Turmeric is a perennial, spontaneous plant belonging to the family of Zingiberaceae (the same as ginger and cardamom) and al Genus Curcuma. Also commonly known as Indian saffron, can reach a meter in height, and is easily recognizable thanks to its large leaves and yellow flowers. Turmeric is prized for its classic spicy flavor, slightly bitter, earthy aroma, and mustard-like odor.

The used part of the plant, interesting from the point of view of nutritional properties, is the so-called tuberized rhizome, that is the cylindrical root, orange in color and rich in reserve nutritional molecules.

Turmeric is found on the market in different forms:

  • rhizome, that is the complete root, which has limited use
  • dried and pulverized, a form of greater use
  • essential oil, concentrate of active ingredients

To be used in powder form as a spice, the rhizome must be boiled for several hours, dried in the oven and then ground, in order to obtain a powder with a characteristic yellow ocher color which, in addition to being an ingredient for various dishes, for the more Asian (curry), it can also be used as a natural food coloring (E100).

The rhizome can be eaten fresh, for the preparation of salads, soups, sauces and sauces.


The main components of turmeric are the so-called curcuminoids (3-5%), i.e. mixtures of cinnamoylmethane derivatives, such as curcumin, demethoxy curcumin and bis-demethoxy curcumin. It is right there curcumin, which represents 3.14%, the ingredient that would give the spice beneficial effects.

From the point of view of the composition in nutrients, turmeric powder provides a good amount of carbohydrates and fiber, as well as containing minerals and vitamins.

100 grams of turmeric powder provides about 312 calories and contains:

  • 12.85 grams (g) of water
  • 9.68 g. of protein
  • 3.25 g. of lipids,
  • 67.14 g. of carbohydrates
  • 3.21 g. of sugars
  • 22.7 g. of fibers
  • 4.43 milligrams (mg.) Of vitamin E
  • 1,350 mg. of niacin
  • 0.7 mg. of vitamin C
  • 0.150 mg. of riboflavin
  • 0.107 mg. of vitamin B6
  • 0.058 mg. of thiamine
  • 20 micrograms (µg) of folate
  • 13.4 µg. of vitamin K
  • 2,080 mg. of potassium
  • 299 mg. of phosphorus
  • 208 mg. of magnesium
  • 168 mg. of football
  • 55 mg. of iron
  • 27 mg. sodium
  • 4.50 mg. zinc


The presence of curcuminoid polyphenols, such as curcumin, would seem to give turmeric various properties.

Among the effects attributed to turmeric, the action must certainly be mentioned choleretic And cholagogue, namely the increase in the production of bile and its entry into the intestine to aid in the digestion of fats.

Turmeric is often recommended in cases of difficult digestion (dyspepsia) and in those suffering from bloating and abdominal bloating. Additionally, it appears to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties.

Some studies seem to indicate that it may have a protective role at the cardiovascular level, promoting blood thinning, improving circulation and regulating cholesterol values.

It seems to have healing power, regulator of sebum production and soothing and is widely used in cosmetics.

Finally, some studies suggest that the consumption of turmeric can help improve memory and, more generally, the functionality of the nervous system and perform an "antidepressant action."

However, it is good to keep in mind that talking about the healing properties of food is difficult and often wrong. Turmeric, like many other foods, contains substances potentially beneficial for the body but the quantity that can be introduced with food is very small and far from the quantities of active ingredient used in scientific studies.

Finally, it should be remembered that turmeric effects are attributed, such as the ability to "burn fat" and to promote weight loss, without scientific studies showing its ability to mobilize storage fats.

Of course, this does not mean that the benefits so far attributed to the spice are false. Using turmeric, even just to flavor foods, does not involve any contraindication (unless otherwise indicated by the doctor); but what is even more important is to include the consumption of this spice in a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.


It is difficult to establish which daily doses are sufficient and necessary to obtain the benefits brought about by this precious spice; to date, the indication is to consume 1.5-3 grams per day of dried rhizome, and it is advisable not to exceed these doses.

Use in the kitchen

Turmeric can be used raw, adding it only at the end of cooking so as to avoid the dispersion of nutrients. It can be used by adding it to salads, yogurt, soups, stews, soups, vegetables, white meats, fish and shellfish.

Another possibility is the preparation of the so-called golden milk, or the golden milk, of which there are several variants.It is prepared using a teaspoon of turmeric paste, soy milk, cow's milk, rice, almond, oat, ginger, honey. Turmeric paste is obtained by heating water in a saucepan and adding a pinch of black pepper and turmeric powder to form a grainy compound that can be kept in the fridge for up to a month.

Turmeric flavored oil can also be prepared, which is very easily prepared by putting a few teaspoons of powder in extra virgin olive oil with the addition of a pinch of black pepper.

The addition of black pepper and olive oil helps to assimilate curcumin, enhancing its benefits.

Indications and warnings

There are cases in which the use of turmeric is not recommended due to its effect choleretic and cholagogue, which involves an increased activity of the liver in the production of bile, is to be avoided in all people suffering from gallstones.

A "careful medical supervision while taking curcumin is necessary in people with gastroesophageal reflux or peptic ulcer (of the stomach or duodenum), given the potential irritant action against the gastric mucosa exerted, in general, by all spices.

The use of curcumin should be avoided, given the absence of studies in this regard, during pregnancy and in the subsequent period of breastfeeding.


Devaraj S, Ismail S, Ramanathan S, Yam MF. Investigation of antioxidant and hepatoprotective activity of standardized Curcuma xanthorrhiza rhizome in carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic damaged rats. TheScientificWorldJournal. 2014; Jul. 14

Hu RW, Carey EJ, Lindor KD, Tabibian JH. Curcumin in Hepatobiliary Disease: Pharmacotherapeutic Properties and Emerging Potential Clinical Applications. Annals of Hepatology. 2017; 16: 835-841

Mazieiro R, Frizon RR, Barbalho SM, Goulart RA. Is Curcumin a Possibility to Treat Inflammatory Bowel Diseases? [Synthesis]. Journal of Medical Food. 2018; 21: 1077-1085

Moghadamtousi SZ, Kadir HA, Hassandarvish P, Tajik H, Abubakar S, Zandi K. A review on antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity of curcumin. BioMed Research International. 2014; 29

Keihanian F, Saeidinia A, Bagheri RK, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. Curcumin, hemostasis, thrombosis, and coagulation [Synthesis]. Journal of cellular physiology. 2018; 233: 4497-4511

In-depth link

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release. Basic report: 02043, spices, turmeric, ground

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