Many runners use painkillers such as Ibuprofen or Advil on a daily basis. Some runners believe taking these nsaids will help diminish muscle soreness or help them recover faster between hard workouts. However there are studies indicating taking nsaids before a workout or frequently between workouts do not offer any benefit and maybe causing intestinal leekage, which actually results in higher levels of systemic inflammation. In other words, if you takensaids frequently you may have higher levels of inflammation. Animal studies have shown that nsaids also interfere with the ability of muscles to rebuild themselves post workout.

An option for runners to replace nsaids is Tumeric. Tumeric is a superfood made up of curcumin compounds which have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

According to a still current 2004 study published in Oncogene by Takada and associates, (there are over 9,000 peer reviewed Pubmed studies on the effectiveness of Tumeric for various disorders), Tumeric is a potent anti-inflammatory as effective as ibuprofen or other nsaids. The studies say it is comparable to corticosteroids in effectiveness but without the nasty side effects. The arthritis foundation reports Tumeric can provide long term improvement in pain and function for those with osteoarthritis. Their suggested dose is one capsule (400-600mg) 3 x day or 0.5 to 1 gram of powdered Tumeric root up to 3 grams per day (3grams of Tumeric is ~ 1 tsp).

To optimize absorption add in black pepper or look for a supplement which includes it. Black pepper increases Tumeric absorption by 2000%. Also since Tumeric is fat soluable its bio-availability is enhanced when cooked with fat such as coconut oil or when taken in pill form with a fat such as full fat coconut milk.

Here are five ways to use Tumeric into your diet:

  • Drink Tumeric-based tea every morning.
  • Making Indian style foods made with Tumeric.
  • Make a post workout smoothie that includes Tumeric and blackpepper.
  • Mix a teaspoon into brown rice or grain of choice for seasoning. Sprinkle it in egg salad or deviled eggs. 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 vegetables.
  • Take a high quality Tumeric supplement.

For more scientific health benefits on Tumeric and why runners need it see here and here and here.

Tumeric inhibits inflammation at the molecular level, is all natural and is more powerful than some synthetic drugs. I prefer natural vs synthetic any day. If you want to take your running performance to the next level and decrease your recovery times between hard workouts, give Tumeric a try. Your body will thank you for it.

Nicole Hunt Speed
Endurance Coaching
Please contact me anytime with questions