Turmeric isn’t just the star ingredient in curry. This spice has medicinal properties that have turned it into a favourite amongst superfood enthusiasts. Do you want to know all about its effects on health? In this article, we’ll tell you everything that scientists and nutrition experts have to say about turmeric.

Curcumin is the compound responsible for the benefits of turmeric. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunostimulant and hepatoprotective properties. This plant is also ver useful in preventing and treating a variety of different ailments. And the good news is that this product is safe for our health and has very few contraindications.

Key Facts

  • Also called Curcuma longa, turmeric is a plant originating in Southeast Asia (India and Vietnam), whose rhizome is edible. It has spicy and slightly bitter taste, and is widely used for medicinal, gastronomic and cosmetic purposes.
  • The health properties of turmeric are due to curcumin, a compound that has anti-inflammatory, digestive, antioxidant, immunostimulant and antimicrobial functions, amongst many others.
  • Turmeric can be consumed in powder or capsule form. Capsules have a much higher curcurmin content than powdered turmeric. Consequently, their therapeutic effect is more significant.

Ranking: The best turmeric products on the Australian market

The health benefits of turmeric are now widely known. That being said, the most important is choosing a top quality product if you want to take full advantage of this superfood, increase your overall health and treat ailments. We’ve selected the very best turmeric products available on the Australian market for you:

No. 1: Nature’s Way Activated Curcumin Turmeric Concentrate (30 tablets)

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Born from the desire to reap all the benefits of nature, American brand Nature’s Way blends tradition and technology to offer some of the best supplements out there. This is why it’s not a surprise to see this pack of 30 tablets be Amazon’s Choice in the category. Each tablet contains a total of 600 milligrams of curcuminoids.

It also features bioperine, a patented extract of black pepper that boosts your organism’s ability to absorb curcumin. This will allow you to obtain faster results, whether you want to alleviate digestive pains or inflammation and stiffness caused by mild Osteoarthritis. The manufacturer recommends taking 1 to 2 tablets daily, depending on the goal you are trying to achieve.

No. 2: Honest to Goodness Organic Turmeric (powder, 1 kg)

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Honest to Goodness is a leader on the Australian market when it comes to supplying organic and natural foods. They’re also Australian Certified Organic (ACO) and B-Corp certified – which means that they’re responsible towards the environment. That should give you an idea of the efforts they put behind their products, and you won’t be disappointed with this turmeric powder.

It offers great value for money, with 1 kilo of organic powder ready for you to add to your favourites dishes and drinks. The curcumin concentration of this product is approximately 5%. It is completely suitable for vegan and vegetarian individuals, and free of allergens such as dairy, eggs or wheat. Past customers simply say it’s the best out there.

No. 3: Organic Turmeric Curcumin (120 capsules)

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Considering Grenera Organics is an Indian supplement company offering traditional herbs and spices for our health today, it’s easy to understand why we’ve included them into our ranking. Turmeric is extremely common in the land of Ayurveda, and Grenera produces high quality capsules that are completely free of GMO and gluten.

With a curcumin concentration of 95% per capsule and 120 capsules per pack, you’ll be set for the next couple of months if you stick to the brand’s recommendations. They suggest you take two capsules every morning with food. The piperine favours the absorption by the organism. These capsules are also vegan-friendly so everyone can reap the benefits of this marvellous plant.

No. 4: Flourish Turmeric Blend (powder, 240 g)

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Flourish Nutritional Medicine is another Australian brand whose goal is to provide you with plant-based supplements to boost your overall health. All their products are natural and come in the form of powder, just like this turmeric blend. Why is it called blend? Because while turmeric is its main ingredient, it also contains 12 other healthy whole foods.

This natural anti-inflammatory features black pepper, ginger, stevia leaf and cinnamon, amongst others. All these ingredients are known for their benefits to our health, and you’ll be doing your body a real favour with them. You are advised to take between half to four teaspoons a day depending on your intended goal. This powder is vegan-friendly, as well as GMO and allergen-free.

No. 5: Fusion Health Bioenhanced Curcumin Advanced (90 capsules)

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The last product of our selection comes from Byron Bay company Fusion Health, whose supplements are based on the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine. All their products are GMP-approved so you know that quality is there, too. Each pack contains a total of 90 capsules, and you are advised to take 1 twice a day for optimal results.

Designed to relieve inflammatory symptoms such as pain, joint stiffness and swelling, Curcumin Advanced also contains black pepper for enhanced absorption. It stands out from other products because it features ginger and boswellia, two other plants whose benefits to health have been proven. Combined together, they provide incredible anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about turmeric

Very common in Asian cuisine, turmeric is a spice that can add flavour to all your dishes while also offering many health benefits. What is the best turmeric supplement for you? How should you consume it to reap all its benefits? Does it present any contraindication? We’ll answer all your doubts in the section below.

Curcuma longa is a plant native to Southeast Asia (India and Vietnam), whose rhizome is edible.
(Source: Photoshootings: 1979272/ Pixabay.com)

What is turmeric exactly?

Curcuma longa is the scientific name of the turmeric plant. Found underground, its rhizome is the part that can be eaten. Its colour is bright orange inside with a greyish or brownish outer layer. While it is usually consumed dried and in powder, you can also eat it fresh.

Turmeric is found in curry powder, giving it its yellow colour and extravagant flavour. It is also used as an authorised food colouring and flavouring agent. You will find it under the term E-100 on food composition labels. You can add it to soups, broths, rice, mustards and cheeses. Curcumin is what gives it this yellow-orange colour.

What is curcumin?

As we mentioned earlier, curcumin is the compound that gives turmeric its particular colour and properties for health. In dried turmeric powder, the concentration of this polyphenol is generally between 3 and 5%, while it can make up 95% of the total weight of tablets and capsules.

The health properties of turmeric are due to curcumin, a compound that has anti-inflammatory, digestive and antioxidant functions.
(Source: vincenzoT: 1889634/ Pixabay.com)

What are the properties of curcumin?

As you already know, curcumin has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and digestive properties. But that’s just the beginning. This compound can protect your liver from different toxins, strengthen your immune system and inhibit various pathogens (viruses and bacteria).

Curcumin is also considered to be a natural anticancer agent. It contributes to lowering cholesterol and blood glucose levels, thanks to its hypolipemiant and hypoglucemiant properties respectively. This compound can also inhibit the replication of the virus in HIV-infected individuals.

Amy ShapiroRegistered Dietitian & Founder of Real Nutrition

“Turmeric is a very potent anti-inflammatory and has medicinal properties derived from compounds called curcuminoids (curcumin), which are powerful disease-fighting antioxidants.”

What are the health benefits of turmeric?

On top of being used as a condiment or dye, turmeric is perhaps most often consumed as a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Based on the properties we’ve described so far, we can conclude that it offers the following benefits to various systems and organs in the human body:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Substances called prostaglandins are linked to inflammation. Curcumin has the ability to inhibit the synthesis of these compounds. This leads to a decrease in inflammation in cases of arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, tennis elbow and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Anticancer agent: Curcumin hinders tumour growth and is linked with a lower risk of developing cancer, in particular colon, breast, skin, lung and duodenal cancers. It stimulates apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cells that have undergone mutations.
  • Antimicrobial: Curcumin inhibits the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria responsible for gastritis, ulcers and gastric cancer. It also helps prevent and treat infections induced by the Candida albicans fungus.
  • Antioxidant: Free radicals are molecules that generate oxidative damage in cell membranes. High levels of cellular oxidation is linked to atherosclerosis (plaques of fat, cholesterol and other substances inside the arteries), cancer, diabetes, early ageing and ocular problems such as cataracts.

Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that has the ability to block free radicals. It contributes to preventing the conditions mentioned above, as well as others also linked to oxidative stress. These include kidney and liver failure, heart problems and Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Immunomodulator: By stimulating the production of immune cells, curcumin strengthens the functioning of the immune system in general. This is particularly useful for immunocompromised patients (with low defences).
  • Digestive: Turmeric is a hepatoprotector, defending the liver against toxins – medicines, poisons found in food and water. It also reduces intestinal inflammation, facilitates the digestion of fats and alleviates gastritis.
  • Hypolipemiant: It can decrease total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. This is very helpful for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and non-alcoholic fatty liver.
  • Hypoglucemiant: It has been proven that turmeric supplements could reduce blood glucose (glycaemia) levels. Diabetic individuals can benefit from this.
  • Neuroprotector: There is evidence that curcumin may prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative pathologies. Regularly consuming turmeric is also linked with lower levels of stress, irritability and anxiety.

When is supplementing with turmeric useful?

Turmeric supplements truly have the potential to improve your health and prevent certain diseases. While these products shouldn’t necessarily be the only treatment for the conditions introduced below, they are a valuable complement to the conventional medical approach.

  • Arthritis: rheumatoid arthritis, sports-related joint injuries.
  • Metabolic disorders: high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver.
  • Gastritis: in particular if it is associated with Helicobacter pylori and inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., ulcerative colitis).
  • Infection by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Candida or other pathogens. Family history of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).

What types of turmeric supplements are available out there?

Despite the wide variety of turmeric products that you’ll find on the Australian market, it needs to be consumed in powder or capsule form if you want to make the most of its therapeutic effects. Both dosage forms will have a positive impact on your health as long as you take them correctly. Here are their specific characteristics:

  • Dried turmeric powder: The rhizome is dried and crushed into a very thin powder. It will easily dissolve in liquids and can be added to solid preparations. It has spicy and bitter taste, and its colour is yellow or orange. Experts evaluate the recommended daily intake between 3 and 5 grams. The curcumin content is 3-5%.
  • Turmeric capsules/tablets: They contain either turmeric powder or liquid extract, whose curcumin concentration reaches 95%. The taste is mild. The recommended dosage is generally 2 capsules daily with your main meals. This option allows you to treat certain ailments in a natural way.
Advantages
  • Mild, almost neutral taste. High consumer acceptance.
  • Easy to take and carry around with you.
  • High curcumin concentration.
  • Liposomal curcumin is absorbed much faster and its effects last longer (up to 24 hours after taking).
Disadvantages
  • They are not versatile, as you cannot mix them with other foods or drinks.
  • Their use during pregnancy is contraindicated, as they can trigger premature birth or cause an abortion.

Why do most turmeric capsules also contain black pepper?

You’ll often find turmeric capsules and tablets with added black pepper. This is due to the fact that the piperine found in black pepper promotes the assimilation of turmeric. This allows your body to take greater advantage of it. We also encourage you to add a pinch of black pepper if you use powdered turmeric.

Turmeric is a very potent anti-inflammatory whose medicinal properties derive from compounds called curcuminoids.
(Source: SoFuego: 743044/ Pixabay.com)

Does turmeric contain many calories?

No. Just like with most condiments or spices, turmeric is consumed in such small amounts that its calorie, fat, carbohydrate, and protein contents are negligible. One serving of 5 grams of turmeric powder will give you 15 calories, while 2 capsules only contain 3 calories.

Why is turmeric called a “natural ibuprofen”?

This name emerged from the fact that turmeric has such powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that its effects resemble that of ibuprofen. Note that you’ll obtain these benefits by consuming turmeric in the form of supplements, and better still if they contain liposomal curcumin.

Lisa H. Ha & Andrea NestebyIn The Effects of Curcumin in Decreasing Pain in Patients with Osteoarthritis (2017)

“Recent studies have demonstrated curcumin, an extract of turmeric, to be just as safe and effective as ibuprofen in the reduction of pain and functional improvement but with fewer side effects.”

What is liposomal curcumin?

This particular form of administering turmeric extract allows curcumin to reach cells faster and to be better assimilated. Liposomes surround curcumin and carry it into the cells. In addition, liposomal curcumin is remains in the body exercising its effects for 24 hours.

You can also find turmeric oil, whose external use is common for massages, mixed with another cream or oil.
(Source: summawhat: 2613032/ Pixabay.com)

What is the recommended daily intake of turmeric?

As you know, the active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Various studies have demonstrated that doses of 400-600 milligrams of curcumin taken two to three times daily were necessary to achieve a therapeutic effect. This equals to 2 capsules, 15 grams of dried turmeric or 60 grams of fresh rhizome. Experts discourage consumers to exceed these quantities.

What are the contraindications and side effects of turmeric?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared turmeric as generally safe for health. Side effects of high doses of turmeric include diarrhoea, irritation of the stomach mucosa, skin rashes and yellow stools. Here are some groups for whom contraindications exist:

  • Children under the age of 3 (turmeric powder) and young people under the age of 18, for turmeric extract capsules.
  • Pregnant women. Turmeric powder can be taken in moderate amounts during pregnancy, but concentrated capsules and extracts should be avoided. The high concentration of curcumin may cause uterine contractions that trigger labour or induce abortion.
  • Individuals who will undergo surgery. Turmeric may interfere with blood clotting.
  • Individuals suffering from certain diseases of the bile ducts and gallbladder. Consuming turmeric can trigger stomach cramps. It is completely contraindicated in cases of biliary occlusion (cholelithiasis) – when the bile ducts are obstructed.

Can I consume turmeric oil?

No, experts do not recommend taking turmeric essential oils as it has a toxic effect when swallowed. Turmeric oil is designed for external use, usually for massages, mixed with another cream or oil. You will find turmeric products aplenty on the market, but many of them are indicated for external use only.

Susan J. Hewlings & Douglas S. KalmanIn Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health (2017)

“Research suggests that curcumin can help in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia. It may also help in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, thus enhancing recovery and subsequent performance in active people.”

Shopping Criteria

There are a series of key aspects that you’ll need to take into account when the time comes to buy the right turmeric product for you. You should consider which dosage form best suits your lifestyle and tastes, and go for it. In the following section, we’ll detail the following criteria for you to keep in mind when purchasing your supplements:

  • Taste
  • Dosage form
  • Presence of gluten and other allergens
  • Capsule material
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)

Taste

If you simply love the taste and colour that turmeric gives to preparations, you can consume it as a powder without any problem. You should opt for capsules that have neutral taste if, on the other hand, you think that turmeric powder is too intense or you don’t like its taste.

Dosage form

Capsules are very easy to swallow with a glass of water. Experts recommend taking them with meals to avoid upsetting your stomach. If you have little time or very often eat away from home, you’ll definitely want to opt for turmeric capsules.

Turmeric powder, on the other hand, should be mixed with another food or drink before consumption. You can prepare a golden milk: this Indian drink consists of mixing a cup of dairy-free milk (almond, soy or coconut) with a teaspoon of powdered turmeric, a pinch of black pepper, and other flavours that may include cinnamon or golden syrup.

Criterion Powder Capsules
Taste Intense, spicy and bitter. Peculiar. Typical of turmeric. Mild, almost neutral.
Curcumin concentration 3 to 5% Up to 95%
Recommended daily intake 5 grams (1 teaspoon) 2 capsules
Form of consumption Dissolved in infusions, soups, milkshakes or plain milk. It can also be used as a spice or condiment in recipes for meat, vegetables, rice, legumes or pastry products. You should take them with your main meals, with a glass of water.

Presence of gluten and other allergens

Gluten-intolerant individuals should always look at composition labels in search of the seal that guarantees that a product is gluten-free or does not contain wheat, oats, barley or rye. If you suffer from other food allergies (soybeans, peanut, sesame, walnuts, milk), check on the label that these ingredients are not found in the supplement.

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Capsule material

Capsules can be made from two materials: animal gelatine or hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, also known as vegetal gelatine. You can completely overlook this aspect if you are omnivorous. Vegetarian and vegan individuals, on the other hand, will need to carefully read the ingredient list to make sure that there is no animal gelatine in the product.

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)

The Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification ensures that a food product has been properly handled and is safe and harmless for human consumption. You’ll know that the supplement you buy is a top quality product if it has received this certification.

Summary

Considered a superfood, turmeric has anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, digestive, immunostimulant, antioxidant and hypoglycaemic properties. Curcumin is the compound responsible for these incredible health benefits, as well as for conferring its unique golden yellow colour to turmeric.

Turmeric powder brings health, colour and flavour to all your foods and beverages. Capsules, on the other hand, have a very high curcumin concentration and are the ideal choice to treat arthritis, control diabetes and delay ageing. That being said, please remember that no supplement should ever replace a balanced diet.

Were you surprised by the fantastic health benefits of turmeric? Help us help more people by sharing this shopping guide on your social media, and don’t forget to leave us a comment in the section below.

(Source of featured image: Ajale: 1191945/ Pixabay.com)

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