Turmeric is a spice that has been used in traditional medicine and Asian cuisine for centuries.
The most common form is turmeric powder, made from the dried and ground roots (or rhizomes) of the turmeric plant.
This bright yellow powder is rich in antioxidants and beneficial compounds which have many health benefits when used as a dietary supplement.
Like many herbal supplements, turmeric has a long history of use in culinary and medicinal traditions and a long list of purported health benefits. However, many of these claimed health benefits lack strong scientific evidence, so we’ll explain the top 5 health benefits of turmeric powder and discuss the scientific evidence behind them.
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Dried turmeric is a versatile spice used in many sweet and savory dishes, and it has various health benefits when taken as a dietary supplement. Turmeric contains many bioactive compounds known as curcuminoids with noted health benefits, and curcumin is the most widely studied of these curcuminoids.
RELATED: Learn more about the differences between turmeric and curcumin here.
Subsequently, many medical studies used curcumin extracts, though turmeric powder has many of the same benefits as curcumin in larger doses. Some of the health benefits of turmeric include the following:
Turmeric contains many bioactive compounds known as curcuminoids which have potent anti-inflammatory effects and may help treat chronic inflammation. However, very high doses of curcuminoids are required to produce medicinal-level results, so run-of-the-mill turmeric powder may not provide noticeable results for chronic inflammatory conditions.
Curcumin has also been shown to have neuroprotective properties, which may help protect the brain from damage and improve cognitive function. Several studies have found that supplementing with turmeric powder can improve memory and attention span in people with age-related cognitive decline, which may help maintain long-term brain health.
Studies have found that curcumin supplements can help treat depression, with one trial finding that curcumin supplements had similar results to Prozac. While more research is needed, these findings suggest that turmeric may be a natural and effective way to combat depression.
RELATED: Turmeric isn’t the only herb with brain-boosting benefits – read our article on natural nootropic supplements to learn more about supplements that can improve your cognitive power.
Research shows that curcumin can help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as well as improve the function of your blood vessels. Additionally, turmeric powder can help reduce inflammation and oxidative damage, which have been linked to heart disease.
There are several types of arthritis, though most involve inflammation in the joints associated with age-related degeneration, which has no obvious cure. Fortunately, the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric have been shown to improve arthritis symptoms when taken as a dietary supplement.
Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells in test tube studies, but more research is needed to determine if these effects translate to humans. Still, the benefits of turmeric powder (notably its anti-inflammatory effects) may help with the side effects of cancer treatments, and it is widely considered safe, so it can’t hurt.
In short, turmeric – and its most active ingredient, curcumin – has many health benefits, such as fighting inflammation and reducing your chances of developing chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Turmeric supplements come in many different shapes and sizes, but the most common form is dried and powdered turmeric, which you can find in most grocery stores. However, you can’t just eat turmeric powder from the jar, so people have devised many different ways to enjoy turmeric as part of a healthy lifestyle.
You can sprinkle turmeric on your scrambled eggs, mix it into oatmeal or stir it into vegetable soup, but the most popular method is mixing it into drinks. Many people mix turmeric powder with honey, ginger, or apple cider vinegar, citing the health benefits or believing that some combination of turmeric and vinegar may help them lose weight.
RELATED: Many believe Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) can help you lose weight.
While all these ingredients are safe in moderation, a daily turmeric tonic may exceed the safe recommended dosage for turmeric and cause some side effects. More studies are needed on the long-term effects of high-dose turmeric supplements, as turmeric powder is known to cause mild side effects like headaches or diarrhea in large doses.
Turmeric is a versatile spice that can be used in a massive variety of ways, whether you use it in the kitchen or take it as a dietary supplement. Here are just some of the ways you can use turmeric powder to add a little color to your daily routine:
Turmeric powder is a popular spice in many cuisines – including Indian, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian – and is often added to curries, stews and rice dishes. You can also use it to season roasted vegetables and sprinkle it over scrambled eggs or popcorn to add a warm earth flavor and pop of bright yellow color.
Golden milk is a traditional drink made with turmeric powder, milk, honey, and optional spices like cinnamon and ginger. It’s traditionally served warm and is a comforting drink often consumed before bed to promote relaxation and improve sleep.
Turmeric supplements are an easy way to add turmeric to your daily routine, as they contain standardized amounts of curcumin and often come in easy-to-swallow capsules. While they are often more expensive than turmeric powder, many supplements contain higher amounts of curcuminoids, believed to be turmeric’s main beneficial compounds.
RELATED: Learn more about the benefits of turmeric pills and how to choose the best ones here.
Turmeric can also be used topically as a paste or mask by mixing turmeric powder with a binder like honey or coconut oil to make a paste you apply to your skin. Turmeric paste can help with acne, inflammation, and skin health much more effectively than ingesting turmeric, so while it may sound unconventional, this trick could give you a glowing complexion.
RELATED: Turmeric may help slow the visible effects of aging – read our blog on the best vitamins for healthy skin to learn more about supplements that will give you a glowing complexion.
One of the many purported benefits of turmeric in weight loss – specifically, many believe that supplementing with turmeric can burn belly fat. While turmeric has many potential health benefits, there is limited scientific evidence to support the claim that it can directly help with weight loss or burning belly fat.
RELATED: Learn more about the benefits of turmeric for weight loss in this article which explores the health benefits of turmeric and how it may help you lose weight.
Fortunately, turmeric may indirectly support weight loss through various pathways, as it can reduce inflammation linked to obesity and regulate blood sugar levels. While turmeric powder is no magic bullet for weight loss, incorporating it into a healthy and balanced diet may help support overall health and wellness, which can support weight loss efforts.
Turmeric is one of the most effective herbal supplements in existence, as it has many health benefits and very few known side effects. Many reliable studies show that supplementing with turmeric has major benefits for your mind and body, many of which come from its main active ingredient, curcumin.
Furthermore, turmeric powder is widely available and inexpensive (compared to many other herbal supplements), making it arguably the best form of turmeric supplement based on:
Turmeric is widely used in sweet and savory dishes, and drinks, and can be mixed into topical creams and pastes, making it infinitely more versatile than other dietary supplements like pills. Furthermore, mixing turmeric into your favorite recipes is an easy and enjoyable way to add it to your routine and helps you build habits for consistent intake.
Turmeric powder is stocked by most major supermarkets and is – gram for gram – much cheaper than dietary supplements like turmeric pills. However, the kind of turmeric found in the spice aisle of your local grocery store probably has lower levels of curcuminoids like curcumin than supplements containing pure curcumin extract.
Turmeric contains various micronutrients like manganese, iron, vitamin B6 potassium, and dietary fiber in its natural form, while refined supplements may only contain curcumin extract. Therefore, turmeric powder contains more nutrients than turmeric supplements, which may have many holistic health benefits.
Turmeric is a colorful spice with various health benefits corroborated by traditional medicine and modern scientific studies that are widely available and generally considered safe. Although turmeric powder has many noted health benefits, it is not officially approved to treat any medical conditions, so we recommend using it as a dietary supplement, not an alternative medicine.
As with any dietary supplement, we recommend asking your doctor before taking turmeric supplements, as they are not officially approved to treat any medical conditions.