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Know Your Nutrients: Turmeric

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Although turmeric is not technically a nutrient such as a vitamin or mineral, this spice does have some exciting health promoting properties, read on to learn more.

What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice derived from the roots of the tropical plant Curcuma longa Linn, which is a member of the ginger family. It is a bright yellow-orange colour that comes from pigments known as curcuminoids. Curcumin is the most common curcuminoid found in turmeric, and is considered its most active medicinal component. Turmeric is used as a spice, a food colouring, and has been traditionally used for a number of medicinal purposes.[i]

Health benefits of turmeric

According to Health Canada curcumin provides antioxidants and is used in herbal medicine to help relieve joint inflammation.[ii] New research is showing turmeric may also be helpful for fatty liver disease and weight loss:

  • Currently “fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease in Canada and is increasing in incidence”[iii] along with our population’s increase in obesity.
  • In a placebo-controlled trial, NAFLD patients taking curcumin had a “significant reduction in liver fat content (78.9% improvement)…There were also significant reductions in body mass index…total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, [and] triglycerides.”[iv]

What is the most common food source of turmeric?
Turmeric is one of the main spices included in most curry sauces; providing not only flavour, but its bright yellow / orange colour. Due to turmeric’s health benefits and subtle flavour, it can be easily added to many dishes and beverages, making it easy to incorporate into your diet.

How much turmeric do I need?
This depends on why you are taking it. Many people use turmeric in their daily meals not only for flavour but its antioxidants. However, in order to ensure you are receiving the therapeutic health benefits of natural pain relief and reductions in inflammation, taking a supplemental product with an extract of turmeric is required. A label should state ‘turmeric extract’ and include a ratio number; for example ‘turmeric 50:1 extract’. This means that the amount of extract was derived from 50x the amount of the whole herb.

When should I take my turmeric supplement?
Just as you can add turmeric spice to any meal throughout the day, turmeric in supplemental form can be taken at any time.

Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid taking with turmeric?
If you are currently taking any blood thinning medications such as Coumadin, antiplatelet medication like aspirin or any other supplements with blood thinning properties such as vitamin E, ginkgo biloba, ginseng or garlic, please speak to your pharmacist first, to ensure you can combine your turmeric supplement and other medications. [v]

How do I know which turmeric supplement is right for me?

This depends on what health benefits you’re after. To obtain the medicinal benefits of turmeric, a high-potency, ultra-strength supplement (at the 50:1 extract derived from the raw herb) can help you achieve them. This is a great option because it’s pretty difficult to get that same amount from just your diet alone. There are also a variety of other formulations to help support specific health needs, for example:  

  • Liver health: Jamieson Herbal Complex Daily Liver Detox includes not only turmeric but also milk thistle and artichoke which work together to protect the liver.
  • Joint pain: Jamieson Glucosamine Turmeric Complex is ideal for those with joint pain and inflammation.
  • Heart health: Jamieson Omega 3 + Turmeric works to reduce cholesterol and promote heart health.

Know your Nutrients Recipe of the month: Golden Milk

An easy way to add some turmeric into your day is through this delicious warming recipe of golden milk.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of nut milk (almond, cashew or coconut)
  • 2-3 tsp of honey
  • 2 tsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of dried or chopped fresh turmeric
  • 1 tsp of dried or chopped ginger
  • ½ tsp of vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon

Method:

Heat nut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in honey and vanilla extract; remove from heat and pour into a blender. Add turmeric, ginger, coconut oil and cinnamon. Blend until frothy – then enjoy!

Note: The information provided here is intended solely as a guideline and is not meant to treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Always consult a qualified healthcare practitioner prior to using any natural health product

Sources

[i] Linus Pauling Institute. (2016). Micronutrient Information Center Curcumin. Accessed September 19, 2018 at: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/curcumin#introduction

[ii] Health Canada. (2018). Curcumin Monograph. Accessed on September 19, 2018 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=curcumin.curcumine&lang=eng

[iii] Canadian Liver Foundation. (2013). Liver Disease in Canada A Crisis In The Making. P.44. Accessed September 20, 2018 at: https://www.liver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Liver-Disease-in-Canada-E-3.pdf

[iv] Rahmani S. et al. (2016). Treatment of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease with Curcumin: A Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial. Phytother Res. Jun 8.

[v] Health Canada. (2018). Curcumin Monograph. Accessed on September 19, 2018 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=curcumin.curcumine&lang=eng