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What are the Benefits of Turmeric?

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Turmeric is best known as the vibrant yellow-orange spice used in many Indian and Asian dishes. It can be intimidating to use turmeric because of its strong flavor, but it has an earthy, warm taste when used right. Turmeric comes from a plant that belongs to the ginger family, so it is both gluten-free and vegan and low in calories, carbs and fats. Aside from adding great flavor to food and drink, turmeric is also known for its potential anti-inflammatory properties.

Benefits of adding turmeric to your diet

Turmeric has numerous health benefits, but the major one is its ability to reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been linked to reducing inflammation and potentially fighting off diseases caused by inflammation. Suffer from pain caused by arthritis? Studies suggest turmeric may improve symptoms from arthritis due to its natural anti-inflammatory properties.

Amount needed for therapeutic effects

Most studies suggest 1-2 grams of turmeric daily is needed for anti-inflammatory benefits. One teaspoon of turmeric is about 3 grams. Adding about ½ teaspoon of turmeric to your diet may be beneficial in fighting inflammation. Also, incorporating pepper, white or black, can improve the absorption of turmeric. The positive effects of adding turmeric to your diet don't happen overnight; it can take up to four to eight weeks of consistent use to see improvement. Turmeric is also sold in supplement form. However, you should consult with your physician before adding any supplements to avoid adverse effects.

Ways to add turmeric to your diet

There are many ways to add turmeric into your diet! Are you looking to add flavor to your entrees and side dishes? Try adding turmeric to sauces, curries, chicken dishes, rice, vegetables and dips. Turmeric can also be to beverages such as smoothies, teas, lattes and even water. Try Molly Kimball's Immune Boosting Smoothie recipe below for a delicious and nutritious breakfast.

Immune Boosting Smoothie

Makes one serving

8 ounces of 2% low-fat Greek yogurt, plain

Emergen-C packet

4 ounces carrot juice

3 brazil nuts

1/2 cup raspberries

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Combine all ingredients. Add ice and blend.

Per serving: 310 calories, 14 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 150 mg sodium, 28 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 15 grams sugar (0 added sugar), 19 grams protein.

Recipe by Molly Kimball, RDN, LDN.

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