Turmeric: 5 reasons to eat it and 5 recipes to help you

The Vitl Nutrition Team / 8 Jan 2015

Turmeric has one of the longest histories of use for medicinal purposes in the world. This spice is used in Ayurvedic medicine, an Indian system for healing that dates back thousands of years. The bright yellow coloured turmeric root is also often used in curries and most mustards, giving them their signature colour. Turmeric is from the same family as ginger but unlike ginger, it contains the powerful antioxidant curcumin.


People tend to use only a very small amount at a time due to its strong taste but a little bit of turmeric goes a long way. Luckily, this superfood won't cost you very much or be difficult to find, which can sometimes be the case with other more exotic superfoods.

5 Reasons to Start Eating Turmeric…

1. Helps with digestion

Many cultures around the world use turmeric as a digestive aid. In several Asian countries, turmeric is given to sick patients to relieve symptoms such as stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhoea and stomach bloating. The thermogenic effect of turmeric also boosts metabolism. This effect refers to what happens when your body burns fat to maintain body temperature.

2. Natural pain relief

Turmeric is thought to help relieve the pain associated with headaches, fever, and even menstrual cramps. Turmeric’s anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties combined mean it may also help accelerate the healing process associated with painful injuries or infections.

3. A Healthy Mind

Curcumin, a powerful antioxidant in turmeric, makes it one of the most antioxidant-rich spices that you will come across4. Antioxidants are thought to have an important role in protecting the body from damage by free radicals. Experts believe this can help to keep the body and brain sharp even as we age. On top of this, other compounds in turmeric have been shown to help with the maintenance of healthy brain stem cells. Several studies suggest that the spice may play a protective role in helping to ward off Alzheimer’s and it may also contribute to the breakdown of the amyloid plaques characteristic of this disease.

4. Reduce inflammation

Inflammation is one of the leading contributors of many diseases, including arthritis. There is a lot of research supporting the benefits of turmeric for arthritis sufferers. Compared to other herbs and spices, turmeric often comes out on top for its ability to not only help with reducing inflammation, but also oxidative stress caused by exercise, therefore aiding muscle and joint recovery.

5. Relief from allergy symptoms

Turmeric has been shown in studies to help inhibit the release of histamines, which are associated with allergic reactions, eczema and asthma. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties help it to calm painful reactions involving smooth muscle constriction as well, therefore easing the uncomfortable symptoms experienced by allergy sufferers.

…And 5 Ways to Do It

Turmeric has a taste that is described as peppery, warm, and bitter. You can combine it with black pepper in order to maximise curcumin absorption. It’s very easy to add turmeric to your diet. Here are 5 fantastic ways to help boost your health using this spice.

  1. Add turmeric to tea infused with lemon and good-quality honey - a fantastic immunity-boosting combination!
  2. Mix it in before marinating meat, fish, or chicken. You can also use it to make hamburger patties - both meat-based or vegetarian.
  3. Add it to homemade or store-bought hummus.
  4. Sprinkle a bit of turmeric to make that superfood green smoothie even more super. This tastes great with banana, spinach and flax seeds.
  5. Ok, so this one isn’t edible supposed to be eaten but bear with us. Turmeric is thought to have various benefits when applied topically to the skin, due its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, so if you are feeling adventurous you can even make a natural face mask with it. Do this by mixing a pinch of ground turmeric with yoghurt, a bit of honey and 2 tablespoons of almond or olive oil.

Turmeric can be found in regular ground form, as a whole turmeric root, or in supplement form. Turmeric contains about 3% curcumin, so taking a supplement with curcumin extract is a great way to obtain even more benefits from this spice.