One of the most common health hazards of modern time is excessive fat deposition in the body. A very large portion of the human population is affected by it all over the world.
Being overweight is the condition of energy imbalance in the body. This imbalance is reflected as storage of fat.
The energy imbalance is caused when our calories (a measurement of energy) intake is higher than what is used by the body for the metabolic processes such as breathing, regulation of body temperature, digestion etc.
The calories that we take in come from the food we eat or drink. The amount of energy that is left after the use in bodily functions is stored for the future use. This energy is stored in liver cells as glycogen and as triglycerides in the fat tissues.
The energy imbalances may also be caused by other factors such as hormonal disorders like, hypothyroidism. Certain genetic disorders and medications can also cause the weight gain.
When the weight gain is excessive, it is called as obesity and leads to other complications such as metabolic syndrome, hypertension, artherosclerosis, diabetes etc.
Obesity is an increasing social and medical problem all over the world and refers to having too much body fat.
However, it is not like being overweight which refers to weighing too much. A person maybe overweight because of extra muscle or bone or water retention in the body.
Both result in a person having more than the recommended healthy body weight.
This could cause a host of medical problems like osteoarthritis, gallstones, liver problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea etc.
Apart from eating too much, obesity can be caused by excess alcohol consumption, menopause, hypothyroidism, not exercising etc. The first step to fighting obesity or being overweight is to start a weight loss program.
This includes following a strict diet, exercise and in some cases even surgery.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric scientifically known as Curcuma longa, is one of the most relished spice. It belongs to the family Zingiberaceae, to which many spices belong.
The rhizome of turmeric is used in dried or fresh form in cooking, cosmetics and traditional medicines.
It has numerous bioactive compounds that endow several medicinal benefits to this spice. The most active and versatile of these compounds is the curcuminoids, especially curcumin.
The other compounds that are present in turmeric are volatile oils, Vitamins (B&C), Potassium, Sodium, Iron, Omega-3 fatty acids, α-linolenic acid, proteins, carbohydrate, fibres etc.
These compounds provide turmeric with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-microbial, analgesic, thermogenic properties and many more.
8 Awesome Benefits of Turmeric in Weight loss
The diverse biological activities of turmeric can have very positive implications on the process of weight loss. These activities not only promote weight loss but can also help in combating the complications related to the obesity.
1.Turmeric prevents fat accumulation and hastens fat loss
Accumulation of fat in the adipose tissues or other tissues such as those of stomach and liver is characteristic of excessive weight and obesity.
The white adipose tissue in the body is the major fat accumulation site.
In order to reduce this fat accumulation the angiogenesis in white adipose tissue needs to be targeted.
Turmeric can be useful in this. The turmeric constituent, curcumin can prevent fat accumulation in the adipose tissues.
In a study, it has been shown to modulate the metabolic activities in the white adipose tissues that prevent angiogenesis. This in turn results in decreased fat accumulation.
Curcumin has also been found to decrease the size of adipose tissues, i.e. lower fat accumulation in over-weight patients. The body measurements of these patients showed significant reduction of fat.
Moreover, it has been observed that turmeric along with sulphur can prevent fat deposition and improve the lipid profile of blood and liver in over-weight individuals.
What does it mean?
It means turmeric can prevent the fat accumulation in the adipose tissues and other organs. This can be useful in avoiding further weight gain in over-weight or obese people. Thus, this can be very helpful in managing weight.
2.Turmeric can accelerate diet induced weight loss
Diet is a very important component of weight management. The calories that we consume through our diet require check in order to prevent weight gain.
Reduction of high fat diet intake and consumption of food that help in weight loss is useful.
There are several dietary products such as spices like turmeric which assist in the diet induced weight loss.
The carbohydrate fraction of turmeric is not absorbed in the body which is helpful in fat reduction and prevention of weight gain. Also, the dietary fibres of turmeric help in this.
Other studies have also shown the efficacy of turmeric (curcumin) in accelerating the weight loss induced by dietary changes.
In a study, overweight individuals were put under weight loss treatment through diet and lifestyle interventions. Some of them did not show significant weight loss and were then treated with curcumin.
These individuals after the curcumin treatment showed an enhanced weight loss. There was a significant increase in fat reduction and BMI was also found to decline considerably.
What does it mean?
It means turmeric use can assist and accelerate the weight reduction induced by diet. The dietary fibres and non absorbable carbohydrates of turmeric assist in this.
3.Turmeric promotes browning of white adipose tissue
Brown adipose tissue in humans has a significant function of heat production. This heat production comes at a cost of combustion of glucose and lipids.
This novel action of the brown tissue is gaining popularity as a therapeutic potential against obesity.
It has been observed that white adipose tissue can undergo browning and become an energy liberating tissue instead of a storing one.
There is a role of norepinephrine (a neurotransmitter) in the function of the brown adipose tissue.
The turmeric constituent, curcumin is found to be a promoter of browning of the white adipose tissue. It elevates the levels of norepinephrine which induces the browning process.
This action of curcumin in turn can prevent obesity by promoting burning of accumulated fat in the body.
What does it mean?
It means consumption of turmeric can promote burning of fat by inducing browning of fat storing white adipose tissues. This can be very effective in preventing excessive weight gain.
4.Turmeric has thermogenic action
Thermogenesis is a metabolic process that involves burning of calories in the body for energy expenditure. This process promotes the weight loss.
Increasing thermogenesis in the body through diet is seen as a practical and feasible approach towards the weight management.
Many dietary products such as green tea and spices are known to promote weight loss through thermogenesis.
Ginger, another spice of Zingiberaceae family is known for its thermogenic action. Its components gingerols and shogaols have been identified as potent themogenic substances.
6-gingerol has been found to regulate metabolic rates in animal model.
Turmeric has presence of these components therefore, it has a potential of being a thermogenic substance.
What does it mean?
It means intake of turmeric in diet can promote weight loss by its thermogenic action. An increased metabolic rate in the body burns the calories and stored form of energy and thus promotes weight loss.
5.Turmeric suppresses inflammation associated with obesity
Inflammation is greatly associated with obesity or excessive fat deposition in the body. In cases of obesity, the accumulation of pro-inflammatory substances (IL-6, TNF-α etc.) has been found.
Adipose tissue produce substances called adipokines, some of these such as IL-6 and TNF-α have inflammatory action. In case of obesity or excess fat deposition, the inflammatory action of these adipokines leads to production of oxidative stress.
This inflammatory response further leads to other diseases like, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes etc.
Turmeric being an anti-inflammatory substance can be very effective in targeting the inflammatory action of adipokines.
Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action is known to target the obesity associated inflammation. It down-regulates the activity of adipokines and up-regulates adiponection (regulates glucose and fatty acids levels) and thus decreases the oxidative stress caused by inflammatory adipokines.
What does it mean?
It means use of turmeric can reduce the inflammation and associated oxidative stress and thus be useful in preventing the disorders related to the obesity.
6.Turmeric has anti-diabetic action
The risk of diabetes is one of the most common among over-weight or obese individuals. Therefore, prevention of this disease becomes very important.
Turmeric comes in handy here as well. It is known for its efficacy in the treatment and prevention of diabetes.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of the curcuminoids, especially curcumin have great anti-diabetic effect. These substances lower the blood sugar levels.
Curcumin has also been found to be significantly active against the diabetes associated with obesity.
What does it mean?
It means turmeric consumption can reduce the risk of diabetes among the obese individuals. The anti-diabetic effect of turmeric can be useful in the treatment of diabetes among obesity patients.
7.Turmeric prevents metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is another prevalent risk factor associated with obesity. Fat accumulation around abdomen causes metabolic changes that cause metabolic syndrome, i.e. the risk factors that lead to coronary heart problems.
The reduction in weight can lower the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Turmeric is an efficacious agent against metabolic syndrome as well. It lowers the cholesterol, triglyceride levels and blood sugar levels, and collectively acts against the condition.
Turmeric along with black seeds has been found to be very effective in the metabolic syndrome prevention.
What does it mean?
It means use of turmeric can help in prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome among the obese individuals.
8.Turmeric reduces depression
Depression is another complication associated with obesity and overweight that has detrimental effect on the patients.
Many studies have confirmed the relationship of obesity and depression both ways, i.e. obesity can lead to depression and vice-versa.
The metabolic disturbance caused in the body by obesity is linked to the depressive behaviour in the patients. These disturbances include inflammatory signals, insulin resistance and hormonal disorders.
What does it mean?
It means consumption of turmeric can be helpful in the reducing the depression related to obesity and overweight. The anti-depressant like activity of turmeric can also be useful in preventing the risk of obesity caused by depression.
Dosage of Turmeric for Weight loss
The specification regarding dosage of turmeric for weight loss is not established. Turmeric is a safe product for regular dietary use.
The bioavailability or absorption of turmeric by the body however, is a matter of concern. (Read How to improve turmeric’s bioavailability?)
Turmeric’s bioavailability can be enhanced by the use of Golden Paste (black pepper and healthy oils are added to turmeric paste).
Turmeric consumption should be started little by little for people who do not include turmeric in diet daily. Initially, the intake should be quarter to half a teaspoon per day for a week. The quantity can be raised slowly by a quarter or half a teaspoon every week.
The quantity that is most recommendable is 1 to 2 teaspoons 2 to 3 times a day (specifically 1 teaspoon 3 times a day).
In an empty stomach, turmeric consumption should be avoided. (Read Does Turmeric cause acid reflux?)
Turmeric consumption at the same time of as medicines is not appropriate. Turmeric and medicine intake must be at least 3-4 hours apart. (Read Black pepper in GP: Does it cause drug interaction?)
Turmeric dose cannot be same for everyone. It varies depending upon individual. The dose tolerated by one’s stomach decides the suitable amount to be taken by the person.
Check out our recommendation on best organic turmeric brands, if looking for some good organic turmeric brands.
Turmeric supplements can be a feasible option for turmeric use. However, in order to avoid any adverse effect of the supplements it is important to consult a medical expert.
Dietary use of turmeric is regarded as very safe. Many cuisines use turmeric regularly as a spice and no adverse effects have been recorded due to its culinary use.
While using turmeric supplements, some precautionary measures are necessary to take. (Read Side effects of Turmeric)
Acid reflux may be caused by consumption of turmeric in an empty stomach. Turmeric’s use in on an empty stomach must be avoided, as it can result in acidity. (Read Does turmeric cause acid reflux?)
Curcumin in turmeric interferes in drug metabolism activity. Though dietary turmeric should not pose any risks, if taking large doses of Golden Paste or curcumin supplements then avoid taking it at the same time as taking any medication. Maintain a 3-4 hour gap.
Bleeding disorder patients should not consume turmeric. Although dietary use of turmeric is safe in bleeding disorders but turmeric supplement should not be used. Turmeric supplements have constituents in concentrated amounts which may result in problems as turmeric has a blood thinning activity. (Read Is Turmeric a blood thinning agent?)
Limit turmeric consumption in case of risk of gout and kidney stones. Turmeric in large quantities can raise the risk of developing kidney stones (in sensitive individuals). (Read Is turmeric safe in gout? Does turmeric cause kidney stones?)
Turmeric consumption can be dangerous if you have gallstone. Turmeric is a stimulant of bile flow. If one is suffering from gallstone, this may lead to bile duct obstruction, causing pain and other problems. (Read Is Turmeric Consumption Safe In Gallstones?)
Discontinue taking turmeric supplements if you are scheduled for a surgery. It is suitable to stop using turmeric supplements around 2 weeks prior to a surgery. Being a blood thinner, turmeric can interfere with the process of blood clotting after a surgery.
Avoid using turmeric supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding .
Turmeric’s potential in weight loss is immense. It has a diverse range of action that helps in weight reduction as well as prevention of fat accumulation.
Turmeric prevents fat accumulation by its anti-inflammatory activity and its ability to turn white adipose tissue into brown. It also increases the rate of metabolism in the body.
Turmeric is also helpful in combating and preventing the complications that arise due to obesity.
Moreover, depression caused by obesity or obesity triggered by depression can be avoided by the use of turmeric.
It can be inferred that turmeric is a reasonable and feasible option for weight loss.