9 Phenomenal Benefits of Turmeric

You probably know turmeric as the yellow spice that gives curry powder its color. If you live near a health grocery store, you may also be able to find turmeric in its root form. The root looks similar to ginger but has a yellow-orange flesh when you cut it open.

The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is one of the most widely studied supplements on the market.

What does the research show? It shows that including turmeric or curcumin in your diet daily can have some spectacular benefits.

Here are thirteen benefits of turmeric root you can take advantage of by making this food a staple in your diet:

1. Turmeric Boosts Your Mental Health and Happiness

Who doesn’t want to be happier? If you’ve been feeling listless recently, there’s a good reason to include this superfood in your diet. Research on turmeric shows that it may reduce your risk of developing depression and ease symptoms if you already suffer from depression.

A double-blind study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders looked at the effect of curcumin taken twice daily for eight weeks. (1) At the end of the study, participants in the control group had a 33% improvement in self-reported symptoms of depression (Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Rated Version).

Researchers think that turmeric reduces symptoms of depression by boosting serotonin and dopamine in your brain. (2)

2. Turmeric Reduces Inflammation and Reduces Risk of Inflammatory Disease

Chronic inflammation is one of the leading cause of obesity and metabolic dysfunction. Inflammation has an adverse effect on almost every aspect of your health including your mental health, body weight, and heart health.

The active ingredient curcumin, which gives turmeric its deep yellow color, is a potent anti-inflammatory.

One study published in 2010 examined the effect of 1000mg of a curcumin supplement taken daily for eight months by people with osteoarthritis. (3) The researchers found that symptoms of osteoarthritis significantly improved over the length of the study with no health complications recorded.

3. Regular Consumption of Turmeric May Prevent Cancer

Almost everybody has somebody in their family who has had cancer at some point in their life. Although medical technology is improving, there’s unfortunately still no cure for cancer. However, there’s research to support that turmeric supplementation can prevent certain types of cancer and may slow the growth of colon cancer.

A study published in 2011 examined the effects of curcumin supplementation on colon tumors with the potential to be cancerous. (4) Researchers administered either 2g or 4g of turmeric per day to participants. Participants in the group given 4g per day had a reduction in the number of tumors.

The natural substance piperine, which occurs in black pepper, appears to enhance the absorption of curcumin. (5) If you take a turmeric or curcumin supplement, look for piperine in the ingredient list. If you prefer to get your turmeric from your food, consider liberally sprinkling black pepper on your curries.

4. Turmeric May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder characterized by the degradation of neurons. Early research looking at the effects of turmeric supplements on Alzheimer’s has uncovered some interesting results.

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s is a buildup of amyloid plaques between neurons. Researched published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and may help your body clear these plaques from your brain. (6)

5. Turmeric Helps with Digestion

Turmeric’s natural anti-inflammatory properties are thought to soothe inflammation in your gut and ease symptoms of bloating.

Researchers in Indonesia found that consuming turmeric stimulates your gall bladder, which is responsible for storing bile produced by the liver. Bile helps your body break down fatty foods. (7)        


6. Turmeric Promotes Joint Health

The anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric can reduce joint pain for people who have arthritis. A study published in Phytotherapy Research found that taking a curcumin supplement improved joint pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis more than taking the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac sodium. (8)

Each participant in this study received 500mg of curcumin supplementation per day. Consuming this much turmeric through your food alone is difficult. Turmeric spice is only made up of about 3% of its active ingredient.

Turmeric and curcumin supplements offer a convenient way to receive the health benefits of this chemical in a small capsule. To receive 500mg of curcumin through food, you would have to eat almost 17g of turmeric per day.

7. Turmeric Stabilizes Your Blood Sugar

Many Americans eat a diet that’s high in sugar. Chronically consuming processed, sugary foods can lead to diabetes and insulin resistance.

In 2013, researchers in China performed a literature review on the effects of curcumin on diabetes. (9) The researchers found evidence to support curcumin’s positive effects on blood sugar regulation with people with diabetes.

8. Turmeric May Delay Aging

Turmeric may delay aging and reduce the likelihood of developing diseases that are prevalent late in life like cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that aids in preventing oxidative damage in your body.

Most foods that have a naturally bright color, such as blueberries, pomegranate, turmeric, and dark green vegetables, contain high concentrations of antioxidants.

Consuming many antioxidant-rich foods is thought to increase your lifespan by decreasing stress on your body at a cellular level. (10)

9. Turmeric Improves Skin Health

Consuming foods high in antioxidants like turmeric improves your skin health by reducing damage from ultraviolet sunlight. Eating turmeric isn’t a substitute for sunscreen, but it can provide you with an extra layer of protection.

A 2012 review of research examining turmeric on skin health confirmed that taking oral or topical turmeric supplements can benefit the appearance of your skin. (11)

Final thoughts

Including Turmeric in your diet can improve your health, primarily due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, makes up about 3% of the total weight of turmeric and is responsible for most of its benefits.

Taking a turmeric or curcumin supplement allows you to get the benefits of turmeric without having to eat the 15g or more of turmeric per day it would take to receive the dosages of curcumin used in research.

Quick Disclaimer

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. Readers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither the author(s) nor the publisher of this content take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All readers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.


1. Lopresti AL, Maes M, Maker GL, Hood SD, Drummond PD. Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Affect Disord. 2014;167:368-75

2. Kulkarni SK, Bhutani MK, Bishnoi M. Antidepressant activity of curcumin: involvement of serotonin and dopamine system. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2008;201(3):435-42.

3. Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Dugall M, et al. Efficacy and safety of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, during extended administration in osteoarthritis patients. Altern Med Rev. 2010;15(4):337-44.

4. Carroll RE, Benya RV, Turgeon DK, et al. Phase IIa clinical trial of curcumin for the prevention of colorectal neoplasia. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011;4(3):354-64

5. Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998;64(4):353-6.

6. Zhang L, Fiala M, Cashman J, et al. Curcuminoids enhance amyloid-beta uptake by macrophages of Alzheimer's disease patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2006;10(1):1-7.

7. Rasyid A, Lelo A. The effect of curcumin and placebo on human gall-bladder function: an ultrasound study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1999;13(2):245-9.

8. Chandran B, Goel A. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012;26(11):1719-25.

9. Zhang DW, Fu M, Gao SH, Liu JL. Curcumin and diabetes: a systematic review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:636053.

10. Fusco D, Colloca G, Lo monaco MR, Cesari M. Effects of antioxidant supplementation on the aging process. Clin Interv Aging. 2007;2(3):377-87.

11. Vaughn AR, Branum A, Sivamani RK. Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence. Phytother Res. 2016;30(8):1243-64.

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