Turmeric has made a name for itself in the past few years in the medical community. Known for its golden color (thanks to the primary compound Curcumin), it has been used for centuries to help manage common discomforts and is now being tested for its cancer-fighting properties in recent clinical trials. And now, research is starting to show that turmeric can also provide nourishing and comforting support to new moms.
That’s right, the ancient spice has many properties–including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-depressant qualities–that can benefit new moms in many different ways. Curious to know how? Here are 10 reasons turmeric is a great supplement to your postpartum routine.
Because of its strong characteristics, it is important to consume turmeric in small amounts and incorporate it into meals – throw a teaspoon into soups, sauces, teas, and even milk, and you have as much as you need.
Why use turmeric postpartum?
1. It fights inflammation
Known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties and high fatty acid content, turmeric can help prevent with swollen breast tissue and clogged ducts, which can lead to a painful, flu-like condition called Mastitis.
2. It boosts immunity
When you are short on sleep and anxiety levels are high, your body goes into fight or flight mode, letting your immune system fend for itself. Turmeric has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and is rich in immune boosting magnesium that can help you fight off infections.
3. It promotes digestion
Now that the baby is born, your body is readjusting, and systems are finding their place again. This can sometimes slow down digestion, but with a sneaky high fiber content, turmeric helps keep you regular and minimize gas and bloat.
4. It helps fight postpartum depression
There are many factors that can increase your risk for postpartum depression from lack of sleep to discomfort to anxiety. Turmeric may be able to help as it boosts brain function, dopamine and hormone levels that act as a natural antidepressant.
5. It can diminish the appearance of stretch marks
Turmeric has antioxidants that penetrate and improve the function of the skin membrane cells, which will help prevent and treat stretch marks. You can mix turmeric and curd or olive oil into a paste and apply on the areas where you have stretch marks. Leave it on for 15 minutes and wash off.
6. It can promote lactation
While the research is still out on this one, turmeric has historically been used in many cultures as a way to stimulate lactation–likely due to the healing and comforting properties.
7. It’s a natural detoxifier
A wonder-spice for your liver, turmeric boosts enzyme production in the liver that helps your body get rid of toxins.
8. It’s comforting
Much like mom’s chicken soup can magically cure the common cold, turmeric’s warming color and effects can do wonders for the postpartum body and mind. Enjoy in warming soups, tea or golden milk.
9. It helps clear your complexion
Pregnancy and postpartum can come with a whole lot of skin issues–from acne to hyper-pigmentation. Since turmeric is known for lightening up complexion, you can add it to your skincare routine to help clear out your skin.
10. It helps prevent “mommy brain”
High in omega-6 fatty acids, turmeric helps improve blood circulation, brain function and memory, so you keep track of your new mom to-do list and all the feeding, napping and diaper change schedules!
A version of this story was first published September 5, 2018. It has been updated.