|July 8, 2024

It’s Always Golden Hour With These 7 Turmeric Benefits

By Lauren Armstrong, RDN
Reviewed by Emily Gonzalez, ND for Scientific Accuracy

It’s Always Golden Hour With These 7 Turmeric Benefits

  • Turmeric—a relative of the ginger family—can be used as both a spice and a supplement.
  • Due to its antioxidant properties and ability to provide healthy inflammation support, the benefits of turmeric range from anti-aging to giving the brain a boost.
  • Curcumin supplements like Turmeric Curcumin Complex can help ensure you have the most bioavailable form of turmeric’s active ingredient.

We all know ginger, but give a big warm welcome to its family member turmeric -— also scientifically known as Curcuma longa. This plant is native to Southeast Asia and is grown primarily in India. It’s often used as a culinary spice (as seen in curry), but turmeric benefits more than just your tastebuds.

Historically, turmeric is used in Ayurvedic medicine and other traditional Indian medical systems.[1]

Research indicates turmeric and its active compound, curcumin, may have health benefits that range from brain health to joint support. Read on to learn more about these potential benefits and tasty recipes you wish you’d known about sooner.

First, let’s talk curcumin

Turmeric in a bowl with spoon

Turmeric contains many plant substances, but there’s one that stands out from the crowd. Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric, with most turmeric preparations containing between 2% to 8% curcumin.[2] It also gives turmeric its signature yellow color.

Curcumin and other curcuminoids are major contributors to the benefits turmeric can bring to our health. That’s why curcumin and turmeric are often linked together in research.

You’ll find both turmeric and curcumin in dietary supplements, powders, and even drink mixes. But what are turmeric benefits, and how can you make sure you’re getting the most of the good stuff?

7 curcumin benefits

hand reaching for turmeric supplement

The health benefits of turmeric are usually thanks to its high curcumin levels. Here are seven research-backed health benefits that curcumin may provide.

1. Healthy inflammation response

Inflammation might sound bad, but it’s actually pretty normal—the key is managing a healthy inflammation response. Inflammation is your body’s reaction to everyday factors like exercise, stress and diet. In controlled doses, inflammation helps the healing process.[3]

According to research, curcumin-containing supplements have properties that support a healthy inflammation response.[4]

2. Joint support

You may experience some joint comfort relief by incorporating curcumin into your diet. Studies have claimed that joint function, comfort, flexibility and quality of life have improved thanks to the properties of this compound.[5]

3. Post-workout recovery tool

Exercising is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But, forms of high-intensity exercise, like weightlifting, can lead to muscle damage and inflammatory responses.

Studies have indicated that post-workout curcumin supplementation may reduce muscle damage, inflammatory markers and oxidative stress, which can lead to performance improvements.[6] (Talk about gains!)

4. Antioxidant capacity

Free radicals are unstable atoms that can cause damage to the body’s cells. Your body naturally produces some free radicals, but you can end up with more than you bargained for when you smoke, drink alcohol, eat fried foods and deal with environmental exposures such as air pollution and toxic chemicals.

Antioxidants to the rescue! These compounds lessen the effects of free radicals by donating an electron. A meta-analysis of four studies found that when participants took curcumin on a daily basis, they significantly increased their total antioxidant capacity. They also had lower levels of a compound that is overproduced by free radicals, which can lead to oxidative stress.[7]

5. Brain support

The antioxidant effects of curcumin may lead to improvements in brain function by crossing the blood-brain barrier and protecting the billions of neurons we have.

Research on mice has shown that curcumin helps protect the health of the brain.[8] However, further research on humans needs to be conducted to confirm these results.

6. Anti-aging properties

Aging is basically our body being in a constant state of low-grade inflammation. That’s why it’s important to incorporate foods in your diet that support a healthy response to inflammation. Curcumin has been widely studied on both animals and humans in its ability to support exactly that.[9]

Curcumin and turmeric may also benefit external aging by improving certain skin conditions. Face masks that contain turmeric powder are often used to help support skin health. You can even add turmeric essential oil to your facial moisturizer for further support.

7. Better mood

If you’re seeking a little mood pick-me-up, look no further than curcumin. In addition to clinical trials finding that it may be beneficial for brain health, another study links it with mood improvement, as well.

In the study, healthy older adults received either curcumin or a placebo. Those who received curcumin had better working memory, lower fatigue and less tension, anger and confusion.[10]

Related: 6 Inflammatory Foods to Avoid and What to Eat Instead

How to get the turmeric you need

Glass of milk with bowl of turmeric

Although the effects of turmeric may lead to positive health outcomes, sometimes the bioavailability is lacking. Even in high doses, it’s possible that not much curcumin reaches the bloodstream due to poor absorption and rapid metabolism.[11]

Thankfully, there are solutions! Black pepper contains an active ingredient called piperine that can inhibit the liver from pushing curcumin out of the body. That means your body can actually use more of that beneficial curcumin—and you won’t effectively flush away your turmeric supplements.

Black pepper isn’t the only answer, though. Ginger also contains a compound that may cause the same side effects. Combining turmeric with a fat source—such as oils, nut butters or avocados—can help curcumin be absorbed into the lymphatic system.[12]

Incorporating turmeric into your day

So, what are some ways you can include turmeric in your everyday lifestyle and diet? From curcumin supplements to curry powder to a turmeric-infused drink, here’s how you can up your turmeric intake so you can experience its associated health benefits:

  • Turmeric Curcumin Complex: To support a healthy inflammation response to all the stressors of life, this supplement contains curcumin and other Ayurvedic herbs such as ginger, boswellia and stephania. It utilizes a whole turmeric complex that is absorbed 10 times better than standard curcumin powder to give you the most active and bioavailable compounds needed by the body.†
  • Bulletproof Turmeric Gummies: Looking for daily inflammation support in sugar-free form? Our NEW Turmeric Gummies contain a potent blend of turmeric and ginger, which work together to help support a healthy inflammation response to the effects of exercise, stress and your diet.
  • Curry powder: This spice blend consists mainly of turmeric, but can also include ginger, cinnamon, garlic and cumin. It can amp up the flavor in a wide variety of recipes, not just curries or traditional Indian dishes.
  • Turmeric extract: Instead of being in a powdered form, turmeric extract is a more concentrated way to get in curcumin. In this format, it may have much more curcuminoids than a powder in the same amount.
  • Tea with turmeric and ginger: A warm mug of turmeric ginger tea can be a great way to sip on health-boosting properties. Ginger, which has been shown to contain antibacterial properties, helps with absorption, and a splash of Bulletproof Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil makes for a yummy and keto-friendly addition of quality fats.[13] Talk about a complementary duo!

Turmeric shopping and storage tips

Not all turmeric is created equal, so it’s best to be selective when spending your hard-earned money. Find authentic Indian turmeric when you’re looking for something to cook with. That signature flavor will take any dish to the next level.

When it comes to turmeric supplements, look for those that contain turmeric root and as few inactive ingredients as possible. However, supplements that contain complementary herbs and spices could help amplify the benefits and bioavailability.

Keep in mind, buying turmeric spices and supplements in bulk is a no-no. Every time you open the container, the exposure to air depletes the quality. So in addition to making sure you don’t overstock, store your turmeric spices and supplements in a cool, dark place to maximize their shelf life.[14]

Related: What Is Bioavailability? How to Make Sure Your Supplements Actually Work

Easy and delicious turmeric-rich Bulletproof recipes

Turmeric supplements can be great and convenient, but don’t pass up the opportunity to try turmeric powder in these delicious, health-benefitting Bulletproof-friendly recipes.

1. Adaptogenic Turmeric Latte

Skip the coffee drive-thru and get your sip on with this turmeric latte. Not only does it contain ground turmeric, but it also has ashwagandha—an adaptogen that is linked with reduced stress levels (it’s also a key ingredient in Bulletproof Zen Mode). Enjoy this golden beverage either hot or cold, whatever you fancy!

2. Maple-Roasted Nut Mix With Turmeric and Black Pepper

Trail mix has nothing on this sweet-and-savory snack that won’t spike your blood sugar. The combination of cashews, brazil nuts and pistachios provides you with quality fats. Plus, a generous sprinkling of curry and turmeric powder will help support a healthy inflammation response.

3. Paleo-Spiced Turmeric Pancakes

The turmeric latte is the perfect companion for these golden turmeric pancakes, bringing warm flavors and health-supportive spice to your morning meal. The best part? You can drizzle your stack with melted coconut butter or macadamia nut butter for a sweet finish that won’t make you miss maple syrup, at all.

4. Turmeric-Coconut Smoothie Bowl

Spice up your smoothie bowl with the addition of ground turmeric. It pairs incredibly well with a secret ingredient that’s perfect for anyone following a low-carb diet: cauliflower! Trust us when we say the outstanding flavor profile of this smoothie bowl makes you forget it contains healthy ingredients.

5. Turmeric Pulled Pork Curry and Cilantro Cauliflower Rice

Bust out your Instant Pot—this meal only takes 90 minutes, from start to finish. Turmeric-laced pulled pork curry delivers a delicious umami flavor, along with many other spices, and is ready to make its way to your dinner plate with a serving of nutritious cauliflower rice.

6. Cleansing Ginger Carrot Soup

You’re going to want to make this creamy soup in batches so you never run out. It contains ingredients such as turmeric and carrots to fight free radicals and support a healthy inflammation response. Besides being easy to make, this nutrient-dense soup is also easy to digest!

The bottom line: Although the health benefits of curcumin and turmeric are promising, it is not a substitute for traditional medicine. On the plus side, turmeric supplements tend to have very few side effects, and the powder format tastes excellent in various recipes. Of course, before you begin taking any supplement, it’s always important to seek medical advice from your healthcare provider to ensure it’s a safe option for you. But once you get the thumbs up, it’s time to make turmeric a bigger part of your life!

Looking for other supplements to help you age backward? Read more about curcumin and 12 other anti-aging supplements.

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