Whether you’re using it to flavor your curry or adding it to your lattes, there’s no denying that turmeric is having a major moment right now. However, the colorful spice has benefits that extend well past your taste buds. From how it interacts with other foods to how it can lower your risk of chronic disease, read on to discover the benefits of turmeric and why you should be eating it right now. And for more ways to make your diet healthier, check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
If you want to get the most bang for your buck out of orange vegetables, like pumpkin, squash, and carrots, try adding some turmeric to your recipes.
“Use of turmeric in recipes can help retain the beta-carotene in certain foods,” says Alicia Galvin, RD, resident dietitian to Sovereign Laboratories. “For example, one study has shown that the beta-carotene in carrots and pumpkins is better retained when those vegetables are cooked using recipes that include turmeric.”
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If you want to make your favorite grilled meats healthier, try adding a little turmeric to your marinade before you toss them on the grill.
“Grilling meats can produce heterocyclic amines (HCAs) from protein substances in the meats,” says Gavin. “These HCAs are also well-known for posing potential health risks.”
“Turmeric helps prevent the formation of HCAs in grilled meat,” she explains, noting that this is best achieved by using one to two teaspoons of turmeric per 3.5 oz. portion of meat. And for more incentive to add this healthy spice to your meals, check out What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Turmeric.
One of the biggest benefits of turmeric is the spice’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
“Turmeric is most known for the benefit of reducing inflammation in the body,” says Jillian Smith, RD, CNC. “Turmeric should be paired with black pepper to activate this anti-inflammatory mechanism.”
In fact, a 2003 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that the curcumin found in turmeric was a safe and effective means of fighting inflammation in humans.
If you find yourself catching every bug going around, consider making turmeric part of your culinary routine.
“According to some research, curcumin found in turmeric may have antiviral effects,” says Lacy Ngo, MS, RDN, owner of Mindfulness in Faith and Food.
According to a 2010 study published in Food Chemistry, curcumin supplementation even demonstrated significant efficacy when it came to fighting the influenza virus. And for more ways to give your immune system a leg up, check out the 30 Best Immune-Boosting Foods.
Find yourself sniffling and sneezing when the seasons change? One of the major benefits of turmeric is its ability to help allergy sufferers breathe a bit easier.
“Some preliminary studies show that taking curcumin, found in turmeric, may reduce seasonal allergy symptoms like sneezing, itching, runny nose, and congestion,” says Ngo.
According to a 2016 study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, individuals with allergic rhinitis who received curcumin supplementation had improvements in their nasal airflow. And for more ways to kick that runny nose to the curb, check out these 17 Magic Foods That Relieve Cold Symptoms.