Health Benefits of Turmeric and a Pumpkin Turmeric Latte

By Jill Rohlfs

Updated January 14, 2024
This post may contain affiliate links.
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What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow hue. (It will also stain everything you know and love yellow. You’ve been warned.) Traditionally, it has been used in India for many generations as a spice and medicinal herb.


Turmeric contains powerful compounds called curcuminoids. The most potent and important curcuminoid is curcumin. Curcumin is the most active, medicinally powerful compound in turmeric. Long story short, it’s a very strong antioxidant, and it has impressive anti-inflammatory properties.

That being said, you don’t get a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to curcumin and turmeric. The curcumin content only accounts for about 3.14% of pure turmeric powder. Therefore, if you want to experience the full array of benefits, you should consider a supplement that contains significant amounts of curcumin.

Yes, that means besides the taste, you likely won’t get many benefits from this latte.

Absorption of Curcumin

You’ll notice that my recipe has coconut oil and black pepper in it. You might find that odd, but it isn’t an accident! Alone, curcumin is poorly absorbed, and it needs a little help.

Just like curcumin is found in turmeric, piperine is found in black pepper. Piperine has a lot of proven health benefits, but the most significant here is its ability to improve the absorption of certain compounds – especially curcumin. Piperine has been shown to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%.

Curcumin is a fat-soluble polyphenolic pigment, which is best absorbed when consumed with fat. I usually use coconut oil or coconut milk if I have that lying around!

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Curcumin for Athletes

As a runner, I try to incorporate as many anti-inflammatory foods into my diet as possible. Keeping that in mind, I don’t stress myself out by trying to eat only anti-inflammatory foods. (Even though I accidentally get many of them through my diet.) I try to stick to the anti-inflammatory foods with a lot of research to back them up.

A recent study showed that 3 mg of curcumin administered orally (in mice) reduced oxidative stress after downhill running-induced muscle damage.

Another study administered 90 mg of curcumin or a placebo 2 hours immediately before and after exercise. Participants walked or ran for 60 minutes at 65% of their Vo2max. When compared to the placebo, the curcumin supplement reduced exercise-induced oxidative stress by increasing blood antioxidant capacity.

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    How to Use Turmeric

    You can incorporate turmeric into your diet in a ton of different ways:

    • Grate fresh turmeric into curries and soups.
    • Roasted veggiesI love curry-spiced carrots.
    • Stir some into your favorite hummus.
    • Turmeric latte – See below.
    • Turmeric supplement – But be sure to choose a bioavailable supplement with lots of curcumin!

    You can keep turmeric fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week. Alternatively, you can keep dried turmeric in your pantry. Personally, while I try to have fresh turmeric handy, I often go to dried turmeric or a supplement for convenience. If I’m in a rush, I don’t want to deal with dying my skin and kitchen yellow right before I run out the door!

    Pro Tip: Pour your turmeric into a container, add some black pepper and mix it around! That way, you never forget to add it, and you can absorb as much curcumin as possible. Just remember to incorporate a little fat too.

    Pumpkin Turmeric Latte

    Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Serves: 1


    • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plant milk
    • 3 tbsp pumpkin purée
    • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice creamer, optional*
    • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 whole cinnamon stick**
    • 1 tsp coconut oil
    • A pinch of ground black pepper
    • 1-3 tsp maple syrup***
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional


    1. First, to a small saucepan, add the plant milk, pumpkin purée, pumpkin spice creamer, ground turmeric, ground ginger, cinnamon stick, coconut oil, black pepper, maple syrup, and vanilla.
    2. Next, whisk to combine while warming over medium heat. Do not boil. Heat just until you reach your desired drinking temperature. Be sure to whisk frequently to ensure nothing burns or sticks to the saucepan.
    3. Finally, turn off the heat and taste. Adjust to your flavor and sweetness preferences.
    4. Serve immediately with your favorite fall-themed baked good.


    * You can skip this ingredient if you don’t have pumpkin spice creamer. This simply intensifies the pumpkin spice flavor and makes it a little creamier.

    ** You can substitute 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon or pumpkin spice. I just really enjoy stirring the cinnamon stick in my latte!

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    Jill Rohlfs is a former nutrition and dietetics student at Rowan University in New Jersey and an intern here at Backcountry Foodie.


    • Thank you for this informative article on the health benefits of turmeric! It’s fascinating to learn about the numerous potential advantages this spice offers. I was particularly intrigued by its anti-inflammatory properties and how it can potentially aid in managing chronic conditions.

      I would love to hear your thoughts on the best ways to incorporate turmeric into our daily diet. Do you have any favorite recipes or tips for maximizing its benefits?

      Looking forward to your insights!”

      • The main issue with curcumin from turmeric is that it doesn’t absorb that well. But consuming it with black pepper (piperine) and with a meal (preferably something including fat like olive oil or avocado) will help your body to absorb it better. I like to include it in smoothies, curry dishes, and lentil soups, but you can really add it to anything. A savory oatmeal, turmeric hummus, or chutney might be worth trying!


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