Turmeric and what you should know about this trendy “wonder spice”.
Turmeric is hot (pun intended) and trendy in the health and wellness scene right now. and it’s popping up in recipes everywhere from smoothies and teas, to soups and sides! Our resident dietician, Beth Quigley, discusses this seemingly “wonder spice” and the benefits and risks of use.
Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is the main ingredient in curry, and is often used to color foods and cosmetics, used often in Asian and Indian cuisine.
This spice is among the top most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs next to garlic, cinnamon, ginseng, and ginger. And we want to know WHY? The root of the plant is claimed to have many medicinal uses and supposedly cures everything from headaches to gum disease. We do know that turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, similar to fish oils, antioxidants in the diet, and some medications such as pain relievers. This property is helpful in treating arthritis, joint pain, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel disease, etc.
But is it effective and safe? As with many medications, this supplement also has side effects:
- It can interfere with anticoagulants such as warfarin, Coumadin, etc. It may slow blood thinning
- It may lower blood sugars – which sounds like a positive, however, if the blood sugars go too low, it may result in hypoglycemia
- It may cause gallstones
- It may aggravate GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease)
The maximum dose should be 2,000mg as a supplement, which is equivalent of 1 tsp. The NIH recommends taking it in 500mg doses up to 4 times a day.
Clinical trials are being conducted to determine the safety and effectiveness of the product. Like all supplements, they should be used with caution as there is no regulation by FDA.
– Elizabeth Quigley, M.S., R.D., C.D.E. For more information on nutrition and tips for healthy eating, visit DHAC Nutrition Services.