When you’re trying to lose weight, you want to make sure you are doing it in the safest way possible. There are a lot of different synthetic weight loss pills with high claims and low results on the market. Even more, though they may aid in weight loss, there is no telling what these pills do to the overall health of your body. Using natural ingredients can assure that your body is going to remain at its optimal health as you lose weight. Though turmeric is not an end-all to weight loss, it does play a large role in your body’s ability to lose weight. Adding turmeric to your diet, while continuing with an exercise program, is a great way to continue reaching your weight loss goals.
So, now that you know you should add turmeric to your healthy lifestyle plan, let’s talk more about what it is and the specifics of what turmeric does for your body. Especially, how it aids in weight loss.
What Is It?
In the United States, when you think of turmeric, you probably think of it as the spice that gives curry its bright yellow color. And this is true. In India, and other areas of the world, however, it is so much more than that.
Turmeric is a plant known for its rhizomes. While most people may mistake the useful part of turmeric for a root, it is actually a rhizome, which is essentially a stem that grows underground. Turmeric is in the same family as ginger. In fact, if you saw the two growing together, you’d have a hard time telling them apart. They are both known for their rhizomes.
In tropical climates, you can propagate it yourself simply by burying a piece of the rhizome. A shoot will spring up and the rhizome will grow underground, adding other pieces.
For commercial use, the turmeric rhizome is processed into a powder. Typically, the rhizome is boiled and then dried in hot ovens. Finally, it is ground into the powder used as a spice with a characteristic deep yellow-orange color.
It is most commonly used in India and other areas of southern Asia, and there it is referred to as “the golden spice of life.” In India, they adore turmeric for its therapeutic and medicinal uses, as it holds properties with great health benefits.
In our kitchens, it is most commonly used as a spice. However, because of the many beneficial properties of turmeric, it has also been known to be used as a healing agent. The many benefits turmeric has on the inner parts of the body also allow it to play a role in weight-loss.
Turmeric’s Many Benefits that Aid in Weight Loss
Okay, so now we will get to the heart of this article, and what you really are interested in knowing. Specifically, what it is about turmeric that will help you lose weight. Here are the many different benefits of turmeric and how they relate to weight loss.
Turmeric Lowers Bad Cholesterol
The properties found in turmeric help lower the bad kind of cholesterol, which functions in direct correlation with weight loss. High cholesterol and weight gain or loss work hand-in-hand. You have probably heard your doctor say that losing weight will help lower your cholesterol, but the opposite occurs as well. Lowering your cholesterol will have a positive impact on your body as you are in the process of losing weight.
Turmeric Detoxifies the Liver
This is an extremely vital and beneficial way turmeric helps you lose weight. Let me explain. The liver is responsible for many things in the body, including aiding in digestion. However, one of the main functions of the liver is metabolizing fat. In other words, the liver breaks down fat and remove toxins from your body. In order to do this effectively, however, the liver needs to be cleansed.
Turmeric detoxifies the liver. In other words, cleanses it, allowing the liver to perform its duties at an optimal level. Thanks to turmeric, your toxin-free liver will be able to get rid of fat in your body and help you lose weight!
Turmeric Improves Digestion
Do you have unwanted fat hanging around your midsection? Do you ever experience bloating in your stomach, especially right after you eat? Well, I have some good news. Turmeric can help get rid of all of that! There are properties in turmeric that help improve digestion. When your digestive system is working well, it can speed up your metabolism, which will help you shed excess fat, especially in the stomach area. It will also help relieve any pain caused by excess bloating after you consume a meal. This is just another way turmeric is beneficial for weight loss.
Turmeric Helps Regulate Your Metabolism
There has been a lot of talk about metabolism and the positive effects turmeric has in relation to the speed and function of your metabolism. Metabolism refers to various chemical reactions in your body that are responsible for keeping your cells and organs alive and working well. It’s pretty important.
In relation to weight loss, your metabolism is responsible for taking all the food and drink you consume and turning it into usable energy. When your body is performing these functions, it is burning calories; hence, playing a part in your weight loss. These are calories burned “at rest,” meaning not when you are performing a physical activity, such as going on a run. This is called your metabolic rate. It is important to know, however, that you can increase your metabolic rate or the number of calories your body burns at rest, by increasing the amount you exercise. This would be what is commonly referred to as speeding up your metabolism. So though turmeric does help regulate your metabolism, for optimal results, it’s best to start or continue an exercise program as well.
The Secret Active Ingredient in Turmeric: Curcumin
The active ingredient in turmeric is Curcumin. Especially, turmeric contains two to five percent of Curcumin. This is also beneficial for weight loss, as Curcumin has various properties that help with weight loss. When you consume turmeric, you also get all these benefits as well.
Curcumin is an Anti-Inflammatory
Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory which is beneficial and important for your body. Foods that are processed contain toxins. Your body’s immune system naturally responds to these toxins with inflammation. This can cause diabetes and obesity, as well as cancer. When you consume anti-inflammatory foods or supplements, such as turmeric, the opposite occurs. In essence, the anti-inflammatory properties found in turmeric lessen the chance of you becoming obese and getting diabetes or cancer.
Curcumin is an Antioxidant
Curcumin is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants, which are most commonly found in fruits and vegetables, are known for their ability to prohibit, and even prevent, the oxidation of molecules in the body. This is beneficial because when your body is exposed to harmful environmental substances, such as tobacco, antioxidants protect your body at the cellular level. What this means for weight loss is that antioxidants have the ability to suppress inflammation in fat cells, thus aiding in fat and weight loss.
Other Health Benefits
As mentioned previously, turmeric prevents diabetes, cancer, and mutation. This is positive at the cellular level, as it protects your cells when they divide and populate, making sure they divide with correct, healthy DNA. Turmeric also has antimicrobial and immunomodulatory properties, which means it acts as an antibiotic to fight against bacteria in your body. Similar to this, turmeric fights fungus in the body as well. Lastly, turmeric has been used for therapeutic and medicinal health due to its benefits on the brain and the stomach.
Curcumin has also been studied for its impact on risk for heart disease. Some studies show that curcumin may prevent diabetic cardiovascular complications. This indicates that for those who live with diabetes, a curcumin supplement may help reduce the risk of heart complications. The same study stated that curcumin helps improve the condition of animals with cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. This is certainly promising evidence for the use of curcumin in relation to heart disease.
Scientific Studies Supporting Turmeric for Weight Loss
Researchers conducted an over 20 year study on how medical plants, including turmeric, affect weight loss. Significant findings support claims previously made about turmeric aiding in weight loss. These researchers found that the anti-obesity function in turmeric was its ability to prevent adipocyte differentiation. Even more, their “findings support health organization recommendation regarding the regular consumption of vegetables and selected herbs, such as turmeric” (p.3). This is encouraging, as there is scientific evidence supporting turmeric and its role in weight loss.
Another study showed that curcumin is related to many health benefits including weight loss related factors. For example, the study outlined how curcumin can play a role in reducing insulin resistance, which has often been associated with belly-area weight-gain. Reversing insulin resistance, which the study claims curcumin has the power to do, can change the way your body responds to food. Rather than allowing your blood sugar to fluctuate greatly and spike, and then crash, a normally functioning insulin system can normalize the amount of fat stored in your body. If you have excess belly weight, you may be insulin resistant which is also a factor in pre-diabetes. By turning around your insulin resistance problem, you’ll not only lose weight, but reduce your changes of getting diabetes. This chronic disease associated with obesity can bring a host of additional health problems along with it. Taking curcumin may be an easy way to divert your journey down this path.
Adding It To Your Diet
Okay, so now you are probably sold on the fact that turmeric is a great addition to your healthy lifestyle, especially if you are trying to lose weight. What’s next? Let’s talk a little bit about how you can add it to your diet, as well as how much you should have each day.
There are two main ways to consume turmeric as a dietary supplement. First is powder-filled capsules. The second is turmeric as a fluid. Whichever way you decide works best for you, you want to make sure you consume 400-600 mg three times a day. This is the recommended amount.
Here’s a tip: for greater absorption, consume black pepper and fats when taking turmeric.
Another great way to add turmeric to your diet is by using it in the kitchen! You can find ground turmeric in the spice section at your local grocery store. Though it is most commonly used in Indian food, the subtle taste that turmeric provides works well in other types of dishes as well.
How Much Curcumin Do You Need?
The ingredient in turmeric that produces all of the health benefits we’ve outlined, including weight loss, is curcumin. As with any food or weight loss plan, amounts are key in helping you reach your goals. So, how much curcumin should you get?
While it’s difficult to pinpoint exact amounts, do keep in mind that most studies reference using significant amounts of curcumin, over 1 G daily.
That being said, the curcumin content in raw or dried turmeric is fairly low. In the most concentrated turmeric powders, curcumin is found at only 3%. This means you’d have to eat a hefty amount of turmeric daily to gain the benefits of this spice. But, don’t get discouraged. There may be evidence that long-term consumption of small amounts turmeric on a regular basis may play a role in good health. For example, the population of India, where turmeric is used as a common ingredient in food, is known for its extraordinarily low number of Alzheimer’s patients, a disease associated with inflammation. Could it be the turmeric that makes the population immune to inflammation-related diseases? It’s possible.
How much turmeric does the average adult in India consume? If you’re willing to bet that if you eat as much as Indians do, you’ll gain some health benefits, here’s the scoop. Based on powdered turmeric (not curcumin), the average Indian adult eats between 2 and 2.5 grams of the spice. That’s about as much as you’d get in one heaped teaspoon. You can use the recommendations we’ve provided, although some stir the amount into a glass of milk or swallow it with olive oil.
Fun Facts About Turmeric
We love all the health benefits turmeric provides, especially how its active ingredients and properties can aid in weight loss. Here are other interesting uses for turmeric, as well as some common places it’s “hiding.”
Turmeric is found in a majority of mustards. It is what gives mustard its golden color.
Who would have guessed turmeric is found in a variety of different commercial sunscreens?Turning turmeric into a paste and using it as a home remedy for sunburn has also proven to be beneficial. So make sure you’re stocking up this summer. It could come in handy!
It has been said that some women in India use this paste not only as a sunburn remedy but also to remove hair from their bodies. So be careful where your sunburn is.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the bright orange-yellow color of turmeric makes it an ideal dye. Both in fabrics and food, the cheery yellow color turmeric adds is bright and bold. It was even known in the past as “Indian Saffron” and was often used a substitute because it was cheaper. Today, turmeric is still used as a food dye and can be found in salad dressings, margarine, broths and more.
And lastly, one of the most random in my opinion, is that putting turmeric combined with the water in your car radiator has been proven to stop leaks. So while you’re at the store, make sure to grab a travel size turmeric, as it could come in handy.
As you start or continue your weight loss journey, it is essential to find natural, healthy ways to help your body lose excess fat while remaining in optimal health. From regulating your metabolism and decreasing inflammation in your body to maintaining ideal cell life and health, turmeric does it all. Thanks to its active ingredient, Curcumin, you receive many health benefits from this powder.
So get in your car and head to the grocery store or health store to get your needed amount of turmeric. Adding it to your healthy lifestyle plan, as well as a consistent weight loss, exercise plan, will help you reach your best self yet.