Diet and Nutrition

The Benefits of Turmeric in Your Diet

The Benefits of Turmeric in Your Diet

Key Takeaways

  • Turmeric is mainly used to add flavor and color to the food. 
  • Turmeric is widely used for cosmetic purposes too.
  • Turmeric reduces the chances of developing prostate cancer.

Turmeric is a staple ingredient when cooking curries. The beautiful yellow color it endows makes the appearance of dishes more beautiful and tempting. However, only a few know that it is a super spice that has several health benefits. Turmeric is actually an herb mainly known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. In India, it is being used for many years as a home remedy to treat damaged, bruised, or inflamed skin. It may also be used to treat psoriasis. Many studies have also found turmeric to be extremely useful in treating a number of health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and liver diseases, among others. Turmeric facemasks are extensively used around the world to make the skin beautiful and glowing, as well as treat other skin imperfections. This article will give you information about turmeric: what is it, where to buy it, what are its health benefits, and more.

What is turmeric powder?

Turmeric is a yellow-colored powder, which is prepared by grinding mature turmeric underground stems. The scientific name of turmeric is Curcuma longa. This spice is characterized by a bright-yellow color and a pepper-like aroma with a sharp, pungent taste. Because of its numerous health benefits, it is also sometimes referred to as the “Queen of Spices”. Turmeric is mainly used to add flavor and color to the food. It is widely used for cosmetic purposes as well. Many women, especially in India, use turmeric face masks to enhance their beauty. The ancient Vedic culture of India is utilizing the medicinal properties of turmeric for several centuries.

According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS Publication), turmeric has antiviral, antioxidant, antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antimutagenic properties. It is a rich source of healthy nutrients such as dietary fiber, protein, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, copper, and zinc. It can be used to treat a variety of health conditions.

What are turmeric supplements?

Turmeric supplements are commonly used these days by people who are not able to get it enough through their diet. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, many studies suggest that turmeric has the capability to improve the health of your blood vessels, joints, and digestive tract. The compounds present in turmeric capsules can contribute towards the treatment of cancer. As such, it is suggested as a useful component of modern integrative medicine.

From juices and teas to capsule supplements, there are several ways by which you can obtain turmeric's health benefits. However, there is still very little evidence that suggests on the doses of turmeric supplement you should take. Of course, the dose depends on person-to-person and it is highly advised that you ask your physician first before taking these supplements. It is best to naturally include turmeric in your foods rather than having them as supplements, which are, of course, more expensive. You can add turmeric to your curries, roasted vegetables, smoothies, soup, milk, and salads to utilize its health benefits.  

Where to buy turmeric?

You can buy turmeric from grocery stores and supermarkets. If you have an Indian spice store nearby, you are sure to get turmeric from there because most Indian dishes contain turmeric. In these stores, you will find turmeric in powdered or ground forms. Today, many online shops also provide organic turmeric. You can explore these stores and know some turmeric options. As compared to regular turmeric, organic turmeric doesn’t rely on artificial fertilizers or animal manure for growth. They are naturally grown using compost and biological pest control methods to keep the pests away. There is no spraying of harmful pesticides. These pesticides go inside our body and raise health concerns. So if you want to take full advantage of turmeric with no possible health issues, it is better to go for the organic brand.

If you are going to buy organic turmeric powder, make sure to check whether it is certified under quality standards or not. In the United States, genuinely organic products including turmeric receive a "USDA" certification. Hence, look for this mark on the packet. When USDA approves the producer of the organic product, there will be a USDA mark of inspection on its packaging, which assures consumers that the quality of the product has been properly tested.

How can you incorporate turmeric in your diet?

You can incorporate turmeric in your diet by consuming the following:

1) Turmeric milk

When it comes to getting the full benefits of turmeric, you can’t go wrong with turmeric milk. This turmeric drink is very easy to prepare and combines the goodness of milk too. If you recently got injured or you have a cough and colds, take this amazing drink to feel good. Simply add 1/4 tablespoon of ground turmeric to a glass of warm milk to make this healthy drink.

2) Turmeric tea

If you are a tea lover, adding turmeric to your tea is a great way to make it a better and healthier drink. In fact, according to the University of California, studies have found that curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric that can help reduce an individual's chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. To prepare turmeric tea, add 1 tablespoon of turmeric to 4 cups of water and bring it to boil. Lower the flame and let it simmer for 10 minutes. To drink the tea, strain the mixture using a fine sieve and enjoy.

3) Turmeric in curries

In India, a vegetable curry is not complete without the addition of turmeric. This spice imparts a beautiful color and flavor to the curries, making them even more appetizing and delicious. If you have not been incorporating turmeric in your dishes yet, try it now. You will love the color and aroma of this spice.

4) Soup

Lentil soup is a great way to add turmeric into your diet. You can try adding turmeric to other types of soup as well. It tastes good!

5) Salad dressing

Turmeric can be added to a salad dressing as well. Browse the internet and you will find several salad recipes that use turmeric to enhance their look and flavor.

6) Turmeric rice

Adding turmeric to rice not only imparts flavor to it but also gives it a beautiful yellow hue. Of course, you also get to enjoy the amazing health benefits of turmeric when you eat turmeric rice.

7) Roasted vegetables

Toss some fresh veggies like cauliflower, diced potatoes, or Brussels sprouts with some olive oil, a little bit of turmeric, and other seasonings you like. Roast them all at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30-40 minutes.

8) Add a bit to your smoothie

You can add fresh turmeric root in juices and smoothies to make a healthy drink. If fresh root is not available, you can use a bit of ground spice too.

What are the health benefits of turmeric?

Turmeric uses and health benefits are immense. Most of its benefits come from its key active ingredient called "curcumin". It is highly therapeutic and is included in various pharmaceutical drugs, primarily because of its antioxidant and immunity-boosting properties.

The following are 10 amazing health benefits of turmeric:

1) Prevents cancer

It has been found that turmeric reduces the chances of prostate cancer in men. It is also known for stopping the growth of existing prostate cancer cells and even completely destroy them. According to studies, it is curcumin, which is turmeric's active component that provides protection against radiation-induced tumors. It also prevents the growth of tumor cells in colon cancer, breast cancer, and T-cell leukemia.

2) Controls diabetes

Turmeric helps control diabetes by moderating the insulin levels in the body. It is known for improving glucose control and increasing the effects of medications used in diabetes management. Turmeric capsules can be helpful if you have diabetes. However, when combined with other strong medications, it can also significantly decrease the levels of sugar in the blood. Therefore, it is still best to consult a healthcare professional before taking turmeric capsules or other supplements.

3) Relieves arthritis

Turmeric is best known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Hence, it can be used to treat both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Turmeric is great for bone health, so including it in your diet will considerably help you. It also destroys free radicals that can cause harm to the body's cells.

4) Boosts immunity

Lipopolysaccharide, a substance also present in turmeric helps boost the body's immune system. The antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties of turmeric also help strengthen one's immunity. A strong immune system reduces the chances of getting colds, flu, cough, and other diseases. When your body’s immune system is performing at its best, you can fight with almost every type of disease.  

5) Heals wound

Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. Therefore, it can be effectively used as a disinfectant over cuts or burns. You can make a turmeric paste by mixing powdered turmeric with water and putting it directly on the affected area to speed up the healing process. Turmeric paste can also be used to repair damaged skin. It is also helpful in treating psoriasis and other types of skin inflammation.

6) Controls weight

If you want to keep your body weight under control, then turmeric powder can be very helpful. Turmeric contains a component that can help increase the flow of bile, which is a digestive juice that aids in the breakdown of dietary fat. Thus, if you want to lose weight or treat obesity, do not forget to incorporate turmeric into your meals.

7) Prevents Alzheimer’s disease

In older adults, Alzheimer’s disease is becoming a common problem. Brain inflammation is believed to be one of the main causes of cognitive disorders. Turmeric promotes the overall health of the brain by removing the buildup of plaque. It also promotes the flow of oxygen in the brain, thereby preventing or slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

8) Improves digestion

Turmeric contains certain components that stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile. This, in turn, improves digestion and prevents bloating and other gastrointestinal symptoms. This spice is also known for treating many types of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis. However, if you have problems in your gallbladder, you should not take turmeric in its supplement form as it may worsen your condition. Try to naturally incorporate turmeric into your diet if you are having any digestive problems.

Turmeric acts as a natural liver detoxifier. It promotes the production of vital enzymes that detoxify the blood. These enzymes break down and reduce toxins in the body. Turmeric is also known for revitalizing and improving blood circulation. Hence, adding this herb to your daily diet is one of the best thing you can do to promote liver health and an overall well-being.

10) Lowers cholesterol level

High cholesterol levels can lead to cardiovascular diseases. According to studies, when turmeric is used as a food seasoning, it can lower serum cholesterol levels. Hence, if you want to keep your cholesterol levels under control, make sure to include turmeric in your diet.

Turmeric Paste for Your Skin

Turmeric has been used for centuries to beautify the skin and treat various skin conditions. Turmeric face masks are an inexpensive facial that you can do at home to get an instant glow on your skin. It is also effective in preventing acne, reducing the signs of aging, soothing burns, reducing pigmentation and tanning, removing facial hair, removing dead skin cells, treating wrinkles, and more. Turmeric works as a skin whitening agent too. To make a turmeric paste, just add a little bit of water to turmeric powder. Keep the consistency thick but flowing, so that it can set on your face well.

However, before using turmeric on your skin, always perform a patch test. In most cases, there are no known side effects of turmeric in the skin. Hence, it is safe to use. However, doing a patch test is still advised. To make sure that turmeric does not stain your clothes, wear old and dark-colored shirts. Turmeric stains are difficult to remove, so it is better not to take a chance, especially with new clothes.