- What Is Turmeric?
- How Much Do We Know?
- What Are The Health Effects of Turmeric?
- Is Turmeric Safe?
- Keep in Mind
- Weight Loss: Here’s how Turmeric can help you lose weight!
- Join our free Weekly Newsletter!
- Turmeric Health Benefit #1
- Turmeric Health Benefit #2
- Turmeric Health Benefit #3
- Turmeric Health Benefit #4
- Turmeric Health Benefit #5
- Turmeric Health Benefit #6
- Turmeric Health Benefit #7
- Turmeric Health Benefit #8
- Turmeric Health Benefit #9
- Turmeric Health Benefit #10
- Turmeric Health Benefit #11
- Turmeric Health Benefit #12
- Turmeric Health Benefit #13
- Turmeric has an incredible history…
- The 3 different forms of turmeric:
- How to properly store turmeric:
- Turmeric side effects…
- 5 Easy ways to add turmeric to your diet:
- Add turmeric to your meals with delicious recipes…
- Want to learn more about turmeric?
- Home Remedies: Are there health benefits of turmeric?
- What is Turmeric?
- What Makes Turmeric so Healthy?
- 6 Health Benefits of Turmeric / Curcumin:
- Absorption Problems with Curcumin:20
- Improved Absorption of Curcumin
- 10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric & Curcumin
- Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.
- 1. Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties
- 2. Curcumin Is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound
- 3. Turmeric Dramatically Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of the Body
- 4. Curcumin Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases
- 5. Curcumin Should Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
- 6. Turmeric Can Help Prevent (And Perhaps Even Treat) Cancer
- 7. Curcumin May Be Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
- 8. Arthritis Patients Respond Very Well to Curcumin Supplements
- 9. Studies Show That Curcumin Has Incredible Benefits Against Depression
- 10. Curcumin May Help Delay Aging and Fight Age-Related Chronic Diseases
- The Bottom Line
- BONUS: Here’s a delicious recipe from Ambitious Kitchen to help you incorporate turmeric into your morning latte:
- 24k Gold Vanilla Turmeric Latte
- Nutritional highlights
- Potential issues and benefits
- How to select and store
- The Dirty Deets
- Why Turmeric Root Powder?
- Health Benefits of Turmeric, Nature’s Spice
- Many of Turmeric’s Benefits Come From Curcumin
- How Curcumin Affects the Body
- Finding the Right Curcumin Supplement
- Using Turmeric and Curcumin as Part of a Healthy Diet
- 3 Ways to Incorporate Turmeric and Curcumin into a Well-designed Diet & Lifestyle Plan
What Is Turmeric?
- Turmeric, a plant related to ginger, is grown throughout India, other parts of Asia, and Central America.
- Historically, turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine, primarily in South Asia, for many conditions, including breathing problems, rheumatism, serious pain, and fatigue.
- Today, turmeric is used as a dietary supplement for inflammation; arthritis; stomach, skin, liver, and gallbladder problems; cancer; and other conditions.
- Turmeric is a common spice and a major ingredient in curry powder. Its primary active ingredients, curcuminoids, are yellow and used to color foods and cosmetics.
- Turmeric’s underground stems (rhizomes) are dried and made into capsules, tablets, teas, or extracts. Turmeric powder is also made into a paste for skin conditions.
How Much Do We Know?
- We have a lot of research, including studies done in people, on turmeric for a variety of health conditions.
What Are The Health Effects of Turmeric?
- Claims that curcuminoids found in turmeric help to reduce inflammation aren’t supported by strong studies.
- Preliminary studies found that curcuminoids may
- Reduce the number of heart attacks bypass patients had after surgery
- Control knee pain from osteoarthritis as well as ibuprofen did
- Reduce the skin irritation that often occurs after radiation treatments for breast cancer.
- Other preliminary studies in people have looked at curcumin, a type of curcuminoid, for different cancers, colitis, diabetes, surgical pain, and as an ingredient in mouthwash for reducing plaque.
- The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has studied curcumin for Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate and colon cancer.
Is Turmeric Safe?
- Turmeric in amounts tested for health purposes is generally considered safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.
- High doses or long-term use of turmeric may cause gastrointestinal problems.
Keep in Mind
- Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
Weight Loss: Here’s how Turmeric can help you lose weight!
A compulsory spice in most North Indian kitchens, turmeric is a staple in every Indian household. It is used since ancient times due to the medicinal properties it has. The primary antioxidant present in turmeric is curcumin. Turmeric is said to help one deal with stomach issues, metabolic disorders, obesity and many more problems.
Though having huge quantities of turmeric is surely not a way to lose weight, but turmeric is said to reduce the inflammation associated with obesity. Thus, it can give your weight loss plan a boost. Read on to know how turmeric can help one lose weight.
Also See: Turmeric: This must-have spice found in your kitchen is full of benefits
Obesity leads to inflammation, which increases your risk of developing chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Curcumin, which is an antioxidant, suppresses the inflammatory messaging in fat, pancreatic and muscle cells. This can help reduce high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and other metabolic conditions, says a study published in European Journal of Nutrition.
It’s easier for your body to focus on weight loss when it does not have to fight inflammation.
Turmeric is anti-obesity
A 2009 study conducted on mice at the Tufts University, found that curcumin can actually suppress fat tissue growth. But similar research has not been done on humans. So it can’t be said with certainty if turmeric has the same effect on humans too.
Turmeric and Weight loss connection
Though turmeric suppresses the fat tissue growth and helps to reduce inflammation, it is no weight loss miracle. One should surely incorporate turmeric in their every meal. However, you also have to make sure you create a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight. The combination of right diet and exercise is what will help you lose weight in a healthy manner.
Read Also:Here’s why you must drink turmeric milk everyday!
The number of extra calories you burn should be equal to the number of calories you are having less. So let’s say, if you consume 2000 calories in a day and want to burn 250 more calories than what you normally do. In that case, you must also consume 250 calories less than what you normally do. That is, you must consume 1750 (2000-250) calories every day.
Including turmeric in your diet
Add turmeric to your vegetables, milk, smoothies and salads. Turmeric has no side effects until one is allergic to it, which is very rare. When taken as a supplement, it can interfere with certain medications, so do not forget to consult your doctor before you do so. If taken in high doses and for a long time, it can upset your stomach and cause ulcers. Diabetic people should especially take care as it can cause low blood sugar when taken with diabetes medication.
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Years ago, I had a bad fall and injured my tailbone. It was one of the WORST pains I’d ever experienced. All the nerves surrounding my spine and lower back felt like they were on FIRE…Yoouuch!!!
I was traveling for work at the time, and had to be pumped full of morphine just to get on the plane back home. I was bedridden for 3 weeks and miserable. I desperately tried every natural remedy I knew about to bring down the inflammation… and some things worked better than others.
One of the most effective herbal supplements I took was a daily turmeric supplement. Thankfully, after several more weeks of turmeric supplements, acupuncture, and taking it easy, my tailbone had a full recovery.
This was the first time I experienced for myself how powerful turmeric is. I’ve since learned that turmeric is even more amazing, and that it is literally PACKED with health benefits that can improve your skin, your heart, your mood, and even your waistline!
To show you how remarkable this spice is, here’s a breakdown of research on 13 proven health benefits of turmeric.
Turmeric Health Benefit #1
Turmeric is Anti-Inflammatory: The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory that helps maintain healthy inflammation responses.
The typical western diet (think lots of processed foods, sugar, and alcohol) leads to what is called “chronic inflammation” in the body. Doctors believe this inflammation is a silent killer, because it sets the body up to be the perfect host for diseases like heart disease (1), cancer (2), Alzheimer’s, and even obesity (3).
That’s why you want to do everything you can to bring down inflammation, including eating more unprocessed whole vegetables and fruit along with specific spices (like turmeric) and herbs known to fight inflammatory responses.
One of the main anti-inflammatory components of turmeric is called curcumin (4), which one scientific study found to be as effective as some over-the-counter drugs (5) in bringing down inflammation in the body. The researchers actually found that aspirin and ibuprofen (active ingredient in Advil) were the LEAST effective out of all of the anti-inflammatory compounds they studied.
Turmeric Health Benefit #2
Turmeric Supports Healthy Joints: Beneficial in promoting overall joint health and mobility.
As the curcumin in turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, it can benefit the joints and help keep them from getting inflamed and swollen. This was demonstrated in a scientific study (6) on rheumatoid arthritis patients. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes painful swelling in the joints. Researchers found that 500 mg. of daily curcumin was more effective than the prescription drug Diclofenac when given to RA patients.
When it comes to taking turmeric for your joints, it was shown most effective when taken before symptoms kick in (7), as a preventative measure to keep your joints healthy, pain-free, and mobile. But some studies have demonstrated it can help treat osteoarthritis (8) (a degenerative disease of the joint) as well.
Turmeric Health Benefit #3
Turmeric Promotes Heart Health: The properties support the overall health of the cardiovascular system.
There are several lifestyle factors and conditions in the body that can lead the heart disease – which is the #1 cause of death in the world. As discussed earlier, chronic inflammation plays a major role in heart disease, so taking turmeric as an anti-inflammatory can help prevent heart disease (9) and heart attacks (10).
One of the most interesting benefits of curcumin is how it can improve the lining of blood vessels (known as the endothelium). When the endothelium isn’t working properly, it can’t properly regulate blood pressure and clotting, which can lead to heart disease (11).
We’ve all heard that exercise is good for the heart, right? One study showed that taking curcumin is as effective as aerobic exercise (12) at improving vascular endothelial function.
Turmeric Health Benefit #4
Turmeric Encourages Healthy Cholesterol Levels.
High cholesterol is known to be caused by oxidative stress (13), brought on to the body by chronic inflammation and high blood sugar. So, again, reducing inflammation in the body supports healthy cholesterol levels.
One study found curcumin comparable to prescription drug Lipitor (14) on endothelial dysfunction in reducing in inflammation and markers of oxidative stress. An earlier animal study (15) showed similar results on the body.
One study of human volunteers found that taking 500 mg. of daily curcumin dropped their total cholesterol by 11.63% (16), while their HDL (the “good” cholesterol) went up 29% in just 7 days.
Turmeric Health Benefit #5
Turmeric Boosts Stress Tolerance: As an adaptogen, it helps counteract the adverse effects of everyday stress on the body.
If you feel stressed, adaptogens should be your new best friend! In herbal medicine, some botanicals are termed “adaptogens”, which means they have the ability to modulate the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. This can help you adapt better to physical and emotional stress and be more resilient to anything that comes your way. They also help to keep your hormones balanced.
The curcumin in turmeric is a known adaptogen that has the ability to decrease the secretion of stress hormones in the body (17). In 2011, researchers in India found that turmeric had several adaptogenic properties that help with body weight, memory, blood sugar, and moreover that it helps the body maintain healthy stress hormone levels (18).
Turmeric Health Benefit #6
Turmeric Supports Weight Loss: Curcumin can positively influence weight management in overweight people.
Elevated stress can cause sudden weight gain. When stress hormones (cortisol) get out of whack, fat accumulates near the stomach (19) because the cells in the stomach are more sensitive to cortisol, and very effective at storing energy. As turmeric can help you balance your stress hormones, it can help stop that extra spare tire from forming around your waist.
The anti-inflammatory properties in curcumin are able to fight obesity too. One study actually found that taking curcumin can reduce the growth of fat cells (20)!
Turmeric Health Benefit #7
Turmeric Supports Healthy Metabolism: Aids in maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
Turmeric has been used to treat diabetes (21) in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine for years. A 2013 review of scientific studies (22) found that curcumin stabilizes glucose levels in the blood and also helped with complications related to diabetes. In one study, 100 overweight people with type 2 diabetes took either 300 mg. of curcumin or a placebo for 12 weeks. The researchers found that those taking curcumin had significantly lower fasting blood glucose (23).
There is promising research suggesting curcumin may reduce the risk of developing diabetes in high risk people too. In a 2012 study, all participants who took curcumin extract for 9 months didn’t develop diabetes (24), although they were prediabetic. While 16% of the prediabetic participants who took a placebo did develop diabetes after the 9 months.
Turmeric Health Benefit #8
Turmeric Optimizes Vitality: Its powerful antioxidant properties fight excess free radicals in the body that can damage cells and diminish health.
Antioxidants zap free radicals in the body that can lead to cancer, neurodegenerative disease and other disorders. With all of the processed “dead” foods that creep their way into our diets… we can all use more of antioxidants in our life! The curcumin in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant (25). Even better, curcumin is special in that it’s been shown to boost the antioxidant enzymes (26) in your body, giving you even more benefit (27)!
Turmeric Health Benefit #9
Turmeric Supports Brain Health: Helps maintain healthy cognitive function and working memory.
Curcumin has the amazing ability to boost a protein in the brain called BDNF (28). This important protein – brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (29) – is responsible for helping the brain grow. It’s been shown to increase neurons and form new connections in the brain – two things we really need as we get older. BDNF builds up the “roadway” in your brain so that neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine can travel more easily where they need to go. Which is why high BDNF levels are linked to better memory (30) and mood… And, when BDNF levels are low, the risk of Alzheimer’s (31) and depression (32) goes up.
Turmeric Health Benefit #10
Turmeric Promotes Radiant Skin: By providing proper nourishment, it helps your body produce more radiant and healthy-looking skin.
Turmeric is an anti-aging powerhouse (33). Given that it’s an antioxidant – it can fight oxidative damage and boost the overall look of the skin. It’s anti-inflammatory properties help fight the appearance of aging skin (34) as well. A scientific review of studies in 2016 found that turmeric has the ability to improve numerous skin conditions (35) when it’s either ingested or applied directly on the skin.
Turmeric Health Benefit #11
Turmeric Improves Mood: Curcumin helps to reduces symptoms of mild mood changes.
As the curcumin in turmeric boosts the brain-builder protein BDNF, it may help prevent depression (36). Curcumin can also give a boost to serotonin and dopamine (37) – two “happy” chemicals in the brain. It shows promise for helping people who already have depression too. In one study, 60 people diagnosed with depression were given either Prozac, curcumin, or a combo of the two. Those who took just the curcumin had improvements in their mood on par with Prozac (38) – while those who took both had the best results during the 6 week study.
Turmeric Health Benefit #12
Soothes Digestion: Reduces symptoms of bloating and gas related to occasional indigestion.
Turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine (39) to improve digestion and heal gut inflammation – likely due to its nature as an anti-inflammatory. Also the curcumin in turmeric stimulates the gallbladder (40), helping your body produce bile to break down food and improve digestion. One study found that turmeric has the ability to reduce bloating and gas symptoms (41) in people who have indigestion. Some research shows curcumin can help people with ulcerative colitis (42) too – an inflammatory bowel disease that causes sores in the digestive tract.
Turmeric Health Benefit #13
Reduces Risk of Cancer: Curcumin’s anti-cancer properties may inhibit the growth of tumors and reduce the spread of cancer.
The curcumin in turmeric may be able to slow the development and growth of cancer in the body. Animal research indicates that cucurmin has the ability to actually kill tumor cells (43) and inhibit tumor growth (44). This may prevent cancerous cells from growing (45) in the body.
When it comes to preventing cancer before it starts, one human research study found that taking 4 grams of daily curcumin reduced the number of precancerous lesions (46) in the colon by 40%. The research suggests that curcumin is most beneficial in breast, bowel, stomach, and skin cancer (47).
Curcumin has been shown to enhance chemotherapy (48) treatments for colon cancer. Another 2017 study found that curcumin enhanced tumor sensitivity to chemotherapy (49) in pancreatic cancer, indicating that it is useful in combating chemo-resistance.
Turmeric has an incredible history…
Turmeric has been used in ancient medicine for over 4,000 years, going back to when residues of turmeric were found in ancient pots in New Delhi, India. Turmeric is still in use in Ayurvedic medicine today, an ancient medical system that originated in India. It’s medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of thousands of peer-reviewed and published studies.
The 3 different forms of turmeric:
There are three basic forms of turmeric. Each option has its own benefits, depending on what you want to do with it.
- Fresh Turmeric Root – You can find fresh organic turmeric root in the produce section in natural food stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts (some conventional grocery stores carry it too). This is the best form when adding turmeric to fresh pressed juice.
- Ground Turmeric – Found in the spice aisle at almost every grocery store. This is the best form for seasoning vegetables and meals. Just make sure that you choose organic, because many conventional spices are irradiated and grown with synthetic pesticides.
- Turmeric Supplements – This is the easiest sure-fire way to make sure you get the turmeric in your diet daily.
(Try the Truvani Daily Turmeric Supplement here)
What to look for in a Turmeric Supplement:
The primary reason to take a supplement is to provide your body with nutrients that are not already abundant in your normal diet. Ironically however… it’s easy to sabotage your health with supplements if you’re not careful. Look for turmeric supplements that…
- Include both Turmeric Root and Turmeric Extract – You’ll generally find two different types of turmeric in supplements. First, Turmeric Root, which is the powdered form of whole turmeric. Second is Turmeric Extract, which is the concentrated form of whole turmeric, standardized for 95% curcuminoids. Most supplements do not contain turmeric root, but they should. Some research shows that all of the components of turmeric (not just the curcumin) work together more effectively than taking curcumin alone (50).
- Certified Organic – This ensures the ingredients were not grown with synthetic pesticides and other harmful chemicals, and also that toxic solvents hexane were not used during production. This is especially important in a supplement, as you will be consuming it daily.
- Tested for Heavy Metals – There are toxins in many products and in our environment that can lead to disease. Try to surround yourself and your family with the purest, most natural products (including supplements). Look for turmeric supplements that are tested regularly for mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, or glyphosate, and that does not carry a Prop 65 warning label.
- Contain Black Pepper – Curcumin isn’t absorbed by the body well on its own. To help your body get the most benefits, consume it with black pepper, which contains piperine – which can increase bioavailability by up to 2,000% (51)! It’s also a good idea to take your turmeric supplement with food, as fat and oil also increases the bioavailability.
- Packaged in Dark Glass – You don’t want unnecessary chemicals tainting your turmeric supplement and you want to preserve every single nutrient. Dark (amber) glass bottles don’t leach harmful chemicals that plastics can and provide excellent UV protection. This is important because UV rays can sometimes damage the contents.
- Uncoated Tablets – This makes it easy to add turmeric to recipes and drinks, instead of swallowing a whole pill or measuring out a messy powder.
(Try the Truvani Daily Turmeric Supplement here)
How to properly store turmeric:
Fresh turmeric: The best way to store fresh turmeric root is in the refrigerator. You will first want to clean and completely dry the turmeric root. Then wrap the root in a paper towel and place in an airtight container. Fresh turmeric will last 1-2 weeks or more if refrigerated.
Ground turmeric: To store turmeric powder it is important to keep it in a cool, dry place. Ideally this will be in a cabinet or pantry away from heat or excessive light.
Turmeric supplements: Ideally, turmeric tablets should be stored in an amber glass bottle, to provide UV protection. Keep it away from excessive heat and light as much as possible.
Turmeric side effects…
Side effects from eating turmeric or taking supplements are rare, but it’s important to know about them. When turmeric is taken in high doses, it may lead to upset stomach, dizziness, or diarrhea. Some people are allergic to turmeric and have an allergic reaction. During pregnancy, turmeric is not recommended because it is associated with stimulating the uterus.
Known drug interactions for turmeric include medications that slow blood clotting, because turmeric is also known to slow blood clotting. So, be careful when taking turmeric with these types of drugs such as such as aspirin, Plavix, ibuprofen, naproxen, and warfarin. Always check with your healthcare provider before taking turmeric.
5 Easy ways to add turmeric to your diet:
1. Brew Turmeric tea: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and then stir in ¼ teaspoon of organic ground turmeric, fresh grated turmeric or an uncoated turmeric tablet. Allow it to simmer for 10 minutes. You can stir in honey or fresh lemon juice for added flavor.
2. Mix up a curry powder: A basic curry powder can be made with 8 parts ground coriander, 4 parts ground cumin and 1 part each of ground turmeric and cayenne or paprika. You can decrease the cayenne and use paprika instead if you don’t want it spicy, and store this in a glass container in your pantry for up to 6 months.
3. Blend it into a smoothie: Add organic turmeric powder, grated root, or uncoated turmeric tablets to a flavorful smoothie and you won’t even taste it! Granted… it may change the color of your smoothie, since it’s got such a strong pigment.
4. Juice it: When making fresh pressed green juice, add in up to 1″ of organic fresh turmeric to your juicer (per serving).
5. Season roasted veggies: Toss some fresh vegetables (like diced potatoes, cauliflower, or brussel sprouts) with a dash of olive oil and ground turmeric, along with any other seasonings you like. Roast at 400 degrees, tossing once until done, usually about 30-40 minutes.
Add turmeric to your meals with delicious recipes…
Here are some of my favorite recipes that I cook in my own kitchen with turmeric. Give them a try, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
- Papaya Salad with Miso Turmeric Dressing
- Balinese Curry Sauce
- Healing Everyday Hummus
- Turmeric Tea
- Citrus Blast Smoothie
- Golden Milk (Warm or Iced)
- Turmeric Cooler Juice
- Healing Iced Turmeric Latte
- Chocolate Turmeric Caramel Cups
Want to learn more about turmeric?
When you pick up your first bottle of Truvani Turmeric, I’ll send you two complimentary eBooks:
- Truvani Life: I’ll walk you through my top healthy-living tips. I answer some of your most-asked questions about what to eat (and what to avoid) to stay fit and healthy.
- The Ultimate Guide To Turmeric: A beautiful 35-page guide to help you better understand the remarkable power of Turmeric, the ancient Ayurvedic remedy. I’ll show you how to incorporate it into your daily life with delicious recipes, specific product recommendations, and more.
Get your Truvani Turmeric + 2 Free eBooks here
Our mission at Truvani is to choose the absolute best ingredients, as nutrient-dense as possible, without processed chemical ingredients invented by the food industry to increase their bottom line. We enjoy food the way it was meant to be – real, whole, organic, and full of nutrients. Experience it for yourself!
If you know anyone who could benefit from turmeric, please share this post with them.
*This statement has not been evaluated by FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
As with any dietary supplement, you should discuss with your healthcare professional prior to use. If you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or considering pregnancy, you should consult your healthcare professional prior to taking any supplements. Discontinue use and contact your healthcare professional if you experience any side effects or an allergic reaction. Keep out of reach of children.
Home Remedies: Are there health benefits of turmeric?
Can an ancient yellow root spice be good for you? A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, effectively kills certain cancer cells. While research continues on the role turmeric plays in treating cancer, there may be other health benefits to ingesting the spice.
Watch: Are there health benefits of turmeric?
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:58) is in the downloads at the end of the post. Please ‘Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.’ Read the script.
You may have it in your spice rack or enjoy it in South Asian meals. Turmeric is derived from a plant similar to ginger and has long been used for medicinal purposes.
“Turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory compounds called curcuminoids, and these curcuminoids have been associated with a positive effect on various diseases,” says Anya Guy, a Mayo Clinic dietitian. Those diseases include Type 2 diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer.
“Although curcumin or turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, if you are diagnosed with a condition such as cancer or diabetes, speak to your health care provider before taking the supplement,” says Guy.
Turmeric can be ingested in powder form or in mixes such as curry or chutney. “I recommend choosing more of the powder or natural forms and also try to eat it with a meal to increase its absorption,” says Guy.
How much is safe to take each day you may ask? “Turmeric is considered to be safe at doses up to 8 grams per day,” says Guy.
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant found in the Cucrcuma longa plant, more commonly known as turmeric. Turmeric is commonly used around the world and is gaining popularity as a superfood for its well-documented benefits in health and disease.
- Turmeric is a common spice with thousands of years of medicinal and sacramental history
- Turmeric contains many beneficial compounds, but an antioxidant called curcumin appears to provide the most benefits
- Curcumin has shown to help reduce inflammation, provide antioxidant benefits, and also has benefits in brain, cardiac, and metabolic health.
- Special preparations of curcumin can help improve absorption and raise blood levels high enough to experience the full health benefits observed in clinical research
Tell me More!
We’ve all heard that we need to eat more fruits and vegetables, but perhaps we need to add a third “food group” into the mix and also aim to eat more spices. As medical professionals are increasingly looking back to natural foods for their healing properties, they are learning that there are quite a few natural spices that contain potent and healing ingredients. Amongst the spices, there is one that seems to stand out the most with regards to its safety and potential to address a wide variety of ailments, and that spice is turmeric.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is an Asian spice produced from the Curcuma longa plant, which is closely related to ginger. The underground portion of Curcuma longa is a vibrant yellow/orange rhizome that looks very similar to ginger. The rhizome can be used fresh, or dried and crushed into a fine powder. Turmeric is frequently incorporated into Asian and Indian dishes, especially curries, but is also used in many other cultures.
Turmeric is useful as a natural yellow food dye in foods like yellow mustard, chicken stock, pickles, and much more. The spice has been used for thousands of years in cooking and medicine and is even considered sacred among many cultures that use it in religious ceremonies and festivals.
What Makes Turmeric so Healthy?
Researchers have been looking at turmeric to determine what makes it so special, and have discovered that it contains several phytonutrients and antioxidants with some potent biochemical properties.
Curcumin is perhaps the most important of the antioxidant compounds in turmeric. That is because there is a growing body of evidence that shows it exhibits a wide variety of beneficial effects throughout the body. Curcumin is most well-known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects but research also shows it boosts the immune system, promotes good mental health, and protects the brain and heart.
This is why McCord Research has chosen to use an absorbable and bioavailable form of curcumin in several of the Olivamine Pinnaclife Supplements including JointHealth, CalmMind, SleepHealth, and BrainHealth
6 Health Benefits of Turmeric / Curcumin:
Curcumin is an extremely potent antioxidant that helps prevent oxidative damage and can interacts with inflammatory pathways with demonstrated effects on pro-inflammatory molecules including TNF-α, COX 1 and 2, α1-acid glycoprotein, and myeloid differentiation protein.1–3 It has been shown to have similar efficacy for pain and inflammation as some NSAIDs, without all of the risks. Almost all diseases have an inflammatory component that contributes to many of the symptoms and complications.
2.) Cardiovascular Disease
Supplementing with curcumin has been linked to improved cholesterol levels (lower LDL and higher HDL), fewer fatty streak lesions in the aorta, decreased peroxidation of LDL cholesterol, and protection from some cardio-toxic anti-cancer treatments.4 There are many purported ways that curcumin can provide nutritional support for maintaining cardiovascular health.
Perhaps you’ve heard that some NSAID pain medications can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. This is one reason I recommend incorporating heart-healthy curcumin to help address inflammation instead of frequent and prolonged use of NSAID medications.
3.) Exercise and Endurance
Some studies have shown Curcumin may reduce inflammation and improve recovery time following exercise-induced muscle damage.5 Remember that the heart is also a muscle, so the positive effects in muscles are likely responsible for the cardio-protective properties of curcumin.
4.) Cancer / Chemoprevention
Scientists are continually researching curcumin to determine potential roles in cancer development and progression.6–12 Researchers are primarily interested in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, DNA-protective, and enzyme inducing effects of curcumin.13
5.) Brain Health / Neurotransmission / Cognition / Stress
Curcumin has been shown to protect against neurological damage from both free radicals and inflammation. It has been shown to modulate levels of various neurotransmitters and to increase levels of an important compound that stimulates neuronal growth called “brain-derived neurotrophic factor.”14–18
6.) Immune Health
Studies show that Curcumin favorably regulates the activity of immune cells including T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, and natural killer cells. Studies also show enhanced antibody responses even at low doses.19
Absorption Problems with Curcumin:20
While we know that you can get curcumin by incorporating more turmeric in your diet, you are not likely to gain all of the benefits without the use of special dietary supplements. One of the major problems with curcumin is that it does not get absorbed very well from the digestive tract. This means that you absorb very little curcumin into your blood stream. Use fresh turmeric root instead of dried powder spice to get the most health benefits – especially if the spices have been sitting in your pantry for a long time.
Fun Fact: A compound in black pepper called piperizine increases your body’s absorption of curcumin. So always be sure to add black pepper when you cook with turmeric to get the most health benefits!
Supplements that simply use turmeric powder or basic extracts also have limited absorption – special preparations are needed to get significant amounts into the blood stream.
Improved Absorption of Curcumin
To get the most benefit from curcumin, it is best to use supplements with special preparations that improve the absorption into the blood stream. Pinnaclife supplements incorporate a specially modified type of soluble curcumin that has been shown to be readily absorbed through your digestive tract into the blood stream, delivering the healing properties of curcumin directly to cells throughout your body.
This is a distinguishing feature of the Pinnaclife supplements that makes them unique to many other turmeric or curcumin containing supplements on the market. We know that simply adding turmeric into our supplements would not provide you with adequate amounts of curcumin, so we made sure to find an ingredient that would meet your needs and deliver results both safely and affordably.
- Jurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Altern Med Rev. 2009;14(2):141–53.
- Gupta SC, Prasad S, Kim JH, et al. Multitargeting by curcumin as revealed by molecular interaction studies. Nat Prod Rep. 2011;28(12):1937–55.
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10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric & Curcumin
Here are snippets from a recent article on HealthLine.com about the major health benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin:
Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.
Many high-quality studies show that it has major benefits for your body and brain.
Here are the top 10 evidence-based health benefits of turmeric.
1. Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high. It’s around 3%, by weight (2).
…To experience the full effects, you need to take a supplement that contains significant amounts of curcumin.
TIP: It helps to consume black pepper with it (which contains piperine), enhancing the absorption of curcumin by 2,000% (3).
Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.
2. Curcumin Is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound
…Scientists now believe that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions (4, 5, 6).
Curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory. In fact, it’s so powerful that it matches the effectivenessof some anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side effects (7, 8, 9 ).
Without getting into the details (inflammation is extremely complicated), the key takeaway is that curcumin is a bioactive substance that fights inflammation at the molecular level (12, 13, 14).
SUMMARY Chronic inflammation contributes to many common Western diseases. Curcumin can suppress many molecules known to play major roles in inflammation.
3. Turmeric Dramatically Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of the Body
Curcumin has powerful antioxidant effects. It neutralizes free radicals on its own but also stimulates your body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
4. Curcumin Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases
Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in your brain.
5. Curcumin Should Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the world (27).
Curcumin may help reverse many steps in the heart disease process (28), as it has beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease. It improves the function of the endothelium and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.
One study randomly assigned 121 people, who were undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, either a placebo or 4 grams of curcumin per day, a few days before and after the surgery.
The curcumin (test) group had a 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack in the hospital (32).
6. Turmeric Can Help Prevent (And Perhaps Even Treat) Cancer
Curcumin has been studied as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment and been found to affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level (34).
Studies have shown that it can contribute to the death of cancerous cells and reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and metastasis (spread of cancer) (35).
Whether high-dose curcumin (preferably with an absorption enhancer like piperine) can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be studied properly.
However, there is evidence that it may prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system like colorectal cancer.
7. Curcumin May Be Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neuro-degenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia.
It’s known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, and curcumin has beneficial effects on both (40).
In addition, a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of protein tangles called amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin can help clear these plaques (41).
Whether curcumin can really slow down or even reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in people is currently unknown and needs to be studied properly.
8. Arthritis Patients Respond Very Well to Curcumin Supplements
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries.
There are several different types, most of which involve inflammation in the joints.
Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
9. Studies Show That Curcumin Has Incredible Benefits Against Depression
Curcumin has shown some promise in treating depression.
A study in 60 people with depression showed that curcumin was as effective as Prozac in alleviating symptoms of the condition.
According to this small study, curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant.
…There is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine (47, 48).
10. Curcumin May Help Delay Aging and Fight Age-Related Chronic Diseases
If curcumin can really help prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, it would have obvious benefits for longevity.
For this reason, curcumin has become very popular as an anti-aging supplement (49).
The Bottom Line
Turmeric and especially its most active compound curcumin have many scientifically-proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.
BONUS: Here’s a delicious recipe from Ambitious Kitchen to help you incorporate turmeric into your morning latte:
24k Gold Vanilla Turmeric Latte
You can also SHOP all of our blends, four of which contain TURMERIC to help reduce inflammation from everyday stress, at LIFEAIDBevCo.com! Join the movement: #ABetterWayToDrink
> > > Live well.
Turmeric (curcuma longa) is extensively cultivated in the tropics and the root is widely used in cooking. Turmeric has a deep, golden-orange colour and looks similar to ginger. It is usually boiled, sun-dried and then ground into a powder. It has a peppery, warm flavour and a mild fragrance. Turmeric is the main ingredient in curry powder and can be used as a colouring agent. It has long been used in both cooking and colouring. Turmeric has also played an important role in traditional Eastern cultures and Ayurvedic medicine. Much of its new-found popularity is due to its therapeutic properties.
We are frequently told that colourful plant foods are good for our health because of their phytochemical properties (plant pigments) and turmeric is no different. It has a range of health promoting benefits due to curcumin, the yellow pigment. As several metabolic diseases and age-related degenerative disorders are closely associated with oxidative processes in the body, the use of herbs and spices as a source of antioxidants to combat oxidation warrants further attention.
The potential health benefits of curcumin include better regulation of inflammation. It is used in the treatment of numerous inflammatory conditions for its anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin is thought to slow down the inflammatory pathway, although this line of research is being continued.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties have been compared to those of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Clinical trials have found it to be more effective than a placebo for relieving pain and swelling in people with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. However, more well-designed clinical studies are needed to determine and document the efficacy of curcumin and combination products in patients taking NSAIDS to treat osteoarthritis.
There is still a lot for us to learn about this fascinating spice, but early research has looked into the potential effect of curcumin on a range of conditions from pre-menstrual tension to Alzheimer’s disease. However, more clinical studies are required before these health claims can be confirmed.
Another active ingredient in turmeric is turmerone. Although far less is known about turmerone compared to curcumin, it can be obtained from whole ground turmeric. Some studies suggest tumerone can support cognitive performance due to its neuroprotective properties.
Potential issues and benefits
It is important to note that the amount of curcumin in turmeric as we buy it can vary, depending on species, growing conditions, harvesting etc. Most of the studies use turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin alone, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day. It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in cooking, although it is clearly a welcome addition to the diet.
In addition to delivering antioxidants and other properties, herbs and spices can be used in recipes to partially or wholly replace salt, sugar and added saturated fat in, for example, marinades and dressings, stir-fry dishes, casseroles, soups, curries and Mediterranean-style cooking.
How to select and store
Turmeric is available as a ground powder and, like ginger, is available as the fresh rhizome bought in food shops. Fresh turmeric should be free of dark spots and be crisp. It may be stored in the fridge where it will keep for a month. Turmeric powder should be stored in a cool dark, dry place where it will keep for up to a year.
Since its deep orange colour can easily stain, avoid getting it on clothing. To avoid a permanent stain, quickly wash the affected area with soap and water.
This article was last updated on 8 August 2018 by Kerry Torrens.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
Jo Lewin works as a Community Nutritionist and private consultant. She is a Registered Nutritionist (Public Health) registered with the UKVRN. Visit her website at www.nutrijo.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @nutri_jo.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
The Dirty Deets
A tablespoon of ground turmeric offers 29 calories, nearly a gram of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 6 grams of carbohydrates. It contains minerals such as manganese, phosphorus and potassium. Turmeric also contains magical nutrients — the kind that practically cast spells to keep you strong and healthy.
- Turmeric is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammation — both inside and out. Uses include cancer prevention and treatment as well as treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and infections.
- Curcumin, a substance in turmeric, is being researched for cancer prevention and treatment, and has shown promise in animal studies. Stick to fresh or dried and powdered versions until more research is conducted and we better understand the use of supplements.
- In the Western world, turmeric was first embraced as a fabric dye. Late to adopt, we are just now studying turmeric for its role in prevention, management and treatment of cystic fibrosis and various cardiovascular and neurological diseases (such as Alzheimer’s). Pass the curry, puh-lease.
Why Turmeric Root Powder?
Turmeric is an ancient spice that has become very popular with people interested in healthy eating, and is definitely considered a ‘superfood’. For many centuries and everywhere it has been consumed it has been celebrated for its flavor, its nutritional value as well as its medicinal properties (anti-inflammatory / anti-bacterial / anti-oxidant). With active ingredient Curcumin- the healing element that also gives Turmeric its vibrant gold/yellow color- it has become a dietary fixture for many now as a healthy supplement, for medicinal purposes, as a garnish and as an ingredient.
About the Turmeric Plant
Its botanical name is Curcuma longa, and the plant itself reaches barely three feet high, producing a flower and a rhizome (root-like stem) that is found in the soil. The rhizome looks very similar to ginger roots. It is this root-like stem that produces the gold/yellow Turmeric spice. While Turmeric can now be found growing in many places around the world (particularly the tropics), India has always been the largest producer of Turmeric- dating far back to ancient times.
While the rhizome/root-like stem is what the plant is known for, all parts of the Turmeric plant are edible – including the leaves (a.ka. Haldi leaves) and flowers.
Scientific analysis of a pot shard discovered in a small city northwest of New Delhi, India evidenced Turmeric, Ginger and Garlic residue that dates back as early as 2500 BCE- making this spice at least 4,500 years old! It wasn’t until about 500 BCE that turmeric emerged as an important part of Ayurvedic medicine (ancient Indian system of natural healing, still practiced today).
This natural approach included inhaling fumes from burning turmeric which was said to alleviate congestion. Turmeric juice was believed to aid with the healing of cuts and even bruises. Turmeric paste was applied to all sorts of skin conditions – from smallpox and chicken pox, to acne and shingles. Ayurvedic literature contains over 100 different terms for Turmeric, such as jayanti, meaning “one who is victorious over diseases”.
Evidence of Turmeric being used in the West appears first in 1747 (Hannah Glasse’s cookbook, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy). In the US, some of the earliest evidence appears in 1831 (Mrs. Mary Randolph’s Virginia Housewife cookbook).
The main active ingredients in Turmeric- Curcumin and Tumerones- have since been shown by science to validate many of those early Ayurvedic practices, and has added many more. Curcumin seems to be the component that most studies recognize as having the most significant impact, but it is not entirely clear yet. Curcumin has significant anti-inflammatory properties, and scientific studies have pointed to Turmeric even rivaling Ibuprofen in effectiveness (see study). For example, there are studies on how Turmeric can discernibly and positively impact even joint arthritis (see study). However, unlike over-the-counter equivalent drugs like Ibuprofin, Turmeric powder does not appear to have the same long-term toxic effects on your body- a huge added benefit (see study).
Turmeric’s medicinal components are also known to act as a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect against free radical damage. They have been shown to help protect healthy cells all over the body, and also especially those found in the colon, by aiding the body to destroy mutated cancer cells before they can spread to other areas. Turmeric can even help amplify the body’s own antioxidant functions in this process (see study).
Additionally and amazingly, Turmeric also has natural anti-bacterial/anti-microbial properties, offering some possible relief from our society’s constant dependence on antibiotics (see study).
Turmeric’s natural combined anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even strong antibacterial properties (see study) can be a powerful natural help for your skin. Common applications include use in face masks and salves for anti-aging help, acne and more.
It appears that the medicinal uses are endless, as the list goes on: Turmeric can also help to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease (see study), can help regulate menstruation, ward off dementia and even improve digestion (see article).
The vibrant gold/yellow natural coloring of Turmeric has also been used to dye clothing and thread for many centuries. For example. Saffron-colored Buddhist robes are often dyed with it. Turmeric has even been used to dye Easter eggs to avoid chemical dyes offered in stores (see article).
Great for cooking
Turmeric is a tasty, healthy addition to any meal. The deep golden/yellow color and distinct, rich flavor make it well suited for baking, cooking and even in teas, coffees, smoothies and as a garnishing powder. The powder of Turmeric is used in foods from all over the world including Indian (Tikka Masala, Vegetarian Korma, Paneer, Tandoori chicken), Thai (many Curry dishes), Moroccan and various middle eastern dishes (stews, pilafs and soups).
Recipes abound for scrumptious foods that hail from all over (click for some of our favorite recipes). For even simpler preparations that add beautiful color, rich flavor and nutritional value, just add them to things like scrambled eggs, breads and more.
Turmeric is often paired with other spices including curry mixes, black pepper, and other spice/herb blends/mixes for healthy, amazing tasting new dimensions to your meals. Combining Turmeric with healthy fat sources (e.g. chocolate) can also produce uniquely impactful anti-inflammatory effects.
With higher than normal Turmeric powder- minimum 4% Curcumin content- Be Still Farms Organic Turmeric Root Powder is also Certified Organic (USDA Organic), Non-GMO, Vegan, Paleo and non-irradiated.
Brought to you by Be Still Farms, where we have discovered that truly healthy foods, prepared as God intended, can taste far better than any processed imitation on which many of us were raised. To shop for these and other ingredients, click here.
June 04, 2019
Hi Linda! This is USDA certified organic, so we cannot add anything to the Turmeric, and are certified yearly. Thanks!
June 04, 2019
is there any additives or anything added to your Turmeric powder?
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Health Benefits of Turmeric, Nature’s Spice
- What is Turmeric?
- Many of Turmeric’s Benefits Come From Curcumin
- How Curcumin Affects the Body
- Finding the Right Curcumin Supplement
- Using Turmeric and Curcumin as Part of a Healthy Diet
- 3 Ways to Incorporate Turmeric and Curcumin into a Well-designed Diet & Lifestyle Plan
Turmeric: talk about a rock-star spice. Turmeric, which gives your curry and Indian foods that bold yellow-orange pigment, carries an impressive — some might say astounding — array of health benefits.
Sometimes called the Golden Spice or Indian saffron, turmeric is a plant with a long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4,000 years. Ground turmeric root has been used in Indian and Chinese cooking, and its medicinal benefits are as well-prized as its unique flavor.
Modern medicine has finally caught up with those benefits. According to a 2011 review, over 3,000 publications about turmeric came out within the last 25 years. Experts express equal enthusiasm. “If there were ever a spice that deserved a whole book written about it, turmeric would be the clear winner,” says Jonny Bowden, PhD, in The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, “It’s pretty much my favorite spice.”
If you’ve ever tasted turmeric powder in a dish, you’re likely to remember its potent, bold flavor. Used for centuries as both food and medicine, turmeric belongs to the ginger family. Turmeric rhizomes (stems) are dried and ground to a yellow powder. Among the benefits that Bowden says deserve a whole book, turmeric can normalize the chronic inflammation that plays a role in nearly every disease. The anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric have been incredibly well researched.
Turmeric can also help with exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, boosting recovery and performance in active people. Its anti-inflammatory benefits, in fact, can even perform similarly to over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen but without their side effects.
Turmeric can help you manage oxidative stress, a condition where free radicals overtake your body’s antioxidant defenses. Along with chronic inflammation, oxidative stress paves a path for numerous diseases. Research shows turmeric has significant antioxidant abilities.
Turmeric has been used medicinally for various conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, skin cancer, and digestive disorders. The list goes on: There aren’t many conditions turmeric can’t benefit, although some are more well-researched and publicized.
However, you can’t mention the numerous medicinal or therapeutic benefits of turmeric without discussing a specific polyphenol or antioxidant called curcumin.
Many of Turmeric’s Benefits Come From Curcumin
Here’s where you have to stop and pause with turmeric — most of this spice’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and other glory comes from its active ingredient, curcumin.
What is Curcumin?
Curcumin belongs to a family of compounds called curcuminoids. Two other well-studied curcuminoids, bisdemethoxycurcumin and demethoxycurcumin, provide additional antioxidant and other nutrient support. But curcumin is the most-studied curcuminoid and turmeric’s primary claim to fame.
Getting the Benefits of Turmeric
That’s not to say turmeric doesn’t have other benefits. In fact, more than 100 components have been isolated from turmeric, including volatile oils and nutrients. While less-studied than curcumin, they likely carry their own anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and other benefits.
To get all of those compounds, sprinkle organic turmeric powder onto your favorite foods including sauteed vegetables. It is important to use organic turmeric powder because sources that are not organic can become contaminated with lead and other heavy metals.
“Turmeric is also one of the easiest spices to use,” says Bowden, “It has a really pleasing taste and a beautiful color, and it tastes good on almost any food you can think of.” Be aware when you use it — because of its deep color, turmeric powder can stain lighter clothing and furniture.
Supplementing with Turmeric and Curcumin
Choosing the right turmeric or curcumin supplement can get confusing because of complications including quality control issues and nebulous terminology including “turmeric curcumin” supplements.
Even when you carefully read labels, finding the right supplement isn’t easy. While some supplements sell turmeric spice as ground (dried) turmeric herb, only about three percent of the weight of turmeric powder is curcumin and curcuminoid compounds that provide most of turmeric’s effects. In other words, a turmeric powder supplement contains the same turmeric powder you would sprinkle onto food. If you like turmeric, sprinkle an organic turmeric powder on to your food. If you dislike the taste of turmeric but want to its nutrients, consider an organic turmeric supplement. Most clinical studies use turmeric extract, which contains higher amounts of curcumin versus the same amount of turmeric powder (just the spice).
Some supplements use a blend of turmeric root powder and extract, typically standardized to contain a certain amount of curcumin or curcuminoids. “Standardized” means that manufacturers ensure every batch of a product is produced consistently, with the same ingredients and concentration of ingredients.
The most superior form, however, comes from a curcumin supplement standardized to contain a certain amount of curcumin or curcuminoids. Isolating curcumin from turmeric provides all of this important compound’s benefits in easy-to-swallow capsules. In fact, you’d have to swallow a teaspoon or more of turmeric to get the benefits of one curcumin capsule.
How Curcumin Affects the Body
Curcumin is a workhorse molecule, and a whole book could discuss its impressive resume. Among them, curcumin influences multiple biochemical pathways including those that impact inflammation and cancer.
Some of the best-known health issues that curcumin can benefit include:
- Cancer: Research shows curcumin can influence the natural treatment of several cancers including colon, stomach, lung, breast, and skin cancers.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Curcumin shows promise for those with autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies show curcumin has a similar impact to NSAIDs without the side effects of medications.
- Osteoarthritis: Animal studies show curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits significantly slow osteoarthritis progression and relieve pain.
- Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders: Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory benefits can support people with GI disorders including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
- Oxidative stress: As an antioxidant, curcumin is a free radical scavenger that also binds and eliminates potentially damaging metals including iron and copper.
- Brain health: Oxidative stress and inflammation play a role in many neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows curcumin protects your brain cells against oxidative stress-induced damage, lowers inflammation, and protects your energy-producing mitochondria.
- Depression: Oxidative stress and inflammation also contribute to depression. Depression, like any disease, is multifactorial, meaning multiple culprits contribute. One study found using 500 mg of curcumin twice daily for four to eight weeks provided anti-depressive benefits for people with major depressive disorders.
- Anxiety: Animal studies also show curcumin can positively impact the behavioral symptoms associated with anxiety.
- Cholesterol levels: As little as 500 mg of curcumin for one week can improve your lipid profile including total cholesterol and HDL (your “good” cholesterol) levels.
- Liver health: Research shows curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits can prevent the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
- Cystic fibrosis: Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can also aid in the treatment of cystic fibrosis, characterized by chronic respiratory infections and inflammation.
Finding the Right Curcumin Supplement
So, you want to get the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and other benefits of curcumin? From a food-first philosophy, you’ll want to first sprinkle organic turmeric powder onto your food. Even a teaspoon daily can provide its benefits. You might also consider a turmeric tea.
To get the therapeutic benefits of curcumin, however, you’ll also need to supplement. Even when you find the correct one, getting an effective dose of curcumin can be tricky. That’s because curcumin absorbs poorly. Your body metabolizes and eliminates curcumin rapidly, severely reducing its benefits. In fact, some experts argue that about 99 percent of curcumin “goes right through you.”
Researchers have looked for ways to enhance this nutrient’s absorbability, including adding fat-soluble ingredients including lecithin since curcumin absorbs optimally with either a fat-containing carrier or a meal containing plenty of healthy fat.
Curcumin and BioPerine®
Another effective way to increase curcumin’s absorption is with piperine, an alkaloid found in black pepper. In fact, research shows a specific black pepper extract (called BioPerine®) combined with curcumin could increase absorption an impressive 2,000 percent. When you take a curcumin supplement with BioPerine®, you optimize its absorption and get the many benefits of curcumin.
Additionally, piperine carries its own health properties including antioxidant, antimicrobial, and gut-supporting benefits. This black pepper extract also works synergistically with nutrients including curcumin, enhancing their absorption.
The best curcumin supplements contain three curcuminoids: curcumin plus bisdemethoxycurcumin and demethoxycurcumin, sometimes called C3 Complexᴿ or abbreviated C3.
Combining these three curcuminoids provides additional antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other benefits while providing a more well-rounded supplement that mimics the nutrient profile you receive in whole foods.
Using Turmeric and Curcumin as Part of a Healthy Diet
Most quality turmeric and curcumin supplements contain around 400–500 mg of curcumin per capsule. Depending on your condition, you’ll want to take two to four or more turmeric capsules daily in divided doses with meals. To optimize absorption of curcumin, always take quality supplements with a meal containing fat such as wild-caught fish or grass-fed beef.
Talk to your healthcare professional about individualizing doses of curcumin and other supplements for your specific health needs as well as potential contraindications to using curcumin supplements. In some cases, curcumin might affect your requirements for certain medications, but never modify or discontinue these without your physician’s consent.
Clinical trials show that curcumin is typically very well tolerated even at doses of four to eight grams daily (far more than you would likely require). Any adverse effects including GI disturbances normally occur with very high doses.
3 Ways to Incorporate Turmeric and Curcumin into a Well-designed Diet & Lifestyle Plan
Despite clever marketing and media hype, no one supplement or “superfood” can work wonders if you aren’t otherwise maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Even the most potent nutrient can’t rescue a poor diet, chronic stress, subpar sleep, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress contribute to nearly every disease, and you’ll want to tackle these conditions from multiple angles. Sprinkling turmeric on your food and supplementing with a quality curcumin can improve both conditions.
To complement turmeric and curcumin, you also need to create the right dietary and lifestyle approach:
1. Start with what you eat.
An antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory diet includes wild-caught fish, lots of leafy and cruciferous vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds, and fermented foods including kimchi and sauerkraut. Sprinkle herbs and spices including organic turmeric powder onto your foods. Make filtered water and green tea your primary liquids.
2. Complement with the right nutrients.
A good multivitamin/mineral (for men, women, and children) along with fish oil should be your nutrient foundation. If you aren’t eating cultured and fermented foods regularly, consider a probiotic supplement. After that, add nutrients like curcumin that support your anti-inflammatory and antioxidant pathways.
3. Incorporate the right lifestyle factors.
Stress management, eight hours of solid uninterrupted sleep night, and consistent exercise are among the lifestyle support you need to stay lean, healthy, and feeling vibrant.
While you should be wary of any food or supplement labeled as a miracle or otherwise discussed in hyperbolic terms, curcumin supplements show promise for many conditions that involve inflammation and/or oxidative stress.
Talk to your chiropractor or other healthcare professional about ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet and curcumin into your supplement plan. Combined with the right foods and lifestyle strategies, this powerhouse spice (and its primary nutrient curcumin) can provide numerous benefits and prove a valuable component to your healthy-living plan.