Should You Eat Turmeric or Take a Supplement?

Find out which option is better for your health.

Q: Turmeric: Eat the spice or take a supplement?

Oz Says: I'm all for eating a lot of this versatile spice, which gives curries their vibrant flavor and mustard its Day-Glo yellow. But for turmeric to help your health, you may want a supplement, too.

The main health-giving part of this plant is the chemical curcumin, and more than 7,000 studies have examined its effects in helping prevent cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. Its anti-inflammatory properties are what make it such a Swiss Army knife of nutrients. "Since chronic inflammation all over the body is the root cause of many illnesses, taking curcumin supplements is an easy and potentially effective way to prevent diseases," says Ajay Goel, PhD, who researches curcumin and cancer at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

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A teaspoon of turmeric contains only about 100 mg of the active ingredient, and you'd need anywhere from two to 10 times that to get the biggest benefits. That's a lot of turmeric. For supplements, Goel recommends taking ones that contain 250 or 500 mg once or twice a day.

This story originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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