How Turmeric Benefits Weight Loss: 4 Surprising Ways (+Links to Recipes!)


Nagina Abdullah


June 4, 2018

Turmeric Benefits Weight Loss _ Root and powder

Turmeric for weight loss works so well that you might start noticing a glowing feeling every time you walk by your spice drawer. This bright yellow-orange spice has undeniable beauty.

Whenever I see the full moon, golden over the skyline, it takes my breath away. It looks like the shimmering light could sweep across the city and make everything new, clean, and elegant. Maybe I see this partly because the golden light of the moon makes me think of turmeric, which is a great healer and beautifier.

Ayurvedic literature has over 100 names for turmeric, including matrimanika, which means “as beautiful as moonlight.” Another is jayanti, which means “one who is victorious over diseases.” (1)

In this post I’m going to talk about the power of turmeric to heal the inflammation in your body and how that increases weight loss. I’ll also talk about the surprising ways turmeric directly blocks and burns fat cells themselves.

I’ll cover the differences between fresh and ground turmeric (taste and which is healthier) and how much you need for weight-loss results. Plus, I’ll give you tons of ideas and links to recipes for trying turmeric today.

Want to learn more about how to use turmeric? Click here to get my “Turmeric Cheat Sheet” which spills the powerful health benefits of this spice.

How Turmeric Benefits Weight Loss by Deflating Inflammation

When your body is inflamed, it’s easier to gain weight and harder to lose weight. Your whole system is stressed out and this leads to an increase in fat storage.

Inflammation and obesity strengthen each other and keep you overweight and miserable. It also makes you retain water, which makes you look and feel puffy.

Turmeric contains strong anti-inflammatory compounds and reduces obesity-related inflammation.  (2)


Excess fat cells send signals to the body, causing inflammation (3) and oxidative stress. But curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, targets these fat cell signals and shuts down the messages triggering inflammation. (4)

This is incredibly important because once the inflammation and fat-retention cycle is broken, you have a chance to break away from the extra weight that doesn’t seem to budge no matter what you do.

When your body isn’t overwhelmed with inflammation, it can focus on healthy weight loss. 

Don’t miss out on this Free Turmeric Spice Cheat Sheet with a scrumptious golden anti-inflammatory and fat-blocking smoothie!

Turmeric Benefits Weight Loss by Helping You Digest

Other ways you can use turmeric for weight loss is by improving your digestion and helping detoxify the liver, which is an essential organ for burning fat. (2)

Ginger is another wonderful digestion helper. Read more about how ginger benefits weight loss, digestion, and more!

The curcuminoids in turmeric also lower blood sugar levels. Your body maintaining steady blood sugar levels has a huge impact on preventing and treating diabetes. (5) This also affects your weight.

Turmeric Benefits Weight Loss by Lifting Your Mood

We all know the feeling of being discouraged by extra weight. It makes you feel sad! Your favorite jeans now cut into your hips, your little black dress is too little for you to slip into anymore. You basically just want to curl up into a ball in your stretchiest sweats.

I fully support self-care and the need to pamper yourself or do nothing sometimes. But it’s also important for your physical and mental health that you get up and move around.

Exercise (even just a quick walk around the block) will help you feel better and help you fit into your wardrobe again, but it’s hard to feel “up for it” emotionally.

Here’s a surprising place where you can use turmeric for weight-loss. Curcumin increases serotonin and dopamine (happiness hormones) in your brain. This means that eating turmeric can actually reduce depression. Just a little mental boost can help you get off the couch and take more steps to feeling and looking better again. (6)

Ginger can boost your mood and mental focus, too. Read more here

How Turmeric Boosts Fat Loss

Turmeric also directly tackles fat by reducing fat mass and accelerating what you’re already doing for healthy food choices and exercise. (2)

A recent study from European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences showed that people with metabolic syndrome were trying to lose weight through eating better and exercising more, but weren’t seeing results. After they were given turmeric, they saw significant weight loss, less fat on their bodies and healthier BMIs. (4)

Shogaols and gingerols, two compounds in turmeric (and ginger), are known for promoting thermogenesis and triggering weight loss.

Thermogenesis through turmeric enhances the rate of your metabolism (the breakdown of food particles and formation of energy). This means your body will burn up the excess fat instead of store it! (4)

Lastly, turmeric prevents more fat accumulation! (5) It does this by turning white fat cells brown, which is the “good fat.”

Brown fat cells are active and they help burn unneeded white fat cells, which just sit there taking up space. (5)

Another fat-torching compound that has this same effect on fat cells is found in chili peppers.

What Kind and How Much?

Fresh Turmeric

Fresh turmeric can be found in the produce section of health food stores, Asian and Indian grocery stores and even some regular grocery stores. It looks somewhat like a piece of fresh ginger, but it has an orange tint.

Fresh turmeric has a slightly stronger flavor than dried. The taste is “earthy, peppery, and slightly bitter” but it’s still fairly mild-tasting when cooked. (7)

Try to add 1 to 3 grams or ½ inch (1.27 cm) long piece of root sliced or chopped to a dish. You can also juice it. (2)

 Get 5 easy ideas for getting turmeric into more of your foods (including ways to sneak it in for picky eaters!) with this FREE Turmeric Cheat Sheet.
Ground Turmeric

Ground turmeric is milder tasting. You can find this in the spice aisle of most grocery stores or on Amazon. I like Simply Organic or Healthworks.

There’s some debate as to whether fresh or ground turmeric is more beneficial, but the general consensus is that they share health and weight-loss boosting qualities in different amounts.

So, getting a mix of both would be ideal. But if you only find one or the other, you can enjoy the many weight-loss turmeric benefits either way.

You need a minimum of 1 teaspoon a day for weight-loss results. You can add up to 3 teaspoons (3 to 6 grams) of turmeric powder to various meals a day. (2) A single teaspoon is usually a good amount per dish.


A 1 inch (2.54 cm) piece of fresh turmeric = 1 tablespoon freshly grated turmeric = 1 teaspoon ground turmeric.

How Much Turmeric Should I Have?

You shouldn’t consume more than three to four teaspoons of turmeric within a day. (4) Too much turmeric (especially on an empty stomach) could aggravate acid reflux or heartburn. It could also interfere with some medications in high doses.

Though normal food amounts of turmeric are perfectly safe while pregnant or nursing, more than three teaspoons a day should be avoided for new moms. Like ginger and some other spices, turmeric can stimulate circulation and should be avoided in large doses for two weeks before surgery. (4)

Turmeric For Weight Loss: Start Small with Turmeric and Build Up

Initially, try a 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. (4) See how you like the flavor and adjust to your liking, too.

Download your Golden Turmeric Spice Cheat Sheet for fresh ideas on your next trip to the grocery store.

Do you prefer fresh or ground turmeric? Is there a favorite recipe or juice combination you have to share? I love hearing about the ways people use turmeric! Let me know in the comments!

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Nagina Sethi Abdullah, BA, MBA

Nagina Abdullah is a health coach for middle-aged women and professionals. She coaches women to boost their metabolism naturally, shed pounds and keep them off. Her work with weight loss clients led to the creation of Masala Body, an online weight loss platform that provides an easy and accessible system that helps women sustainably lose weight. She has helped over 1200 women successfully lose from 10-80 lbs and create a sustainable lifestyle change. Nagina earned her degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley.

Reader Interactions


  1. Nneamaka says

    I add half tea spoon of tumeric and hinder to my green tea and drink every morning.

    • Avatar photoNagina says

      Excellent! Have you noticed a difference yet?

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