Post-Op Pain? Try Spicy Turmeric for Relief

If you’re one of the millions of people who undergo surgery every year and are looking for a way to minimize pain and the use of pharmaceutical painkillers, we may have found a new solution: turmeric.

Turmeric is an Indian spice that contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound.  It was recently reported that curcumin has been shown to have anti-cancer properties as well as helpful in providing relief from the pain of digestive diseases, such as Crohn’s. And now, you may be able to add alleviating post-operative pain to the list of curcumin’s wondrous abilities. In this randomized controlled study, subjects who had just undergone gallbladder removal surgery were given 500 mg of curcumin every six hours along with their prescribed analgesic medications, or a placebo. The group given the curcumin was in less pain and also felt less fatigue than the others. This study was very small, with only 50 participants, so larger studies need to be done before definitive recommendations can be made.

Curcumin is available in supplement form but can also be found in the spice rack. And generally the turmeric root is between 3 to 5 percent curcumin. This means that to ingest 500 mg of curcumin, you need to eat around 10 g of turmeric or 1.5 tbsp. of the spice.  Not sure how to do this?

  • Sprinkle turmeric into homemade vinaigrettes for a curry salad dressing.
  • Add it to your omelet or scrambled eggs in the morning.
  • Add spice to your favorite condiment by throwing in a dash of turmeric.
  • Turmeric adds richness to dishes containing hearty vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli or even on grilled meats.
  • Check out these recipes from Saveur Magazine for Eggplant with Turmeric and Yogurt and Chicken Satay.

Happy spicing!


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