Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Today we will talk about turmeric, an oriental spice that began to have its properties studied and benefits proven in recent years.

You can consume turmeric in powder form or as a supplement in capsules. Both presentations provide numerous health and fitness benefits. But if turmeric is consumed in the wrong way, it has no effect.

So, to make the most of the benefits associated with this excellent substance, you need to learn the right way to ingest it. This and other information, you can find in this article. Enjoy your reading!




Summary

  • The substance responsible for the benefits provided by turmeric is curcumin. To get the recommended daily intake of this active ingredient, you should take a supplement in capsules.
  • When taken on its own, turmeric is not well absorbed by the body. Ideally, it should be combined with piperine, an element found in black pepper which increases the absorption of turmeric by up to 2000%.
  • Turmeric acts in the maintenance of health, prevention and treatment of diseases. The recommended daily dose is 500 mg of curcumin and 100 mg of piperine. The supplement should be taken with a source of fat as curcumin is fat-soluble.

The best Tumeric: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Recent research confirms what the Orientals have known for a long time: turmeric has medicinal properties that bring excellent health benefits. To obtain these effects, you must consume the substance in a concentrated dose.

The best alternative is to invest in a good supplement. But just as important as a quality product is knowing how to consume it in the right way. If you want to know more about turmeric, keep reading this Buying Guide.

Imagem de uma mulher com cápsulas de cúrcuma na mão.

Turmeric supplement is sold in capsules. (Source: Volodymyr Shevchuk / 123RF)

What is turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice extracted from a root called turmeric (Curcuma longa), which has a brown-coloured rind, orange flesh, a pungent, bitter flavour and a fragrance that resembles ginger and orange.

Chief among its bioactive compounds is curcumin, which offers multiple health benefits, recently proven in Western medicine and widely recognised in China and India.

Imagem de uma mulher com cápsulas de cúrcuma na mão.

Turmeric supplement is sold in capsules. (Source: Volodymyr Shevchuk / 123RF)

Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, so it aids in health maintenance, prevention of pathologies and treatment of established medical conditions.

The substance is also a source of minerals such as iron, manganese and potassium, fatty acids, amino acids, vitamin B6 and dietary fibre (soluble and insoluble).

However, the absorption of curcumin by the body is low due to its rapid metabolism and elimination. Therefore, to take full advantage of the benefits associated with this substance, you should take it in supplement form.

Only a supplement can provide a concentrated dose of curcumin. Tip: combine this substance with black pepper, which provides piperine, a compound that increases the absorption of curcumin by up to 2000%.

Without piperine, curcumin is wasted. It is also important to associate consumption with some source of healthy fat, because turmeric is a fat-soluble substance (soluble in fat).

What are the benefits of turmeric?

Before knowing the benefits associated with turmeric supplement consumption, you need to understand how this substance promotes the prevention and treatment of numerous diseases.

Many diseases are caused by oxidative damage, which occurs when free radicals react with unpaired electrons and start attacking important organic substances.

Curcumin is a powerful natural antioxidant because, in addition to neutralising free radicals, it also stimulates the activity of antioxidant enzymes. Curcumin thus has a dual effect against free radicals.

Check out the benefits of turmeric in Nutritionist Patricia Leite’s channel:

How does turmeric reduce inflammatory processes?

Inflammation is a natural reaction of the body that serves to fight invading agents, such as viruses and bacteria. While acute (short-term) inflammation is beneficial, it can become a problem when chronic (long-term).

Consuming foods with anti-inflammatory properties is essential to prevent, treat and cure these diseases naturally. One such food is turmeric, which is as powerful as Ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory drug).

In addition to reducing the inflammatory process, turmeric also helps minimize the pain from inflammation. But to observe these effects, you must consume it in supplement form, in a dose of 500 mg, from one to three times a day.

So does turmeric treat arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the joints, so turmeric supplement is excellent for reducing the inflammatory condition and relieving pain.

In some cases, the supplement proves to be more effective than anti-inflammatory medications. But before discontinuing the medication, seek medical advice and find out more about it.

Imagem de uma mulher com dores nas articulações.

Turmeric aids in the treatment of arthritis. (Source: dolgachov / 123RF)

Is turmeric beneficial to the brain?

The brain has the ability to multiply neurons and form new connections. One of the drivers of this process is Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which acts like a “growth hormone” in the brain.

Many diseases, such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease, are associated with deficiency of this hormone. Therefore, to ward off neurodegenerative diseases, you need to stimulate BDNF.

One way to increase these levels is to consume turmeric. The supplement prevents, delays and even reverses brain diseases and the age-related loss of cognitive abilities.

Other associated benefits are increased memory capacity and intelligence in people of all ages.

Turmeric is also effective in treating depression, as it acts as a natural antidepressant. There is evidence that the substance raises levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

Does turmeric prevent neurodegenerative diseases?

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that can cause the development of dementia. As no treatment or cure has been discovered for this disease, it is essential to prevent it.

Although it is still being studied, turmeric can cross the blood-brain barrier, reducing the inflammation and oxidative damage that can cause the onset and development of the disease.

Imagem de uma mulher idosa sorrindo.

The best way to treat neurodegenerative diseases is to prevent them. (Source: Luis Machado / Unsplash)

Another factor that is associated with Alzheimer’s is the accumulation of intertwined proteins, called amyloid plaques. Studies point out that turmeric helps to unclog these plaques.

Is it true that turmeric decreases the risk of heart disease?

The endothelium acts in the lining of blood vessels, it is responsible for regulating blood pressure and blood clotting. When it presents some dysfunction, it acts as one of the main drivers of heart diseases.

Several studies suggest that turmeric optimises endothelial function, being as effective as physical exercise and working as well as some heart disease medications.

Does turmeric help prevent cancer?

Researchers are studying the relationship between turmeric and the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. It has been observed that the substance has the ability to affect the growth, development and spread of cancer cells.

These studies indicate that supplementation can reduce angiogenesis (growth of blood vessels in tumours), prevent metastasis (spread of cancer to other organs) and contribute to the death of diseased cells.

The substance is associated with the prevention of cancers of the digestive system, especially colorectal cancer. But turmeric may also be effective against breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.

What are the other benefits associated with turmeric?

  • Stomach: Turmeric can help treat digestive problems such as dyspepsia, ulcers, diarrhea, gas, gastric reflux, loss of appetite and gallbladder disorders.
  • Bowel: The substance reduces symptoms and may aid in the treatment of inflammatory bowel conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Liver: Turmeric improves liver function, stimulates the organ’s detoxifying capacity and fights disease.
  • Kidneys: In addition to improving kidney function, turmeric helps fight inflammation in the kidneys.

Other benefits associated with turmeric are:

  • It prevents the progression of multiple sclerosis;
  • Helps in the treatment of tuberculosis by reducing bacteria levels and allowing wounds to heal;
  • Helps combat inflammation in the eyes
  • Decreases headaches
  • Treats menstrual cramps;
  • Combats bronchitis, colds, flu and lung infections;
  • Treats urinary problems.

Turmeric powder can also be applied topically to treat skin conditions such as infected wounds, irritations, itching, rashes and bruises.

If used as a mouth rinse, it can help reduce gum disease, bacteria in the mouth and toothache.

Advantages
  • It is sold in powder or capsule versions
  • The powder version is versatile and economical
  • The capsule version is practical
  • Provides quick and effective results
Disadvantages
  • It needs to be consumed together with a source of fat to have an effect
  • It is essential to associate it with piperine, a substance that enhances its absorption
  • Turmeric powder has a strong taste

How to increase the effect of turmeric?

Turmeric is fat-soluble (soluble in fat), for this reason, it is essential to consume it together with a source of fat such as olive oil, coconut oil or avocado. It is also recommended to take the supplement with meals.

It is worth buying a supplement with piperine, a substance present in black pepper, because piperine increases by up to 2000% the absorption of turmeric’s properties by the body.

How to include turmeric in daily life?

The supplement in capsules should be consumed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, before or during the main meals. Avoid consuming the product while fasting, to avoid hindering the absorption of turmeric.

Turmeric powder is more versatile: you can use it in the preparation of some foods, to season salads, diluted in a glass of water, juice or smoothie, prepare an infusion, among other options.

You can also prepare Golden Milk, a drink that looks and tastes very similar to chai and is one of the tastiest alternatives to include turmeric in your routine.

To prepare the Golden Milk you must mix 200 ml of vegetable milk, a spoon of turmeric powder, a teaspoon of cardamom, ginger powder, chilli powder and coconut oil and finish with a pinch of cinnamon.

Imagem de uma xícara de Golden Milk.

Golden Milk is a delicious and creamy drink prepared with a mix of oriental spices. (Source: Flockine / Pixabay)

What are the contraindications of turmeric?

Turmeric does not cause significant side effects, however, some people may experience stomach pain, gastric reflux, nausea, dizziness or diarrhea.

The substance should be used with caution by diabetics, as turmeric causes sugar levels to drop in the blood quickly. Another effect is to slow blood clotting in people with clotting disorders.

People with iron deficiency in the body should also be careful, as turmeric prevents the absorption of the mineral. Turmeric may also affect people with gallbladder problems.

How much does it cost?

A bottle with 60 capsules of turmeric supplement costs between £40 and £70. The version with 120 capsules costs between £180 and £200. If you prefer a bigger bottle, with 180 or 200 capsules, you will need to invest between £250 and £350.

Purchase criteria: Factors to compare different turmeric models

Now that you know the numerous benefits associated with turmeric, it’s time to learn what features you should look at and compare when choosing the best supplement for your needs:

  • Presentation
  • Concentration
  • Quantity
  • Piperine

We will explain each of the items throughout this section.

Presentation

Turmeric comes in two presentations: powder or capsules. The powder version is versatile, has excellent durability and a very affordable price, the supplement in capsules is more convenient to consume, has a higher concentration and may contain piperine in the formula.

In other words, each of these presentations has its positive and negative points and the choice is related to your preferences. So that you can make the best decision, compare the options in the table below:

Turmeric in capsules Turmeric powder
Presentation Bottles with 60, 120, 180 or 200 capsules Bags with 500 g or 1 kg
Concentration From 400 to 2000 mg per serving Not specified on the product label
Advantages It is more convenient to consume It yields a lot, is versatile and cheap
Disadvantages Some products suggest consuming up to six capsules a day It has a strong taste
How to consume One or two capsules, twice a day In the preparation of food and drinks
Price More expensive Cheaper

Concentration

The concentration of turmeric in each supplement varies according to the product in question. Some have between 400 and 600 mg per serving, others are more concentrated and have 1000 to 2000 mg per serving.

The recommended dose for health maintenance, disease prevention and treatment of conditions is 500 mg turmeric and 100 mg piperine/Bioperine per day.

Did you know that besides turmeric powder or capsules, you can find other products with this substance in the composition as essential oil, vegetable soap, toothpaste and protein bar?

Quantity

Turmeric powder is sold in packages containing 500g or 1kg of the product. The capsule version is sold in bottles containing 60, 75, 120, 180 or 200 pills.

But as important as analysing the number of capsules per bottle is knowing the recommended daily dose, which can be: one or two capsules one to three times a day.

Imagem de uma mulher com uma cápsula de cúrcuma na boca.

Turmeric powder supplement is convenient to consume. (Source: serezniy / 123RF)

Piperine

If you opt for turmeric supplement in capsules, it is worth looking for a product enriched with piperine. As we mentioned, this substance serves to promote the absorption of turmeric’s properties by the body.

The concentration varies, some offering 5 or 10 mg, although the recommended dose is around 100 mg. Look for the indication: piperine, bioperine, black pepper extract or Black Pepper Extract (in imported products).

(Source of the highlighted image: sophiejames / 123RF)

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