Nutrition Video Series: Turmeric

This powerful spice offers anti-inflammatory properties, along with so many potential health benefits. But how much should you be having? And how do you use it? Turmeric is the discussing of this week's nutrition video series!

  • Turmeric is a plant in the same family as ginger. So similar to ginger, it’s roots are ground up into a powder and used as a spice. It’s what gives curry that bright yellow color, and has been used in India and Southeast Asia for thousands of years.
  • A common misunderstanding I hear about inflammation: “Well, I don’t think I have much inflammation because my workouts aren’t very intense. Isn’t that more of a concern for athletes?” While athletes absolutely do experience inflammation from strenuous exercise, inflammation affects more people than you’d think. Being overweight, stress, lack of sleep, and smoking can all contribute to inflammation, which in turn increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, & many other diseases.
  • Along with it’s anti-inflammatory properties, research shows turmeric may be beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels, osteoarthritis pain, symptoms associated with UC and Crohn’s, & protect against certain cancers.
  • The main active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. It has powerful antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s often extracted from the turmeric root & sold in supplement form. However, curcumin is just one of many different components of the spice, & research shows that eating the whole spice increases the bioavailability of these compounds. Another way to improve the absorption of curcumin is by consuming it along with black pepper.
  • Research studies have looked at several different dosages - everything from 1/16th of a tsp to 2 Tbsp of turmeric a day. So what’s a recommended amount you should be having? Current recommendations are 1-3 grams of turmeric (or about ½ - 1.5 tsp) per day. This could easily be incorporated into your food throughout the day. You could add it to a soup, casserole, roasted veggies, make a curry sauce, or one of my personal favorites, sprinkle it into your smoothies. You can even find turmeric tea lattes at several coffee shops now!