Turmeric, the golden ayurvedic spice, is native to Southeast Asia and has been widely researched and used for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties.* It has been shown to support cognitive and immune functioning, enhance digestion, and maintain healthy joint mobility and blood sugar levels, physician and ayurvedic expert Avanti Kumar-Singh, M.D., tells mbg.*
The spice can be taken in supplement form, sprinkled directly onto dishes, or sipped through tea—but is it a good or bad idea to add all three to your daily diet?
How much turmeric should you take in one day?
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, so it's important to keep that in mind when deciding how much to take. "It is estimated that 1,200 to 1,800 mg of curcumin a day are required to see therapeutic effects." functional food and spice expert Kanchan Koya, Ph.D., says.*
"This translates to amounts much greater than one would consume through food," she adds. (Note: One teaspoon of turmeric has about 200 mg of curcumin.) For anyone looking to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits, she recommends talking to a doctor about taking a curcumin supplement.*
It's also important to pay attention to the ingredients and sourcing. "Turmeric is generally considered safe and can be eaten without any serious side effects," naturopathic physician Jaime Schehr, N.D., R.D., says, but "turmeric powders can be manufactured with cheap fillers, such as wheat starch and questionable food colorants." If that's the case, it's best to limit consumption or find a higher-quality form.
Is it possible to take too much turmeric?
Taking too much turmeric may lead to an upset stomach, nausea, and dizziness, Kumar-Singh tells us. Talking to a doctor before starting a supplement regimen may help you determine how much you can tolerate or safely take, given your particular medical history.
People who are susceptible to kidney stones, in particular, should also talk to their doctor before taking turmeric supplements, Koya says. One study shows turmeric supplementation may increase urinary oxalate levels and lead to an increased risk of kidney stone formation. It is also possible that high doses of turmeric could increase bleeding risk.
What are the best ways to take turmeric?
Taking turmeric in powder or supplement form is a simple way to add the beneficial spice to a balanced diet. To offer the benefits of turmeric along with omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibers, and vitamins and minerals, mindbodygreen developed organic veggies+.
The greens powder contains a proprietary blend of sea veggies and dark leafy greens, in addition to a digestive blend that includes organic turmeric root, organic ginger root, and digestive enzymes. Just one scoop can pack gut-healthy and immune-supporting benefits into snacks, smoothies, and baked goods.*
Kumar-Singh also recommends using turmeric in its natural form, "Spices are medicine, so cooking with it is your best bet." That said, 1 teaspoon of fresh or ground turmeric contains only about 200 milligrams of curcumin, so she recommends adding a supplement to get the full anti-inflammatory effects.*
If you choose to cook it, Schehr suggests adding ground turmeric to egg or tofu scrambles, bone broth, or as a seasoning for roasted vegetables and fish.
"In both cases, be sure that you're pairing turmeric with black pepper to increase its absorption in the gut," she adds.
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.