Health benefits of turmeric, according to a dietitian

Turmeric is the spice that gets the credit for giving curry its golden color. It comes from the Curcuma longa plant and is in the same family as ginger. It’s also been used in India for centuries both for cooking and for medicinal purposes.

If you keep a well-stocked spice rack, chances are you’ve got a bottle of turmeric in there. However frequently you use it, you may not be aware of the many health and nutritional benefits this yellow spice has to offer, or the different ways you can use it. Here, a dietitian breaks it all down. 

Health benefits of turmeric

Like ginger, turmeric also has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong antioxidant as it contains curcumin, says Sarah Steele, RDN, a La Mesa, California-based dietitian and a metabolic success coach at Signos. The antioxidants in curcumin work to neutralize free radicals, helping to reduce your chances of having heart disease and cancer, among other conditions.

Additionally, studies have shown that curcumin supplements may be more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of joint inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Research shows that it may be helpful in treating depression as well.

How much turmeric is in a serving?

According to Steele, turmeric supplements are best if taken as curcumin, an extract of turmeric, and taken in doses of 500mg one to two times per day. Be sure to first check with your doctor before beginning to take a new supplement like turmeric.

“Turmeric is best absorbed if consumed with a healthy fat and with some piperine, a component of black pepper,” she says. “You only need a pinch if adding it to a recipe, and when buying supplements, look for one containing piperine or black pepper.”

Benefits of turmeric tea

Turmeric can be added as a spice to all kinds of foods, with one of the most popular methods being in tea, or in golden milk, a hot Indian drink containing turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and honey or maple syrup, all combined with an unsweetened milk of your choice. 

“Although the bulk of the benefits seen in research are from higher doses of curcumin in supplements, there is still some benefit to consuming turmeric in teas, as golden milk, in curries, [baked goods], soups, smoothies, scrambled eggs and more,” Steele says.

Benefits of turmeric and ginger

Since turmeric and ginger come from the same spice family, they naturally both provide powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, Steele says.  

By Percy