Using turmeric


Most of us have heard of turmeric and its many health benefits.  This yellow spice has been used for centuries in cooking and as medicine.  The medicinal benefits come about through its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which makes it potentially helpful in many medical conditions!

Unfortunately buying some turmeric from the supermarket and throwing it in your stirfry is not going to help with your arthritis pain.  There are a couple of reasons for this.


What is in turmeric?

Turmeric itself isn’t what helps us.  Turmeric is made up of many compounds. The compounds with health benefits are called curcuminoids and the main curcuminoid is called curcumin.

There isn’t much curcumin in turmeric however (only around 3%) which causes the first problem.  A lot of turmeric would need to be consumed in order to get a high enough dose of curcumin.


Absorbing turmeric

The second problem is that curcumin is not absorbed in to the blood stream very well.  There are some ways to get around this.  Some manufacturers produce their supplements in a way to increase absorption.  Having black pepper with turmeric greatly increases the amount that is absorbed and therefore makes it more effective.  Curcumin is fat soluble which means that it is absorbed more easily if it is consumed with a fatty meal.  Another great way to get a bit of turmeric in your diet is in drink form.  Heat milk, dairy or nut milk, with turmeric and a pinch of black pepper to enjoy some turmeric benefits.  As well as tasting great heating up the turmeric makes it more easily absorbed too!

On Wednesday I’ll look at the actual uses for turmeric.



At this time of year with many of us enjoying activities outdoors in the sun dehydration is a real risk particularly for the young and the elderly.  Dehydration occurs when our bodies do not have enough fluid to function properly.  Fluid can be used or lost most commonly through sweating in hot weather or during exercise and in cases of vomiting and diarrhoea.


Signs of dehydration

Feeling thirsty isn’t always a reliable indication of dehydration.  It is common to be dehydrated before actually feeling thirsty.

Children and babies have sunken cheeks, eyes and fontanel as well as a dry mouth and tongue when they are dehydrated.  Dry nappies for 2-3 hours is another sign in babies.  Feeling irritable and tired is a sign in children, babies and adults.

Adults can feel dizzy and confused when dehydrated and often have less frequent and darker urine.

Certain medications and medical conditions can make dehydration more likely.  These include diabetes, kidney disease and the use of diuretics.


Treatment of dehydration

Replacing lost fluid as well as electrolytes is important in dehydration.  Rehydration solutions can be purchased ready made or in tablet or sachet form that can be made up with water or in icypoles that make it easier for children.  Children can sip on the liquid from the icypole pouch as a drink while waiting for the rest to freeze.  The amount of solution needed depends on the severity of the symptoms.

Severe dehydration needs to be treated at hospital.  Severe vomiting and diarrhoea and dehydration causing someone to be incoherent needs urgent treatment.


Avoiding dehydration

It is important to drink more water in hot weather and when working/playing outdoors.  It is a good idea to drink rehydration solution as a preventative when outdoors in very hot weather for periods of time.

Drinking alcohol when in the sun makes dehydration more likely.  Always follow an alcoholic drink with a drink of water and drink alcohol sparingly in hot weather.



Medications and heat

medicines and heat

Medications and the sun


Most people probably haven’t taken much notice but medication labels state that they must be stored below 25 degrees Celsius. Keeping medications away from moisture is also important and this is why an elevated shelf in the pantry and not the bathroom or the fridge is a good place for medications unless they specifically state that they should be refrigerated.

Don’t leave medicines in the car!

We all know the effects on people and animals of being in a hot car but how many people have really thought about the effects on their emergency paracetamol tablets or Ventolin inhaler in the glove box?

Medications can have their effects increased or decreased through exposure to extreme heat. This means they may not work at all or they may work too much.  Both of these situations can be dangerous.

If you need to take medication away from the house with you always take it in your bag when you get out of the car.

If a medication looks like it has changed in any way such as the tablets/capsules have cracked or are stuck together this is a sign that they have been affected by heat.

If in doubt “throw” it out and by throw I mean dispose of appropriately by taking it in to your pharmacy to be placed in the returned medications bin and not flushed down the toilet or placed in household rubbish.