These days, turmeric is everywhere. You may see those beautiful yellow turmeric lattes being whipped up in coffee shops, turmeric poached eggs for brunch, and turmeric in smoothies and chocolate bars. And while it’s obvious that this spice is gorgeous, let’s take a step back and make sense of what's behind its staying power.
What Is Turmeric?
Common Questions & Answers
Curcumin vs. Turmeric: What’s the Difference?
Curcumin and turmeric are two terms used interchangeably, but the truth is there’s a distinction between the two.
Turmeric Nutrition Facts
One teaspoon (tsp) of ground turmeric has 9 calories. More surprising is that it offers some protein — 0.3 grams (g) — and fiber (0.7 g), impressive given how much is present in a small amount, note the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate guidelines.
What Are the Potential Health Benefits of Turmeric?
With that major limitation in mind, here are several possible ways turmeric and curcumin may benefit your health.
Ease Arthritis Pain
Reduce Depression Symptoms
Contribute to Treating Diabetes
Complement Cancer Treatment
Support Skin Health
Can Turmeric Help With Weight Loss?
Forms of Turmeric
There are several ways to try turmeric.
As a Root
As a Tea
You can make what’s called “golden milk” by whisking together about 1 tsp of turmeric with other spices (such as cinnamon and black pepper) into warmed milk and your sweetener of choice. You can also buy turmeric tea in tea bag form, available from brands like The Republic of Tea and Swanson Organic.
As a Spice
Look for turmeric as a ground spice in your spice aisle at the grocery store. Turmeric is also the main component of curry powder. Keep spice jars in a cool, dark place to prevent spoilage. Most companies include the “best by” dates; you should aim to use it before then. Buy large containers of turmeric only when you know you’re going to use all of it by the listed date. Look for it in the bulk section of a co-op or specialty store, so you can buy just as much as you’re going to use.
As a Supplement
For more potency, you may opt for a turmeric or curcumin supplement, available at health food stores, grocery stores, and online. These are available in formulations like soft gels and capsules.
A popular way to reap turmeric's potential benefits is by popping a supplement, often in capsule form. Apart from discussing any supplement — including turmeric or curcumin — with your healthcare team before trying it, here’s what to keep in mind.
How to Eat Turmeric
That’s why you may consider taking turmeric or curcumin in supplement form. Just keep the aforementioned risks in mind.
If you choose to add the spice to your dishes, expect a gorgeous bright, yellow-orange hue, as well as an earthy or musky flavor.
You can use turmeric in a variety of recipes:
- Rice dishes, like paella
- Added to poaching water to cook an egg
- In a smoothie (blend the fresh root or powdered spice)
- In Indian curries
- In golden milk or a “turmeric latte”
- Added to soups
- As part of a spice rub for fish or poultry
- Dusted on vegetables before roasting
- To make a curry chicken salad
- To zest up homemade salad dressing
Another way to enjoy turmeric? In a warm, comforting mug of tea.
Turmeric and Black Pepper
If you plan on using turmeric or curcumin for health purposes, be sure to find a supplement that contains piperine.
Whether eaten as a spice added to home-cooked meals or taken as a supplement, turmeric, and especially its active compound, curcumin, provides potential anti-inflammatory health benefits. Next time you’re in the spice aisle, try picking some up to lend a pretty orange hue to your next meal, or consult your healthcare team on turmeric supplements if that’s more up your alley.
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
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