Turmeric: know the benefits, how to use and contraindications

Medicinal plants have always been allied in human food, as they bring several health benefits. Turmeric is one of them, since it has been used for thousands of years, mainly as a spice for food.

However, in addition to the special flavor it provides to recipes, the plant has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action, as it contains several essential vitamins and minerals for health and well-being.

In this article, Healthy Minute will show you everything you need to know about turmeric, from its origin to its forms of use and contraindications.


What is turmeric?

Turmeric, which is also called turmeric and yellow ginger , is a root belonging to the ginger family. This plant has been used for more than four thousand years as a spice due to its medicinal properties, mainly in the Middle East and Asia.

It is generally used in powder form to flavor foods such as meat, vegetables and rice. Its color is yellowish and is a condiment grown in tropical regions, with India being its main producer. It is also used as the base of condiments like curry.

Turmeric powder.

What is the difference between saffron and turmeric?

Saffron that is considered to be true is extracted from a lilac-colored flower that belongs to the iridaceae family. It is grown in several countries, especially in Spain and used since ancient times as a spice.

Turmeric, on the other hand, is a plant of the ginger family and is native to India and Southeast Asia. The main difference is in the internal color of turmeric, which is yellowish and gives extra color and flavor in various recipes such as rice and vegetables.

Thus, the confusion happens because of the name, since it is also called turmeric, but they are different foods.

Turmeric is good for what?

Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Therefore, regular consumption of turmeric can bring several health benefits such as: reducing inflammation and increasing the body’s defenses. Therefore, regular consumption of turmeric is indicated to fight various diseases.

What are the benefits of turmeric?

Turmeric contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it has nutrients such as vitamins C and B and also minerals such as potassium, iron, manganese and calcium.

Therefore, regular consumption provides several health benefits. Here are some advantages of including turmeric in everyday recipes.

1. It is a natural anti-inflammatory

Curcumin, present in turmeric, can suppress many molecules known to play important roles in inflammation of the body. Therefore, the substance decreases the inflammations of the body.

2. It is a potent antioxidant

Turmeric neutralizes the action of free radicals in the body. Therefore, these harmful substances cause damage to cells and can contribute to the development of heart disease, cancer and other health problems. The presence of antioxidants can prevent or even reverse this damage.

3. Improves brain function

Curcumin increases the levels of some brain hormones and combats several brain degenerative processes. Thus, it slows down many brain diseases that cause decreased brain function and also improves memory. It can also be beneficial for preventing dementias like Alzheimer’s.

4. Reduces heart problems

Curcumin improves the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of blood vessels and reduces inflammation. Thus, it reduces the risk of heart attacks.

5. Decreases arthritis symptoms

The disease occurs due to inflammation in the joints. And curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory compound. Therefore, consuming turmeric can lessen the symptoms of arthritis .

6. Improves symptoms of depression

For being effective in brain functions, consumption can be beneficial for those who have depression and relieve symptoms of sadness and apathy, for example.

7. Increases life expectancy

Because of the presence of antioxidants, turmeric prevents heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Consequently, it increases longevity. In addition, it slows down the aging of cells and prevents premature aging.

8. Muscle recovery

Good news for athletes and physical activity practitioners. Turmeric decreases oxidative stress in the muscles, accelerating their recovery.

9. Can fight cancer

Because inflammation is linked to tumor growth, anti-inflammatory compounds such as curcumin can play a role in the treatment and prevention of various types of cancer such as pancreas, prostate, breast and stomach. Further studies in humans are still needed to prove this benefit.

10. Can do good for the skin

Because of its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, turmeric can be effective for a variety of skin conditions, including acne .

11. Good for digestion

Turmeric can also play an important role in digestion. Because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it can contribute to healthier digestion.

12. Decreases blood pressure

Curcumin promotes blood vessel dilation, increasing blood flow and reducing blood pressure.

Presentations: how to consume

Turmeric can be found in the form of root, powder, capsules or tea. See below for details:


Found in its most natural form, it is recommended to consume one to two slices a day. The taste tends to be more citrus and spicy.

In powder

Quite common and easy to find, the powder version can be used to season food. It is worth noting that the darker it is, the greater the amount of curcumin and its benefits. This powder can be found in markets and health food stores.


The induction can be prepared with slices of the root or turmeric powder.


Turmeric capsules or dry extract are available on the market.

Tea or capsules: which one has more benefits?

There is no scientific evidence to show whether there is any difference in the benefits when consuming turmeric powder, tea or capsules.

Therefore, what is known is that turmeric in capsules is very practical, facilitates daily intake and is a form of supplementation. However, it is important to be aware of the amount ingested and seek professional help to know how much to take per day. In capsules, turmeric is easily found in compounding pharmacies.

On the other hand, turmeric tea has a relaxing effect when taken at night before bed and can calm and decrease anxiety .

How to use turmeric to lose weight?

Turmeric can be an ally in weight loss. This is because it increases the burning of fat in the body and regulates the glycemic level in the blood. It is known that by preventing very high insulin spikes, the body does not accumulate fat so easily.

Therefore, it is worth noting that no single food loses weight. It is important to maintain healthy eating habits and practice physical activity on a regular basis.

Is consuming turmeric bad for your kidneys?

It depends. The plant contains a substance called oxalate, which in large quantities can contribute to the appearance of kidney stones in individuals who are predisposed to the problem.

In addition, the food contains potassium and people with kidney failure find it difficult to remove excess mineral from the blood. So, in excess, turmeric can harm this group of people.

What are the side effects?

Turmeric generally does not cause serious side effects. However, after consumption, some people may experience mild symptoms, such as stomach upset, nausea, dizziness or diarrhea . However, these side effects are more common in those who consume excessive amounts.

There is no scientific research that points out the risks of consumption for pregnant and lactating women. Therefore, it is necessary to check this information with a doctor and see if the turmeric is safe and what quantity is indicated.

In this way, it can worsen gallbladder problems. Therefore, the recommendation is not to use turmeric on your own if you have gallstones or bile duct obstruction.

In addition, eating turmeric can slow blood clotting. This can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people who suffer from bleeding disorders.

Because of the presence of oxalate in the body, excessive consumption of turmeric can interfere with the absorption of other minerals in the body. In more severe cases, it leads to nutritional deficiencies.