Health benefits of turmeric, according to a dietitian

Turmeric is the spice that has the merit of giving curry its golden color. It comes from the Curcuma longa plant and belongs to the same family as ginger. It has also been used in India for centuries for both cooking and medicinal purposes.

If you keep a well-stocked spice rack, chances are you have a bottle of turmeric there. No matter how often 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 because it contains curcumin, says Sarah Steele, RDN, registered dietitian based in La Mesa, Calif., and metabolic success coach at Signos. The antioxidants in curcumin work to neutralize free radicals, helping to lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, among other conditions.

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

How much turmeric is there in one serving?

According to Steele, turmeric supplements are best taken as curcumin, an extract of turmeric, and taken in doses of 500 mg once or twice a day. Be sure to check with your doctor first before you start taking a new supplement like turmeric.

“Turmeric is better absorbed if eaten with a healthy fat and with 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, one of the most popular methods being tea or 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 most of the benefits seen in research come from higher doses of curcumin in supplements, there are still benefits to consuming turmeric in teas, such as golden milk, in curries, [baked goods]soups, smoothies, scrambled eggs and more,” says Steele.

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Benefits of Turmeric and Ginger

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

“They also both lend themselves to similar dishes and are therefore often paired in recipes,” she says. “Many herbs and spices can have a synergistic effect when combined, so it may be beneficial to use both turmeric and ginger.”

Can Turmeric Help You Lose Weight?

If you’re hoping that adding turmeric to your routine might help you shed a few pounds, you might be in luck. Recent studies suggest curcumin may have a beneficial role in weight loss, Steele says.

“Curcumin may help stimulate BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) which helps maintain and increase brain neurons/neural pathways and may positively affect the area of ​​the brain involved in eating, drinking, body weight, memory and learning,” she explains.

In other words, opting for turmeric tea or golden milk can help you make more nutrition-conscious decisions when debating a sugary snack or drink.

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