What Are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?

Written by UConn Dietetics Masters student Elena Manning

Turmeric has been a popular spice in dishes of all cultures, often used for its bright color and warm taste. In recent years, it has become a staple in many cabinets. There have been many claims of its powerful effects, some even naming it a “superfood.” But what is turmeric really? And is it as good for you as people say?

What Is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice made from the root of Zingiberaceae, a member of the ginger root family. It has a warm and earthy taste commonly used in curries, rice dishes, and mustards. It is a main component of the spice mixture garam masala¹, made from at least eight different spices, and popular in Indian cooking.

Why Is Turmeric so Good for You?

Turmeric has been said to provide benefits for body inflammation, degenerative eye conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, and hyperlipidemia. Turmeric has a high level of phytonutrients which can help protect the body from the negative effects our bodies experience from daily cell breakdown. More research needs to be done; for now, it is recommended that those who struggle with inflammation add more turmeric to their diet.¹

Turmeric Pilau (rice) with Golden Onions      Time: 25 min. Yield: 6 Servings


  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 large onions, halved and sliced
  • Just under 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 red or green chilies, seeds removed and thinly sliced


  1. Thoroughly rinse the rice until the water looks completely clear. Drain, then tip into a large pan of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for 6 minutes until just tender, checking after 5 minutes. Drain well, cool and chill.
  2. Heat the oil in a large wok and fry the spices until they start to pop. Add the onions, then cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender and golden. Stir in the turmeric and chilies; cook for an additional     1-2 minutes. Cool.


  1. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/turmeric-benefits#:~:text=%E2%80%9CLike%20other%20colorful%20plant%2Dbased,as%20cancer%20and%20heart%20disease.
  2. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/turmeric-pilau-golden-onions

This material is funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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