What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of the turmeric plant. Traditionally used in Indian and Asian foods, turmeric – and more specifically its bioactive component, curcumin – delivers a warm flavor and a vibrant yellow color to foods.
Turmeric Health Benefits
Turmeric and its active constituent, curcumin, demonstrates potential anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. It has been studied for its role in managing inflammation, reducing symptoms of arthritis, lowering LDL cholesterol, promoting better skin health, and even in managing the symptoms of gingivitis!
Turmeric may help improve blood lipid levels and reduce LDL cholesterol (that’s the “bad” cholesterol). Among 120 participants in the overweight BMI category with hyperlipidemia, in a double-blind randomized controlled trial, those who consumed turmeric extract at 1.4 grams/day for 3 months reduced their total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol and triglycerides compared to those who did not take turmeric. (1)
Even more research demonstrates turmeric’s role in supporting healthy skin and gums, too. Animal studies have demonstrated the impact of curcumin in improving wound healing and in preventing sunlight-induced skin damage (specifically, UVB-induced skin damage). (5, 6) And, preliminary evidence suggests that using a turmeric mouthwash may be effective for reducing the severity of gingivitis and oral bacteria levels! (7)
While there’s still more to be learned about what turmeric is good for, using it on foods in amounts commonly consumed seems to be a nutritionally smart strategy!
How To Use Turmeric
Here are 3 unique, creative ways to use turmeric on the foods you already love!
- Coat Fresh Grapes with Turmeric: It’s simple! Add fresh grapes to a bowl, sprinkle ground turmeric overtop and swirl.
- Add Turmeric to Popcorn: Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric the next time you enjoy air-popped popcorn. The turmeric will add just a subtle flavor and deliver those anti-inflammatory curcuminoids. Just bring a napkin with you if you take this healthy snack to the couch — that vibrant yellow color may get on your hands! 😉
- Add Turmeric to a Smoothie: Simply add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric to your favorite smoothie recipe. It’s such a simple way to get more of this beneficial spice!
Of course, you can use turmeric in traditional Indian cuisine, like curry. You can also use turmeric in eggs, rice, quinoa, leafy green sautés, roasted vegetables, soup and in golden milk. You could even use turmeric to make roasted chickpeas!
Purchase turmeric at your grocery store, spice shops or from trusted brands online. I appreciate these turmeric products: Ground Turmeric, Fermented Turmeric Booster Powder, Turmeric Powder, and Golden Milk Blend.*
Fun Facts on Turmeric
While curcumin is widely studied, curcumin is not the only beneficial component of turmeric. In fact, important health benefits are seen with other components of turmeric, including elemene, turmerin and turmerone. (8)
So, while taking a supplement that delivers curcumin as a standalone product may provide exciting health benefits, if you’re not enjoying the spice in its whole food form, you’ll likely be missing out on some of the other beneficial attributes of turmeric. Whole foods — and whole spices — for the win!
And another fun fact on turmeric? To enhance the bioavailability of turmeric (i.e. boost its ability to enter circulation), it’s often recommended to enjoy turmeric with piperine, the active constituent in black pepper. (9)
Well, there you have it! What turmeric is, the health benefits of turmeric and how to use turmeric. I hope this helps! What’s your favorite way to enjoy turmeric? Leave me a COMMENT to share your FAVORITE way to include turmeric into your eating pattern more often.
And please know that I’m here to help you say “YES!” to enjoying nutritious foods more often! Subscribe here so you never miss a video!
*This post includes Amazon Affiliate links.
- Pashine, Lekhani, J V Singh, A K Vaish, S K Ojha, & A A Mahdi. ” EFFECT OF TURMERIC (CURCUMA LONGA) ON OVERWEIGHT HYPERLIPIDEMIC SUBJECTS: DOUBLE BLIND STUDY.” Indian Journal of Community Health[Online], 24.2 (2012): 113-117. Web. 17 Apr. 2018
- Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Dugall M, et al. Efficacy and safety of Meriva, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, during extended administration in osteoarthritis patients. Alt Med Rev 2010:15:337-4.
- Belcaro, G., Cesarone, M. R., Dugall, M., Pellegrini, L., Ledda, A., Grossi, M. G., Togni, S., and Appendino, G. Product-evaluation registry of Meriva(R), a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, for the complementary management of osteoarthritis. Panminerva Med 2010;52(2 Suppl 1):55-62.
- Chandran B, Goel A. A randomized pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25.
- Panchatcharam, M., Miriyala, S., Gayathri, V. S., and Suguna, L. Curcumin improves wound healing by modulating collagen and decreasing reactive oxygen species. Mol.Cell Biochem. 2006;290(1-2):87-96.
- Sumiyoshi, M. and Kimura, Y. Effects of a turmeric extract (Curcuma longa) on chronic ultraviolet B irradiation-induced skin damage in melanin-possessing hairless mice. Phytomedicine. 2009;16(12):1137-1143.
- Waghmare, P. F., Chaudhari, A. U., Karhadkar, V. M., and Jamkhande, A. S. Comparative evaluation of turmeric and chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash in prevention of plaque formation and gingivitis: a clinical and microbiological study. J Contemp.Dent Pract. 2011;12(4):221-224.
- Aggarwal, B. B., Yuan, W. , Li, S. and Gupta, S. C. (2013), Curcumin‐free turmeric exhibits anti‐inflammatory and anticancer activities: Identification of novel components of turmeric. Mol. Nutr. Food Res., 57: 1529-1542.
- Shoba, G., Joy, D., Joseph, T., Majeed, M., Rajendran, R., and Srinivas, P. S. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med 1998;64(4):353-356.