8 Ways to Use Turmeric to Fight Inflammation

by Casey Nilsson Patient Advocate

A growing body of evidence states that curcumin, the active compound of the Indian root turmeric, inhibits inflammation—the telltale sign of autoimmune disease. Here are eight ways to incorporate the golden yellow spice into your everyday life.

Detox smoothie drinks.
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Smoothies

Turmeric’s spicy, earthy flavor is an acquired taste, so newbies should blend powdered turmeric, often available in the spice aisle at the grocery store, into smoothies with greens, juice, and other potent herbs.

Herbal tumeric supplement capsules.
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Herbal supplements

Most pharmacies and health food stores sell turmeric supplements in pill form, as well as concentrated curcumin capsules. But if you’re not afraid of yellowed fingertips–turmeric stains easily–it’s more cost-effective to buy the root in powdered form and fill your own capsules.

Chicken tikka masala.
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Curry

These aromatic Indian dishes often include fresh turmeric root and other inflammation-fighting spices like ginger. This easy red curry paste recipe is a nice base for myriad dishes, from tofu stir-fry to soups to chicken and rice.

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Roasted veggies

Roast your vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, or sweet potatoes in a little oil with some salt and pepper for about 25 minutes at 425 degrees, turning them periodically. Remove when crispy at the edges, then toss them in some melted butter, a teaspoon of turmeric powder, and half a teaspoon of cumin. Garnish with fresh thyme.

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Store-bought drinks

Most health food stores stock turmeric-based juices and kombucha. Favorites include Temple Turmeric, a brand that uses organic ingredients like honey, ginger and spearmint to complement turmeric sourced from Hawaii, and GTs Kombucha’s Tantric Turmeric, with fresh-pressed turmeric, carrot and ginger juices added to its original kombucha recipe.

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Soups

Take a traditional soup base, such as chicken noodle or butternut squash soup, and add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to the mix. Add cinnamon, lemongrass, or cumin to increase the spice factor. Swap egg noodles for rice noodles or japchae (grain-free sweet potato noodles found at Asian grocery stores) for an Asian twist.

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Bath and beauty products

Many online retailers offer soaps and lotions with turmeric, which claim to soften skin and soothe itchy, damaged skin. To make your own topical paste at home, add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to two teaspoons of coconut oil and dot on skin discolorations, scrapes, or lesions. The powder is a colorant, so use it in moderation and avoid contact with clothing and sheets.

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Golden milk

For the fully initiated, golden milk is a relaxing addition to a morning or nighttime routine. In a saucer over medium heat, combine two cups of milk (almond is a favorite, but any milk product will do) with 1 teaspoon of turmeric and pinches of black pepper, ginger, and cinnamon to taste. Heat until combined. Add a pad of butter or ghee for some extra creaminess, and sweeten with a spot of honey.

Doctor consulting a patient.
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Talk to your doctor

Whenever you introduce a new supplement into your diet, you should check in with your doctor. Turmeric, like ginger and cinnamon, is a natural blood thinner; avoid it if you’re on anticoagulants.

Casey Nilsson
Meet Our Writer
Casey Nilsson

Casey Nilsson, an award-winning journalist and magazine editor based in Rhode Island, writes about autoimmune disease for HealthCentral. Casey is a 2018 Association of Health Care Journalists fellow, and her reporting on unfair labor conditions for people with disabilities was a finalist for the City and Regional Magazine Association Awards. Diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2016, Casey enjoys digging into rheumatologic news, research and trends.