What Is Turmeric and Why Should I Add It to My Diet?

What Is Turmeric

Why Turmeric Deserves a Place in Your Diet and Health Regimen

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Cherry Turmeric Complex with Bioperine

If you have never tried turmeric before, you have probably seen it in your grocery store’s spice section, noticed its bright yellow-orange color, and wondered “what is turmeric good for, exactly?” If you’re not accustomed to Indian cuisine, you may not know that turmeric is what gives Indian curry its bright orange color. However, this spice does much more than just add color to your food.

Turmeric root and turmeric powder For thousands of years, the people of India have used turmeric as a staple cooking ingredient and have also acknowledged the plant as possessing medicinal properties. Today, food and medical researchers now acknowledge turmeric as not only a great food additive but also a dietary supplement.

What is turmeric? It’s a flowering plant in the ginger family. The roots are the most valued part. When dried and ground into powder, turmeric root becomes a flavorful food additive that’s popular in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian cuisine. It’s commonly used as an ingredient in meat entrees, curries, soups, and many other dishes for both its bold color and its earthy aromatic qualities.

So what does turmeric do? It contains important compounds that help our bodies in many different ways, from reducing inflammation to increasing the antioxidant capacity of the body. New research also indicates many other surprising benefits to adding turmeric to your diet.

Health Benefits of Adding Turmeric to Your Diet

Many people are exploring more natural remedies for common ailments instead of automatically resorting to prescription medications. Inflammation is a major symptom for countless medical conditions, and many people suffer from inflammation of various types every day.

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Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory. So what’s turmeric good for? If you suffer from arthritis, adding some turmeric to your diet is a great way to combat inflammation naturally without resorting entirely on medications. The health benefits of turmeric do not stop with its anti-inflammatory properties, however.

The curcumin found in turmeric also boosts levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth hormone found in the human brain that improves memory, fights degenerative neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, and increases the speed of brain functioning. Higher BDNF levels can also help the symptoms of depression.

Turmeric for Heart Disease Prevention

Turmeric Hearth HealthHeart disease continues to be one of the leading causes of death in the world, and turmeric could possess properties that help you lower your risk of developing heart diseases. The curcumin found in turmeric strengthens the endothelium in the lining of the blood vessels of the heart. Poor endothelial function is a major driving force behind heart disease. Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties also assist with healthier heart functions.

Turmeric and Cancer Prevention

Cancer is a deadly condition caused by uncontrolled cell growth, and scientific studies have reported that curcumin in turmeric can inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. Curcumin can also make it more difficult for angiogenesis to occur, which is the process of tumors growing more blood vessels which allow them to grow faster. While additional research is necessary to determine curcumin’s power as a cancer-fighting agent, it has clear preventative value and may increase resistance to various types of cancer.

Other Known Benefits of Turmeric in Your Diet

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If you suffer from depression, adding turmeric in your diet may help with your symptoms. Most of the available research surrounding turmeric and its potential medical benefits indicates that the curcumin found in turmeric is an effective aid against the symptoms of depression, and many people who experience depression find the typical pharmaceuticals prescribed to treat it as mildly effective at best. If you have found psychiatric treatment for your depression to be ineffective or not as effective as you would have liked, adding turmeric to your diet may help diminish your symptoms naturally while also providing several other benefits.

Turmeric can also lower the amount of triglyceride blood fats in your body and help prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver in people who drink little to no alcohol. People who have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease could see decreased fat accumulations in their livers after adding turmeric to their diets.

Ongoing Studies into the Medical Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric has had a place in Ayurvedic medicine for years as an anti-inflammatory treatment, rheumatoid arthritis treatment, and treatment for infections. Currently, research into curcumin’s potential as a cancer-fighting agent continues, and Western medical researchers are also looking into curcumin as a potential treatment for cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and various cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

Unproven Benefits of Turmeric

Aside from the known medical benefits of turmeric, people across the world use it to treat a variety of other conditions. Some believe turmeric to be an effective aid against the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, heartburn, stress reduction, and to improve thinking and memory. However, there are no scientific studies or concrete evidence to support these applications.

While the full range of benefits of turmeric are still being explored, some benefits have been proven, such as the fact that turmeric is an effective natural treatment for various types of inflammation. If you struggle with various health conditions and are interested in more natural treatments or dietary adjustments to help you cope with your symptoms, adding turmeric to your diet could be an effective option.

Add Turmeric to Your Diet

Chef with Spoon Full of TurmericTurmeric is a popular addition to many types of dishes, but if you’re not interested in cooking with it you can add it to your diet as a supplement. A single tablespoon of turmeric contains under 30 calories, six grams of carbohydrates, two grams of fiber, one gram of protein, and trace amounts of vital minerals such as manganese, potassium, and phosphorus. Turmeric can be a great addition to any diet that does not include foods rich in these essential minerals.

So is turmeric good for you? If you eat a diet missing vital minerals like manganese, phosphorus, and potassium, a single tablespoon of turmeric can provide a noticeable boost to your mineral levels, but you don’t want to attempt to simply down a tablespoon of turmeric on its own!

Adding turmeric to your diet can be as simple as taking it as a supplement, mixing powdered turmeric into a smoothie, or using it in your favorite recipes. Turmeric has a habit of giving foods prepared with it a beautiful yellowish hue, but it may stain some types of cookware.

Enhancing Your Medication Regimen With a Turmeric Supplement

Turmeric CapsulesCountless American struggle with all types of medical conditions; many of them necessitating the use of multiple prescription medications. Modern Americans are generally more health-conscious than previous generations, and many are looking for ways to optimize their nutrition and prevent disease through natural and organic means rather than relying solely upon pharmaceutical treatments. You can also find blended complex supplements with turmeric for a more holistic approach to enhancing your diet.

If you experience symptoms of inflammatory diseases, depression, heart disease, or liver disease, turmeric could be a great addition to your diet. However, it’s important to remember that the research surrounding turmeric’s medical capabilities is incomplete, and while there is minimal risk of negative side effects when adding turmeric to your diet it is always safest to discuss potential dietary changes with your doctor.

Potential Side Effects

Turmeric is usually safe for anyone to consume orally on a daily basis as either a food ingredient or as a medicinal supplement. Turmeric is also generally safe to use in topical applications and as a mouth rinse. However, it is important to discuss these uses with a physician before trying them. Pregnant women are the only group who faces any significant risk from medicinal doses of turmeric. During pregnancy, food doses of turmeric are generally safe, but medicinal doses are not recommended for pregnant women as they may promote menstrual activity and jeopardize the pregnancy.

Turmeric Holds Some Pretty Incredible Health Benefits

It’s easy to supplement your diet with more turmeric to fight inflammation, build up resistance against liver and heart disease, and diminish the symptoms of many different ailments.

Where To Buy Turmeric


Here is our recommended Turmeric supplement! All recommendations are tested or inspected as many as 15 times throughout the manufacturing process. That is why you can shop with confidence and know we take pride in helping our readers become happy through healthy living.

Cherry Turmeric Complex with Bioperine

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About Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding. He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Read More About Matthew Poteet, PharmD