Turmeric has certain anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation in the body, which is one of the factors causing obesity. Curcumin, an antioxidant, suppresses the inflammatory condition in fat, pancreatic, and muscle cells. According to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, this can help reduce high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and other metabolic conditions.
According to a study conducted at Tufts University, curcumin can actually suppress fat tissue growth. Another way in which turmeric helps in losing weight is by regulating sugar levels and further preventing insulin resistance. This results in excess fat that is not retained in the body. Safe consumption of turmeric increases the bile production present in the stomach. Bile is a digestive juice that helps in emulsifying fat and metabolism.
Turmeric Benefits for Health
It is a powerful weapon against inflammation
Inflammation is a root cause of many health conditions like metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and even cancer. Plus, inflammation has also been shown to play a role in cognitive decline. Turmeric inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory genes, blocking the inflammatory response pathway. The effect of turmeric’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties offers a protective benefit.
To make it easy to add in, use turmeric in a go-to salad dressing. I love to whisk together white miso paste, tahini, apple cider vinegar, and turmeric—simply delicious and powerful (or check out the full turmeric salad dressing recipe).
It kicks free-radical butt
Turmeric has been shown to increase antioxidant capacity and help fight free-radical damage. This is especially good for the immune system, and brain function, and what’s behind those anti-cancer claims.
It’s also been shown to amp up the body’s natural antioxidant capacity, boosting your defense system. Turmeric’s antioxidant properties also benefit our appearance by protecting the skin from free-radical damage like environmental pollutants. Add a teaspoon to your favorite green juice or smoothie for an antioxidant boost.
It helps boost your immune system
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties make it a health-promoting powerhouse. While curcumin is not absorbed that well into the bloodstream, consuming it with black pepper enhances absorption, thanks to a substance in the pepper called piperine. One of my favorite ancient ayurvedic remedies I learned at the clinic was a cold-fighting tea with ginger and black pepper. Add one teaspoon of turmeric to 12 ounces of water and bring to a boil. Take the water off the heat and add one-quarter teaspoon of ground ginger and black pepper. You could also make this into golden milk by using coconut milk instead of water. Since curcumin is fat-soluble, consuming it with a fat-containing food or beverage helps you absorb it more effectively.
It eases joint pain
The anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin may help ease joint pain. Studies have actually shown promising results in the ability of turmeric and curcumin to manage pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. It may also be helpful for athletes looking to soothe soreness.
I recommend a smoothie packed with anti-inflammatory, soothing superfoods to my clients struggling with aches and pains. My go-to combo is frozen wild blueberries, roasted or steamed beets (another potent antioxidant-rich food), and turmeric. If you want to make it a meal, add your favorite plant protein.
It may help treat and prevent cancer
Turmeric and curcumin have been studied extensively for their role as complementary cancer treatment and prevention of cancerous cells, with many promising findings in animal and human studies. Turmeric is a natural pairing for a cancer-fighting plant-based dish. Mix turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and black pepper with olive oil and toss with chickpeas. Roast at 350°F until crispy (about 20 minutes) and enjoy over a salad or veggie-rich soup.
It protects your heart
Curcumin and turmeric have been shown to protect your heart in numerous ways like improving endothelial function and reducing inflammation and free-radical damage. Reap the benefits in a delicious way by cooking turmeric into a fiber-rich whole-grain dish like brown rice, quinoa, or barley.
It helps heal your gut
Though we often associate turmeric with spicy foods like curry, it has actually been used to treat inflammatory bowel conditions like colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Try it in a gut-soothing soup using organic chicken bone broth as the base. Turmeric also happens to be a low-FODMAP food, so it’s safe to use if you’re on a FODMAPs elimination diet.
It boosts your mood
Curcumin’s impact on BDNF has also been shown to have potential use in depression treatment by reversing detrimental brain changes that occur in depression. It’s also been studied for its potential to boost levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Because tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, getting enough of this amino acid can also help support a stable mood. While it’s mostly found in animal protein, oats are a great plant-based source. Savory oatmeal, anyone? My go-to s’voats spice combo is turmeric, ginger, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Add an egg for staying power, veggies for extra nutrients, and you’ve got a meal.
It might stave off neurodegenerative diseases
Because curcumin crosses the blood-brain barrier, research has suggested the brain can also benefit from its anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits and stave off conditions like Alzheimer’s. Use turmeric in an all-purpose spice blend for fish or toss with olive oil and toast up with walnuts, another food shown to protect brain function as we age.
It improves long-term cognitive function
Curcumin has been studied for its potential to boost brain health by increasing and supporting healthy levels of a hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays a key role in long-term cognitive function. Turmeric goes great with eggs, another brain food. Shake some into a veggie omelet or scrambled eggs.
How to use turmeric for weight loss?
- One way is to drink turmeric tea. All you need to do is to pour a cup or two of water into a saucepan and boil it. Once the water comes to a boil, add a dash of turmeric to it. In case you want to add cinnamon, you could add a stick or powder to it. Cinnamon also helps lose weight. Stir well and pour it into a cup and drink when it is lukewarm.
- Another way is to add it to curries, rice dishes, desserts, and other delicacies regularly.
- Turmeric milk is another option. Heat the milk for about six to seven minutes on medium flame. Pour the milk into a glass and add the turmeric powder. Stir well.
Remember, turmeric is not a miracle spice; you will have to eat a healthy diet combined with exercise to lose weight. The same applies to all spices, herbs, or any other nutritious food, even if they have been proven to be beneficial for weight loss.
Turmeric Side Effects
Risk of Excessive Bleeding
Turmeric has been found to slow down blood clotting, and this can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in those who have bleeding disorders.
Turmeric could also interact with certain medications to cause excessive bleeding, so if you are on any medications for bleeding disorders or have bleeding disorders, stop taking turmeric.
Having turmeric cooked in curry hasn’t been linked to stomach issues, but high doses of turmeric over an extended period of time have been found to cause gastrointestinal problems.
Adults who consume more than the recommended amount of turmeric supplement (400 mg to 3 grams) can suffer from stomach problems – make sure you only take the recommended amount. Turmeric may also cause heartburn and indigestion.
Increased Risk of Gallstones and Gallbladder Issues
Turmeric contains a significant amount of oxalate, a substance that can increase the risk of developing gallstones. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, urine showed increased levels of oxalate when the subjects had taken turmeric, compared to the control group.
Increased gallbladder contractions were also reported when turmeric supplements of 20-40 mg were taken. If you have gallbladder issues, it’s best to avoid turmeric supplements.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Blood pressure that is too low can be dangerous, and high doses of turmeric can lower blood pressure. If you take medications to lower your blood pressure, you need to be careful while taking turmeric.
Increased Risk of Kidney Stones
As with gallstones, too much turmeric can increase the risk of developing kidney stones because of the oxalates in it. These oxalates can bind to calcium to form calcium oxalate, which is insoluble, and mainly responsible for kidney stones.
In one study, consuming turmeric led to a higher urinary oxalate excretion compared to cinnamon, so it’s wise to avoid turmeric if you have kidney problems.
Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
Turmeric is safe for pregnant women to eat as a spice in food, but turmeric supplements should be avoided during pregnancy.
There is not much research available at the moment on the possible effects of turmeric on pregnant and breastfeeding women, and it’s not known if the active compounds will pass through breast milk.
Nausea and Diarrhea
Nausea and diarrhea are two symptoms associated with turmeric supplements, and this is because curcumin in turmeric can cause irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.
Even low doses can cause nausea in some people, so if you notice any symptoms after taking turmeric, stop using it.
Don’t Use with Blood Thinning Medication
Curcumin in turmeric has been shown to reduce blood platelet function and should be avoided by those taking blood-thinning medication such as Warfarin or Coumadin.
May Cause Allergic Reactions
Curcumin can cause contact allergy, and some people have reported contact dermatitis and urticaria (hives) due to skin contact with turmeric. As turmeric is part of the same family as ginger, you are more likely to have a reaction if you’re allergic to ginger. If you are allergic to yellow food coloring, you may also be allergic to turmeric.
Could be a Factor in Infertility
If men take large amounts of turmeric supplements, it could have an effect on their testosterone levels and decrease sperm movement, which could lead to infertility.
May Cause Iron Deficiency
Studies have shown that some compounds in turmeric bind to iron. This could lead to a decrease in the body’s ability to absorb iron from food, which could lead to iron deficiency.
Avoid if You are Having Surgery
If you are due to have an operation, avoid turmeric for one to two weeks before surgery. This is because of turmeric’s tendency to inhibit blood clotting.