Turmeric is the infamous Indian golden spice that goes far beyond the kitchen. Turmeric has been used in traditional medicine throughout history. You might have this vibrant spice perched on your spice rack, but did you know turmeric is one of the most powerful spices around that’s been associated with a range of health benefits? Let’s talk turmeric!
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family that’s native to Southeast Asia. Turmeric was used historically in traditional Indian Ayurveda medicine and other Eastern Asian medical systems.
In India, turmeric is commonly used for disorders of the skin, joints, respiratory tract, and digestive system. Turmeric can even be made into a paste for treating skin conditions. Interestingly, turmeric has a wealth of high-quality studies linking it to various health benefits [1,2].
What are the Benefits of Turmeric?
The most significant and beneficial component of turmeric is called curcumin, which also gives turmeric its golden yellow color. Curcumin is a strong antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. The curcumin content of turmeric is actually only around 3% by weight .
Most studies involve turmeric extracts that contain higher amounts of curcumin with dosages typically exceeding 1 gram daily. It’s difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in your food. You might need to take a supplement or extract with more significant amounts of curcumin to experience the full effects.
Consuming black pepper with curcumin can help you better absorb it into your bloodstream. Black pepper contains piperine — a natural substance that enhances curcumin absorption by 2,000%. Some curcumin supplements already have piperine in them to improve effectiveness.
It’s also important to note that curcumin is fat-soluble, so it’s a good idea to take it along with a fatty meal, which should be easy on your keto diet! 
Here are some of the many benefits of turmeric:
When inflammation is chronic and begins inappropriately attacking your own body tissues, disease unfolds. Anything that can help fight chronic inflammation might also help prevent and even treat these diseases. Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory that can even match the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs, without all the side effects! [8,9,10]
Studies show curcumin blocks a specific molecule (NF-kB) that turns on genes related to inflammation. This molecule is believed to be a major player in chronic disease, and curcumin is a bioactive substance that reduces inflammation at the cellular and molecular level [11,12,13,14,15].
2. Strong Antioxidant
Health experts believe oxidative damage is a key mechanism behind a range of diseases. Oxidative damage involves highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. These reactive molecules are called free radicals, and they can damage your body when they react with important organic substances, such as DNA, proteins, and fatty acids.
Antioxidants are beneficial because they protect your body from these free radicals and oxidative damage. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant with a chemical structure that can neutralize free radicals. Curcumin also boosts your body’s own antioxidant enzymes [16,17,18,19,20].
3. Boosts Brain Power
We now know that neurons can form new connections, and in certain areas of the brain, neurons can multiply and increase in number. A primary driver of this process is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) — a type of growth hormone .
Best Ways to Include Turmeric in Your Ketogenic Diet
Turmeric is versatile and you can include it in your keto diet in several different ways. Try turmeric:
Many people in the health world enjoy golden milk. Golden milk is a turmeric drink made by blending an unsweetened milk of your choice (usually coconut milk) with turmeric and black pepper. Some people also add cinnamon powder and ginger.
Do You Use Turmeric in Your Ketogenic Diet?
How do you use turmeric to improve your health? What are your favorite spices?
1. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Turmeric. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric
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Steph Green is a writer, researcher, and singer/songwriter with a passion for all things wellness. In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.