If you participate in competitive sports or even if you are just a fitness aficionado, you know that optimizing performance is one of the best things you could do.
However, while exercise is good for overall health, it places a lot of stress on the body. Regular strenuous activity when preparing for a competition or from pushing yourself to the limits can result in pain and inflammation.
Over time, the inflammation and pain can become chronic that you may be forced to reduce or even cut out all exercise. Most athletes resort to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which can be quite effective in the short term.
However, prolonged use of these drugs can result in uncomfortable side effects. On the other hand, turmeric and sports may just be one of the best combinations, as the root is touted to have magical healing properties.
The following are some of the ways athletes can benefit from using turmeric.
1. Turmeric Helps Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s most effective response to stressors. As a high-performance athlete, such stressors would be something like overworked muscles, bruising, sprains, and emotional stress among many others.
When your body is under any stress the body will turn on the immune system that typically results in swelling and pain, soreness, feeling tired and groggy. This is what is referred to as inflammation.
Inflammation is good for the body as it helps fight foreign invaders and repairs the body. However, chronic inflammation that is long lasting can be uncomfortable and painful that it would be impossible to function.
The Curcumin in turmeric works to stop inflammation in the body as it matches and in some instances exceeds the effects of drugs such as NSAIDs, but without the terrible side effects.
The orange color in the turmeric is the Curcumin which fights inflammation at the molecular level getting rid of any harmful molecules and getting you back to your normal self.
2. Turmeric Increases Focus And Makes You Smarter
Strenuous exercise can cause you to become groggy, tired and with no mental focus. Most sports require mental focus if you are to perform at the top levels. As such, you cannot afford to function below those levels.
After exercise, you will typically suffer from reduced neuroplasticity that can reduce your belief in yourself and in your capacity to solve and overcome problems.
While old school thought believed that brain power and neuron generation peaks at a certain age, the curcumin in turmeric has been shown to be effective at increasing brain power.
Curcumin works to stimulate the production of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is one of the most important growth hormones that play a huge role in cognition, memory and overall brain function.
By taking curcumin you can better understand and master and improve on your athletic skills. You will also have the focus and clarity to concentrate and perform at the highest levels on the court, on the mats or on the field.
3. Turmeric is an Antioxidant
Oxidation mostly from free radicals in the body is the leading cause of aging. Oxidation for you as an athlete can result in anything from stiff joints, sore muscles, arthritic pain, and tiredness.
Oxidation is the result of free radicals entering the body, that start to wreak havoc on important organic substances.
These substances will breakdown essential substances such as fatty acids and proteins and interfere with the normal functioning of the body.
Antioxidants breakdown and eliminate the free radicals and by doing so prevent them from damaging your body. The Curcumin in turmeric acts as a very effective antioxidant.
Curcumin not only functions as a powerful antioxidant but it has also been shown to stimulate the body to produce its own antioxidants.
By doing this, you get a double dose of antioxidants, which protects you from all the free radicals you get from strenuous activity.
4. Turmeric Helps Repair Damaged Muscles
While turmeric has been known to have protective and anti-inflammatory properties, there is evidence to show that it can help repair damaged tissue.
As an athlete, damaging muscle tissue is an unavoidable part of the job and if you go hard with exercise you are sure to damage muscle tissue at one time or another.
Recovery is always recommended whenever you damage muscle tissue. However, while you could just stay away from working out, drink a lot of water and eat well, this may not be enough to get you back to your optimal levels of fitness.
Moreover, there are instances where you just cannot afford time away from practice, such as when you have a major competitive event on the horizon.
This is where turmeric comes in as one of the most effective ways of repairing damaged muscle tissue.
Turmeric has antioxidative capacities to deal with inflammation and pain and it will repair muscle tissue faster than any other method out there.
Moreover, the turmeric gets you in a reduced state of stress which is also good for regulating oxidation in the body.
5. Curcumin for Less Stress and Better Sleep
As an athlete, it is absolutely critical to get enough sleep to be in the right state of mind for competition. Getting enough sleep reduces stress, which enables you to put in optimal performances and be in a state of flow.
By getting enough sleep you can experience more of the gentle curiosity, focus and mental clarity that makes the great athletes excel in practice or in competitions.
While you could always get an energy boost from an energy drink, nothing beats a natural source such as the curcumin in turmeric.
It stimulated the production of the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor that stimulates the creation of new synapses, new neuron growth, and neuron protection.
With more production of BDNF, you will have less stress from competitive sports, while at the same time enhancing your overall health and mental alertness.
If you are low on BDNF the turmeric will alleviate your stress by blocking the effects of low levels of the hormone.
Curcumin has also been shown to reverse and regulate the symptoms of sleep deprivation that include oxidative stress and anxiety.
6. Improved Glycogen Content and Improved Exercise Output
Using turmeric for sports has been known to increase glycogen content in the muscles which result in better performance.
In a supplementation study, participants reported better physiological indicators that include endurance, grip strength, and overall better exercise performance.
As such, curcumin can help reduce exercise-induced fatigue and improve performance in athletes.
Tested on multiple exercises such as swimming exercises and forearm grip strength turmeric shows great promise as a sports supplement application.
Turmeric, and especially Curcumin, its most active ingredient make for one of the best foods you can add to your diet regimen as an athlete.
Curcumin helps to fight inflammation, increase your mental focus, acts as an oxidant, helps repair damaged muscle tissue and leads to less stress and better sleep.
Turmeric for athletes could either be taken through supplementation or in food. It provides a lot of benefits that will enhance your performance in competitive situations and in practice.
Combined with a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle, you should reduce the instance of many negative effects of strenuous exercise such as pain and inflammation and become a better athlete.