People suffering from knee osteoarthritis were given one of four treatments: turmeric, a dietary supplement glucosamine, both, or a placebo. They measured pain severity, stiffness, functional limitations, and the patients' doctor's assessment of change in condition.
While all four groups saw improvement in these categories, the turmeric group came out ahead. Turmeric improved pain severity, stiffness, and functional limitations better than the turmeric plus glucosamine treatment, and it resulted in better doctor assessments than just glucosamine alone.
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Plus, compared to the other treatments, taking turmeric resulted in fewer complaints of joint pain (only 4 people out of 30 complained); also, fewer people in the turmeric group needed to take acetaminophen during the trial.
For an easy way to sneak more turmeric into your diet, try this recipe for sweet-hot carrot chips from The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook.
Sweet-Hot Carrot Chips
Makes 2½ cups
½ cup white or cider vinegar
½ cup water
5 Tablespoons honey
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 dried hot chile pepper, 1 to 2 inches long
1. Cut the carrots on the diagonal into ¼-inch-thick slices. In a steamer, cook until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain and place in an ovenproof glass or earthenware container.
2. In a small non-aluminum saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey, garlic, turmeric, and chile pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Pour the hot mixture through a sieve over the carrots to cover them completely. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Store in the refrigerator.