to infection, chronic disease and obesity. So, what can be done to help reduce the inflammatory state in exercisers?
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Take a look at the spice turmeric (active form equals curcumin). Turmeric originates in Chinese and Indian cultures for not only its vibrant yellow flavor and appealing flavor in their cuisines, but also for its medicinal properties to alleviate inflammation in the body. Nowadays, research on turmeric supports its use for being a safe method to reduce inflammatory markers in the body. Turmeric is now also linked to being an ailment for inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer prevention.
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How do all of these health claims relate specifically to being active?
First, fighting inflammation in the body will provide relief to your working muscles. In fact, studies have proven its effectiveness on recovery from eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Secondly, it may help to improve digestion to reduce an irritated stomach or bowel that may result from exercise-induced stress. Lastly, it’s a safe addition to many recipes.
Here are five ways to use turmeric into your diet:
- Mix a teaspoon into brown rice or couscous to season complex carbs.
- Sprinkle it in egg salad or deviled eggs for a brightened yellow color.
- Make your own salad dressing with about 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric added to olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper.
- Top it on vegetables before roasting them (i.e. sweet potatoes, cauliflower, russet potatoes…)
- Stir it into your favorite stir-fry dish to season your protein and vegetables.
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