Turmeric is considered anti-inflammatory and has many positive effects on digestive, hair, and skin health. In India, spice is widely used and healing properties are attributed to it. But how healthy the turmeric root actually is and whether it can help prevent or cure diseases is controversial.
There is evidence that turmeric can help with cancer, arthritis, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other conditions. Turmeric is also said to help with weight loss.
How turmeric intake works best, what you need to consider, what effects it can actually show, and for whom it is suitable, we want to explain to you in this article. We want to create clarity through neutral reporting and give you helpful tips along the way.
The most important in a nutshell
- Turmeric is one of the healthiest spices and is often called a superfood. Not only in India, but people also swear by its healing effects and use it for health in addition to seasoning food.
- The contained curcumin has proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and can prevent or alleviate certain diseases and symptoms. Thus, its benefits and drawbacks are being researched for other diseases as well.
- In addition to turmeric as a spice powder, fresh root or turmeric capsules can also be taken. Especially in combination with black pepper and oil, it unfolds its full effect. Thus, turmeric can be processed in a wide variety of dishes and drinks.
Definition: What is turmeric?
Turmeric comes from the ginger family. It is a plant species that grows mainly in South Asia and is cultivated in the tropics. Its root outwardly resembles the ginger root. However, it is also called turmeric due to its strong yellow coloration.
Turmeric root can be used fresh or dried for seasoning or as a dye. The substance curcumin is responsible for the yellow color. Thus, turmeric is also an essential ingredient of curry and other products that are colored yellow, such as mustard or certain pasta.
In India, the turmeric root has been one of the most important spices for more than 4000 years. It is considered sacred there because it is said to have a cleansing and energizing effect. Here, too, there are numerous studies on the root, because it is said to have various health-promoting effects.
Thus, it is believed that turmeric can have digestive, antioxidant and analgesic effects, and even anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.
In the same way, however, there are also many studies that disprove or fail to confirm the medicinal effects of turmeric root. Thus, many questions remain open about the health-promoting root.
What you should know about taking turmeric
In the following paragraphs, you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about taking turmeric.
How should turmeric be taken?
For turmeric to have a positive effect on health recommend taking 2 to 3 mg of curcumin per kilogram of body weight per day. This amount is said to have mainly preventive effects.
The easiest way to do this is to season your food with turmeric powder or use fresh turmeric in food or drinks. This is a natural way to consume curcumin, which can have great health benefits for you.
- Easy to take and dose.
- Easy to integrate into dishes.
- Difficult to absorb.
- Hardly sufficient in pure form.
- Does not taste good to everyone.
However, if curcumin is to contribute to the treatment of certain diseases, the dose must be greatly increased. For this purpose, either more turmeric can be taken or curcumin compounds can be added. This is because studies have found that curcumin absorption in the body is very poor. It is increased, for example, by the combination of curcumin and piperine.
Piperine is the main ingredient of black pepper, so it can also be well supplied by dietary intake. Also combined with lipids, curcumin is said to lead to better absorption and thus health benefits. These two substances are combined in one preparation.
|Substances||Amount taken per day|
|Curcumin||3 mg per kilo of body weight|
|Curcumin + piperine||1500 mg + 60 mg|
|Curcumin + lipids||1000|
The table shows how different the intake amounts can be. However, depending on the state of health, a different dosage is necessary and useful. If combined preparations are taken, we recommend you discuss the dose with a doctor.
Take turmeric with water or oil?
Turmeric has a small catch: It is poorly soluble in water and can be absorbed by the intestine only in small quantities. However, this low bioavailability can be improved with both black pepper and oil.
The optimal intake amount includes 1 teaspoon of turmeric per day.
So if you take the spice with some linseed oil, for example, your body can absorb and process it better. Likewise, it helps to heat the spice powder with some oil when you add it to your dishes.
This is because the heat ensures that the aromatic substances can develop better and thus increase their effect. You can also take turmeric with other fats, depending on the form in which you take it. For example, olive oil or rapeseed oil can be used for cooking and coconut oil for desserts.
What is the effect of taking turmeric?
The turmeric root is said to have healing properties not only in India. It is actually said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on human health. Thus, various studies have already been conducted to investigate the effectiveness of the spice.
For example, curcumin has been shown to regulate certain factors associated with inflammation. And inflammation occurs in most chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, arthritis, tumor, and autoimmune diseases.
Thus, treatment with curcumin is a promising tool.
It has already been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce elevated blood pressure. Further research shows that curcumin may also have strong influences on cancer prevention and treatment. The substance may prevent tumor formation and curb cancer cell metastasis, and thus needs more research.
Curcumin also has positive effects on healthy people. On the one hand, it prevents diseases, and on the other hand, it increases recovery and performance in active people because curcumin can relieve muscle soreness.
Why should turmeric be taken?
Turmeric – whether fresh or ground as a spice – is healthy in any case and can even help prevent diseases. Both healthy and sick people can benefit from the curcumin it contains. Therefore, the answer to why you should consume it is obvious.
You can never do enough for your health. And if you can also incorporate curcumin into your diet in the simplest way possible, consciously taking the substance is also possible without any extra effort.
You also do not need to worry about the amount of curcumin consumed. Studies have shown that even with increased intake, there are virtually no side effects. Only with an extremely high intake of turmeric extracts, which are highly dosed, can come to abdominal pain, gastrointestinal complaints, and nausea.
Thus, turmeric can have many positive effects. But since studies now and then come across contrary results as far as the treatment success of some diseases is concerned, you should not rely 100 percent on curcumin. It can help and is definitely worth a try to alleviate discomfort, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.
When and for whom is it useful to take turmeric?
Turmeric is healthy and can be helpful for the prevention of diseases or the relief of certain symptoms. Therefore, you can take it carefree and as needed on a daily basis through your diet. Therefore, it does not matter when you start taking it.
Preventing diseases is never wrong. Turmeric can help you with that.
And also to alleviate symptoms, you can simply try turmeric. You may want to talk to your doctor to find an appropriate dosage or test it out against the recommended daily requirements. Add turmeric to your food or learn about curcumin supplements.
However, since the exact mode of action and dosage of the extracts have not been adequately researched, curcumin should not be considered a cure for the disease. It can have a supportive effect and alleviate symptoms, but to what extent it actually helps to fight a disease is unclear.
Thus, turmeric or its extract is basically suitable for anyone who wants to do something good for his body with natural substances, try to alleviate symptoms, reduce digestive problems or simply prevent.
When should turmeric not be taken?
Even though turmeric has hardly any negative consequences for the human body, certain people should still refrain from taking it. For example, people with chronic gastrointestinal complaints should not resort to spice or its extracts. A high dose of curcumin otherwise favors the complaints and can even worsen them in some cases.
In the case of pregnant and breastfeeding women, it is suspected that negative consequences could result from curcumin preparations.
However, there is no scientific evidence for this yet, because this area has not been researched enough. Therefore, the Federal Office for Risk Assessment advises against the consumption of such a food supplement for the time being.
People suffering from gallstones should also refrain from turmeric extracts. This is because they can increase the production and release of bile juice and thus trigger biliary colic.
How long should turmeric be taken?
There is no limited time period for taking turmeric, especially in dried and ground form as a spice. You can mix it into your dinner, stir it into your morning smoothie or milkshake, or whip up a delicious dessert with turmeric.
If you take turmeric to relieve symptoms, it can even be useful to take it permanently. Especially for the prevention of diseases it makes sense.
However, if you take high doses of curcumin to combat certain complaints or diseases, it should not be taken for too long.
Depending on the dose, you may only need to take it for a few months at a time.
You can get detailed information about this from your doctor, with whom you should clarify a high-dose curcumin medication. Otherwise, it is important not to exceed the daily requirements. For example, a person weighing 60 to 80 kilograms should not consume more than 120 to 160 milligrams of curcumin.
In what form can turmeric be taken?
You can take turmeric in many different forms and still get its full effect. In the following overview, we show you which consumption options are available:
- Turmeric as a spice: The easiest way to take turmeric in ground form as a spice is to mix it into your dishes or drinks. Simply add it to a curry pan, risotto, rice pudding, or a pancake and you have created a delicious and healthy turmeric dish.
- Fresh turmeric: You can also eat the fresh root of the turmeric plant. It tastes a little different but is also very healthy in this form. You can grate it, slice it, cook it in dishes, sauté it or mix it with smoothies.
- Turmeric Tea: You can also buy turmeric tea at many drug stores, health food stores, or other stores. These often come with additional flavors, such as ginger. You can also make your own turmeric tea from the fresh root.
- Turmeric capsules: Another way to consume curcumin are turmeric capsules. They contain turmeric extract and are usually available in different dosages. Depending on how often and how much curcumin you want to take, lower or higher dosed capsules are useful for you.
Like the natural root and the ground powder, the capsules are well tolerated and rarely show side effects. Nevertheless, pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with gallstones should avoid the preparations.
- Easy to take.
- Do not need to be processed.
- Higher dosage than powder.
- Capsules quite large.
- Too high a dose can cause allergies.
- More expensive.
Most turmeric capsules also contain piperine, which is supposed to increase the body’s ability to absorb curcumin. If you are allergic to the substance contained in pepper, you should increasingly look for an alternative without piperine.
Does taking turmeric help with weight loss?
If you want to lose weight and are still looking for natural aids, you can definitely turn to turmeric. The spice or the fresh tuber act at various points in the organism and can contribute to fat burning.
For example, the bitter substances in turmeric stimulate the production of bile, which is stored in the liver and serves detoxification. In the process, substances that are difficult to dissolve, such as numerous fats, are broken down.
Curcumin also has an effect on metabolism.
As a result, you are more efficient and can train better and recover better after sports. By taking turmeric you support your body to build up less fat cells and to be more active in sports.
To achieve good weight loss results, however, it is not enough to take turmeric only as a spice in food. This is because turmeric contains only 5 percent curcumin. To lose weight, you should therefore prefer preparations that contain a higher dose of curcumin.
If you really want to lose weight, a healthy and balanced diet and plenty of exercises are crucial. However, turmeric can support you in your endeavor by boosting fat burning.
Turmeric is a controversial topic in research. On the one hand, the root convinces with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, but on the other hand, it also showed that it does not always work.
Thus, most of the previous studies were conducted as laboratory experiments or on animals, so that the actual effects on human health could not yet be defined one hundred percent.
Nevertheless, turmeric has a good reputation and can be very helpful for various diseases and symptoms. It is not for nothing that it is considered a healing plant in India.
So you can take turmeric without hesitation and be sure that you are doing something good for your health with it. Just convince yourself of its effect and try out recipes and forms of intake. Your doctor can give you the best advice.