The role of turmeric since time immemorial in boosting your overall health isn’t unknown. Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This makes it beneficial in boosting the immune system. It also helps those who are struggling with joint pain, arthritis, colitis, infections, and allergies. The benefits of turmeric in improving your health are endless.
Menopause is one of the most troubling phases of a woman’s life. What makes things worse is the fluctuating levels of the estrogen and progesterone hormones which results in an array of symptoms. These include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, mood swings, hair fall, weight gain, and so on.
So, how effective will turmeric be in lessening the symptoms of menopause? Let us read on to learn more about the role of turmeric during menopause.
Is Turmeric Good For Menopause? 6 Possible Benefits
Yes, turmeric is considered to be an effective remedy for women who are nearing menopause or have already experienced the same. One of the main reasons for turmeric being beneficial for menopause is it’s a phytoestrogen. To explain it in detail, phytoestrogens are compounds occurring naturally in plants that mimic the functions of estrogen.
During the time around menopause or perimenopause, which usually starts when a woman is 40-44 years of age, the estrogen levels begin to decline. In fact, in the last two years of perimenopause, estrogen levels fall drastically.
Besides being a reproductive hormone, estrogen also plays an effective role in influencing the cardiovascular, skeletal, adipose, and other vital systems of the body. So, low estrogen levels affect the entire body, leading to a whole lot of symptoms.
Phytoestrogens can replicate the functions of estrogen. So having turmeric or its supplements during menopause may help to alleviate the symptoms.
Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This makes it effective in taking care of the immune system that is impacted in menopause due to the low hormone levels. Let’s elaborate on the role of turmeric in managing individual menopause symptoms.
1. To Mnimize Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are one of the most prominent symptoms of menopause, which occurs because of low estrogen levels. It is characterized by warmth on the upper body, mainly in the area surrounding the chest, face, and neck. Each episode of hot flashes last for no longer than one or two minutes on average. But sometimes, it can last up to five minutes.
Turmeric has phytoestrogens properties and, therefore, may make up for the low estrogen levels in our body to a greater extent. This is why having turmeric during and around the menopause phase may help to manage hot flashes significantly.
This has also been validated through a study. This study was conducted in Iran’s Ahar City on 93 women in the postmenopause phase. It showed that those who had Vitamin E and curcumin (an active component present in turmeric) had lesser incidences of hot flashes.
2. For Managing Joint Pain
Women in perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause phase are more prone to joint and muscle problems. Blame it on the fluctuating hormone levels.
Curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce inflammation and pain. In this way, it provides relief to those troubled with bone-related problems [7, 8].
As mentioned, joint pains mostly occur because of low estrogen levels. Now, as turmeric has properties that mimic estrogen, it helps minimize hormonal imbalance and lessen the risks of joint pains in menopause.
3. Helping in Weight Loss
One of the major causes of weight gain in menopause is hormonal imbalances. In fact, in menopause-related weight gain, the fat mostly accumulates around the abdomen instead of the thighs and hips.
The role of turmeric in weight gain has been assessed through various studies. Test tube studies show that curcumin plays a positive role in suppressing inflammatory markers which trigger obesity. People who are obese or have excess weight will always have high inflammatory markers.
Another study spanning 30 days conducted on 44 people showed that individuals on curcumin (800mg) and piperine (8mg) experienced weight loss and also a reduction in their BMI (Body Mass Index) and the circumference of the hip and waist.
Coming to the role of turmeric in menopausal weight gain, this, too, has been proved through several studies. 21 studies conducted on 1604 individuals showed that those who had curcumin (in any form) underwent a significant reduction in their weight and body mass index.
4. To Ease Depression
Since the levels of estrogen and progesterone reduce during menopause, it takes a toll on one’s mood. No wonder women in the perimenopause or menopause stages are more prone to anxiety and mood swings. To add to this are the hot flashes, and night sweats, which make sleeping troublesome, and affect one’s emotional well-being immensely. Women who have already had episodes of depression in the past can be struggling even more.
Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, which makes it effective in controlling mood swings and depression. Of the several studies, one of them conducted in 2017 acknowledged the effectiveness of curcumin, in combination with saffron, as an antidepressant.
Coming to its role in menopause, turmeric is said to help balance the chemicals and hormones in the brain, like serotonin and dopamine, which play a significant role in controlling the mood, and emotional well-being of a person.
5. To Improve Gut Health
With menopause, your gut health goes for a toss, which must again be attributed to the low estrogen levels. As one thing is connected to the other, low estrogen levels result in increased cortisol levels.
When the cortisol levels are high, it impairs the digestive system. This leads to several problems like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal cramps, acid reflux, and so on. Moreover, for women already suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the condition may get exacerbated.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric are said to enhance the digestive system and also improve gut health. However, remember when you take too much turmeric, it could lead to digestive orders.
6. To Clear Brain Fog
Brain fog isn’t the name for any medical term. Rather, it is a condition where people experience cognitive changes. Women facing brain fog in menopause often experience concentration problems and are distracted easily. The main reasons for brain fog in menopause are the fluctuating hormone levels.
There are several ways in which you could manage the symptoms of brain fog in menopause. One of them is to follow a diet rich in antioxidants. Several veggies are a good source of antioxidants, like lettuce, asparagus, artichokes, sweet potatoes, radish, kale, pumpkins, and so on. When it comes to the choice of spices, turmeric tops the list of antioxidant-rich spices.
The brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, plays a significant role in boosting learning and memory. Turmeric helps to increase the levels of these hormones, which in turn may ease the symptoms of brain fog.
How to Add Turmeric to Your Diet in Menopause?
If you are planning to use turmeric as a natural remedy to lessen your menopausal symptoms, it is always advisable to get in touch with the doctor first. With menopause comes a lot of body changes. Moreover, if you are already on medications for underlying conditions, including turmeric could interact with the same. So, it’s better to seek medical help to know if turmeric will suit your diet well or not.
Turmeric is available in fresh form as dried pieces and is even ground into spices. Here are some tips to add turmeric to your diet:
- You could opt for curry powder that not just contains turmeric but other spices as well, like cumin, black pepper, and ginger. Add this to stews, stir-fries, and veg or chicken dishes
- If planning to roast vegetables, you could sprinkle a few teaspoons of turmeric on the same
- Take dried or fresh turmeric, and steep it in water. You have your turmeric tea ready. This healthy beverage can be prepared at home but is also available in grocery and tea shops.
- You could add fresh or powdered turmeric to your smoothies
- You may add turmeric to your oatmeal, soups, and stews
- You may opt for a spicy latte by adding turmeric powder, grounded cinnamon, cardamom pods, and almond milk (unsweetened)
Turmeric has blood-thinning properties. So, if you are already on blood thinning medications, you would have to talk to your doctor first before including turmeric in your diet. The same goes for individuals who have gallstones or whose bile passages are obstructed. Also, consuming turmeric in increased amounts may result in a stomach upset.
Hormone replacement therapy helps to replace the lost estrogen. This treatment option is used to alleviate certain symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes, sleep problems, vaginal dryness, etc. It comes with its set of side effects as well. So, if you are on the lookout for a natural supplement to manage your menopause symptoms, then turmeric is one of them. However, make sure to talk to the doctor before implementing the same.
To cope with the troublesome symptoms of menopause, there are several things that women must do. These include changing their lifestyle, eating well, exercising well, and so on. Natural remedies are always a better option than medications. What could be better than the powerful antioxidant turmeric? When you know to use it in the right way, and if your doctor also approves of the same, you could go ahead with using the turmeric remedy to get relief from your symptoms in menopause.