Turmeric: Health Benefits, Nutritional Information

Turmeric is a perennial plant of the ginger family, native to southwest India. Turmeric is commonly consumed in powder form and used as a spice.

To make turmeric powder, the roots of the plant are boiled for 30-45 minutes, dried in ovens and then ground into a deep orange-yellow powder. Turmeric powder is a common spice used in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. It is a major component of curry and can also be used for dyeing cloth.

There are three naturally occurring phytochemicals in turmeric: curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin’s, together referred to as curcuminoids.

Nutritional breakdown of turmeric

Turmeric root and powder.
Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medical practice to treat multiple health issues.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one tablespoon of turmeric powder contains 29 calories, 0.9 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat and 6.3 grams of carbohydrates (including 2 grams of fiber and 0.3 grams of sugar).

That same 1 tablespoon serving provides 26% of your daily manganese needs, 16% of iron, 5% of potassium and 3% of vitamin C.

Turmeric has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat inflammatory conditions, skin diseases, wounds, digestive ailments and liver conditions.

Possible benefits of consuming turmeric

Curcumin is the active substance in turmeric believed to be the source of many of its health benefits. Curcumin is also responsible for turmeric’s distinctly earthy, slightly bitter and peppery flavor.

Digestion

Curcumin may help improve digestion by stimulating the gallbladder to produce bile. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that turmeric reduced bloating and gas in people suffering from indigestion. The German Commission E, a group that determines which herbs can safely be prescribed in Germany, has approved the use of turmeric for digestive problems.

Inflammation

Curcumin lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation, which may indicate that consuming turmeric would be helpful in treating many inflammatory conditions.

Inflammation is a common thread that links the following conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis
  • inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease.

Curcumin shows promise as a natural anti-inflammatory treatment and is currently being tested in phase 2 and 3 clinical trials.

In a clinical study on curcumin’s effects on arthritis, 50 patients were given curcumin daily for 3 months. An increase in walking performance and distance was observed, as well as decreased inflammation levels.

Curcumin has also been shown to be effective for inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In multiple studies, people with inflammatory bowel diseases who were given curcumin supplements experienced a reduction in symptoms.

Heart health

Platelets in the blood.
Turmeric may reduce the risk of blood clot formation by preventing platelets from clumping together.

Turmeric has been shown to prevent blood platelets from clumping together, which may decrease the risk of blood clot formation. Early studies suggest that turmeric may help prevent the build-up of plaque in the arteries. In animal studies, turmeric extract lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol and prevented further accumulation.

However, in a human study where participants were given 4 grams of curcumin per day, cholesterol levels were not improved.

The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric benefit cardiovascular health. Some studies have found that turmeric’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have produced the following effects in animal models:

  • Reduced body weight
  • Lowered triglyceride synthesis
  • Increased basal metabolic rate
  • Increased fatty acid oxidation
  • Improved insulin sensitivity.

All of these effects would lower the risk of heart disease.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Turmeric: Health Benefits, Nutritional Information

  1. Turmeric, I have tried to grow it here once, it went fine but a small crop. I use it in a lot of different dishes. Thanks for your articles on such a wonderful spice. We are lucky here that we can get the roots in wholefoods shops.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not tried growing turmeric here in Utah and, yes, we too can purchase wonderful, healthy roots from our local grocer {who happens to be a bit of a health nut}. I really never thought about growing it here due to an over abundance of ground squirrels, woodchucks. Our neighbors gardens this year have been destroyed by woodchucks at an alarming rate. We decided to grow our plants in pots; I wonder how well turmeric would grow in a pot? Investigative minds at work!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it should grow in a pot, that is how I grew it, well worth a try. Gosh never realised that you would have so much trouble from creatures around you. We only have the trouble with slugs, plenty of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank You! I have decided to try growing turmeric in a pot. We do not have any slugs here {too dry}. Or at least I have not seen any. We always have raven’s and a myriad of other bird species in our tree’s. We have had the distinct privilege with dealing with larger animals in our garden’s since the dawn of time..LOL…moose, elk, deer, bears…my the list is endless. Very big dogs and one Appaloosa stallion usually keeps the larger animals at bay {including the UPS man}.

        Like

Comments are closed.