Doctor's Note

What landmark study? You may have missed the first half. See my last video, Which Spices Fight Inflammation?.

For some other extraordinary benefits of spices, see:

There are a few herb and spice caveats. See, for example:

Too much turmeric may also not be a good idea for those at risk for kidney stones.

Feel free to check out my Healthy Pumpkin Pie recipe for one of the many ways to spice up your diet.

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  • hunniliz

    Dr Greger – in a previous video about turmeric you stated that black pepper enhances the anti-oxidant powers of turmeric. Did this study address that?

    • No, they were given separately, but I have a video coming up specifically about turmeric bioavailability–stay tuned! If you haven’t already, subscribe (for free) at so you don’t miss it.

      • kastora

        Doctor Greger,
        I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian for 13 years. I want to switch to a vegan livestyle now. Are there any studies that show if starting a vegan diet at higher age ( I am 50 ) has a positive effekt on life expenditure or health?

        • Roland

          I became a vegan at age 51 and I can tell you that it improved my heath tremendously: I lost 20 pounds, have more energy, fewer joint pains, better sleep, better bowel habits, it eliminated my irritable bowel syndrome and for some reason I find myself being more optimistic and cheerful and suffer from depression less. Interesting, I had cut back on animal products to the point of eating fish just once a week, yet I had none of these health benefits until I went totally vegan, supplementing with B-12.

          • kastora

            Dianne and Roland thanks for your encouraging posts.

        • Dianne Moore

          I am 63 and became vegan by 60. Right now I am nursing a broken ankle from a fall on ice. In two weeks, X-ray shows it is healing nicely. I doubt that would have been the case in my former self with an additional 150 lbs on my frame….gone today from my life: diabetes, inflammation — no evidence of arthritis…essentially very little pain to the site of the break. Best yet, I have energy, look younger, do more and can concentrate better than I did in my 40s. Most important though: forget eating processed vegan foods for the majority of your diet. I am still learning to eat my plant-based diet in as unprocessed a manner as possible. I make my own nut-seed milks, vegan burgers, soups, wraps, etc.

          • Charzie

            Diane, I know this is old, but I was just watching the video and saw this post…and my story is so similar! Same age, same weight loss, same resolution of diabetes, and other benefits, in my case including IBS, chronic fatigue, depression, fibromyalgia and severe arthritis and back issues that I was taking narcotics for finally, because I could barely move. If I had to walk I had to use a motorized cart, and now I am out riding a recumbent 5 miles at a clip, digging a garden and LIVING!!! It is just amazing that changing our diets changes everything! Just more proof that we are not omnivores as so many want us to believe! So yeah, to whoever was curious, it is NEVER too late to change, I just wish I had known all this many years ago!

        • I am 46 and I adopted a plant based diet 2 years ago. I lost 25-30lbs (I fluctuate 5 lbs). My energy and stamina is of that when I was in my twenties. I haven’t been sick in two years, not even a cold, and I would always have some type of congestive problem before that. I am highly active and I box, kick box, cycle, spin, run , and powerwalk. This is the best thing I have done for my body and my mind.

        • Toxins

          Starting a plant based diet ot any age can be beneficial and help reverse any possible developing chronic diseases such as heart disease. You are definitely not a lost cause!

        • Coacervate

          Isn’t it tragic and scary at the same time. We are all so used to losing friends and family early in life we think of 50 as over the hill. Call me paranoid, but it seems the “State” wants us this way. Not because of some evil force, rather we have an economy that powerfully supports worst practice slicing right through our lives, from academia to agribusiness to big pharma.

          Kastora if you make the change you are looking at adding decades to your life, “fully functional” as Dr. MacDougal put it. Dr. Greger is in good company, going all the way back to Kempner, Pritikin and Ornish…Please search out the other vids on the net, Esselstyn, MacDougall, Campbell…there is no question…the scientific studies are in. I hope you make the jump…we need you! You’ll save others by setting the example!

        • DH

          I believe it is never too late to go vegan. Ginny Messina RD has a new book coming out about starting a vegan lifestyle after the age of 50.
          Many of the atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels are reversible with a plant-based diet, as Dean Ornish M.D. has documented in the Lifestyle Heart Trial. The clinical population was late middle age and up.
          I would recommend Jack Norris’s book called “Vegan for Life” on how to effect your transformation.

          • Guthrum

            Sir Francis Chichester was diagnosed in middle age with cancer – incurable. His wife put him on a completely vegan diet, and the cancer went into remission. He then became the first Brit to sail solo around the planet – and the Queen knighted him when he returned. Proof positive – it’s never too late to fix your diet and be knighted.

        • BYOL

          I helped my mother go to an oil-free plant based diet a year and a half ago. She lost 30 lbs without going to the gym (after struggling with her weight most of my life), and is now off both her blood pressure and cholesterol medicine. Similar to Roland, for the first time in her life she has regular bowel movements, and more energy. Good luck with your transition!

      • Psych MD

        I’m eagerly awaiting the bioavailability video. In the study cited here they used “lipidated curcumin extract.” In PubMed there are almost as many studies investigating ways of increasing its absorption as there are ones extolling its manifold virtues. It is worth noting that Life Extension has a product which combines highly absorbable curcumin and ginger.

  • LarryM

    I’ve made it mostly vegan and hope to get to 100 percent soon. Current issue is that whenever I take DHA supplements – or even eat small amounts of fish – I get nose bleeds and if I get a cut somewhere or scratch it seems to bleed more and not dry up as fast. And all this occurs after taking very small amounts of the oils, or fish.

    Dr. Joel Fuhrman has said ” fish oils inhibit blood clotting, they present another problem – they increase the likelihood of bleeding from the delicate vessels in the brain, causing a hemorrhagic stroke. Regular consumption of fish or fish oils should be avoided if a person has a family history or is at risk of hemorrhagic stroke or other bleeding disorders.”

    I am a male, middle-age, and seem healthy but this is really concerning. Does it make sense that vegan DHA would produce this same effect as the fish oils do for me?

    I have also noticed that I get extremely depressed and lethargic after taking fish oils, and after taking the vegan DHA. Some medical websites state that these oils are contraindicated in bi-polar folks. I do not feel I am bi-polar but that term can be used broadly these days so that might be up to debate. It is my hope that someone can educate me on what I have described here by using some real science….thank you!

    • Dave

      Are DHA supplements your only source of fat?

      It’s important to balance SAFA, MUFA and PUFA.

      • LarryM

        Yeah, seems balanced. Only happens when I have DHA sources. Leafy greens do not cause me problems. Maybe I am not converting any omega 3’s to DHA, and when I get straight DHA my body is sensitive. Who knows.

        • Coacervate

          Exactly Larry, this is about you and your experience. At the end of the day it comes down to working out your own diet and if you’re looking for opinions, mine is to back off the DHA completely and if you really feel the need, add it back a little at a time. If the bleeding returns…well you are your own guinea pig. You decide…I’d trade chard for fish oil any day.

          I wonder if we could find or develop a simple clotting test to better gauge our risk.

          • LarryM

            I like the advice.

            Regarding a simple clotting test to better gauge our risk – well, I do not know but I think it is smart to find out as both Dean Ornish and Dr. Fuhrman have suggested exercising caution with DHA, both having highlighted people who should be very careful, – Ornish going as far as saying there is a group of people who should avoid these oils. I think it would be the right thing to do for Doctor Greger to dive into this and inform the public here that omega 3 supplements can be harmful for a select group of people – according to Ornish, very harmful for their hearts. Many vegans could be watching these videos here thinking it is safe to just start popping vegan DHA pills.

    • Ronald Chavin

      According to scientific studies, people who eat plenty of fish don’t have a higher risk of suffering a hemorrhagic stroke:

      However, if a medical doctor has prescribed a blood thinning drug for you to swallow, then he will be extremely nervous about letting you swallow fish oil, krill oil, or algal DHA softgels. The smart thing for you to do would be to completely discontinue the blood thinning drugs and swallow huge amounts of marine omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DPA, and DHA) instead.

      • LarryM

        I am not taking, nor have I ever taken, blood thinning drugs, nor am I taking any other drugs. DHA supplements – vegan and fish-based, seem to be thinning my blood, regardless of the amount taken. Both Dean Ornish and Dr. Fuhrman have alerted the public to contraindications and complications of taking these supplements – in some situations. And yes, they do tout the benefits as well for some people.

    • Ronald Chavin

      Swallowing marine omega-3 fatty acids might be helpful to people who suffer from bipolar disorder:

    • DH

      I do not have that problem. I can take 250 mg of DHA and not bleed readily. You may have an asymptomatic platelet function defect or just be very sensitive to exogenous DHA supplements. You can drive some endogenous DHA production simply by eating lots of ALA-rich foods and limiting your consumption of omega-6’s. I assume you are not on aspirin or any other platelet-inhibitor medications.

    • JoAnn Downey

      We get all the Omega 3s we need in ground flaxseed and chia seeds, greens and vegetables.

  • pbuscemi

    from Google re turmeric.. “When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled for about 30–45 minutes and then dried in hot ovens,[4] after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in Indian cuisine and even…” Is this boiling and heating sufficient to qualify as “cooked” and therefore derive the benefit ?

  • Dianne Moore

    I see a new evening hot toddy in my future: warmed vanilla soy milk w 1/2-3/4 t turmeric prior to heating, add maple syrup to taste or agave or stevia or date syrup, froth it up and dash of cinnamon and nutmeg on top.

    Oh, and now I am trying the pumpkin smoothie for brk. Double yum!

    • Coacervate

      Thanks…Stevia scares me. If your sweet tooth can take a little less sweetness, we switched to dextrose and cut the total sugar load in half in all recipies. Result: Zero added fructose. Works for us, but dextrose is not as sweet.

      • NotRappaport

        >>Stevia scares me.<<


  • Ronald Chavin

    Ginger is not as beneficial as turmeric in many ways but ginger is useful in reducing the severity of flatulence after eating flatulence-causing foods such as American-grown legumes and dried fruits. The ginger needs to be eaten together with these flatulence-causing foods in order to reduce the severity of flatulence. The ginger needs to be present in the large intestines together with these flatulence-causing foods because that’s where the fermentation occurs, in the large intestines and not the small intestines. The more ginger we eat, the less the flatulence. [Legumes grown in Japan and China have about half of the flatulence-causing oligosaccharides (raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose) and about half of the flatulence-causing resistant starches bred out of them].

    Rosemary tastes more horrible than any other spice – even worse than oregano, which I can just barely eat. Therefore, rosemary is not a practical choice for bettering our health.

    As for turmeric, will the real Dr. Greger please stand up. Dr. Greger has been scaring everybody into completely avoiding turmeric for many years:

    As for turmeric bioavailability, piperine (from black pepper) is a risky choice because of the threat from bacterial endotoxins that will cause artery-clogging inflammation, according to the “leaky gut theory” that Dr. Greger once discussed in a previous video:

    • Psych MD

      One glass of red wine a day is helpful. One bottle a day is harmful. The same logic would apply to turmeric.

      • DH

        I do not consider red wine to be a health food. It can be a gateway drug towards alcoholism in certain vulnerable segments of our population. I’m not sure it’s worth my time or my money to add a glass of red wine per day to my vegan diet. Are there any randomized trial data with hard endpoints (death, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia)? I know the answer and it is ‘no’. The observational data is heavily confounded by comorbid user bias and health problems in teatotallers.

        • Psych MD

          I was simply making an analogy in response to the comment about “the real Dr. Greger” and his seeming reversal on turmeric. Just because an overdose of something is harmful doesn’t mean appropriate doses should be avoided. I see nothing contradictory in his statements.

          • DH

            I agree with your logic. I just wasn’t sure the analogy that you used – red wine – was appropriate. “One glass of red wine a day is helpful.” Many physicians seem to believe this, but the evidence is definitely not incontrovertible, and it is based on conflicting data from observational studies with major (self)-selection biases. In addition, studies of women suggest that the risk of breast cancer begins to increase at <1 glass of wine per day, as Dr. Greger has pointed out.
            I don't think I'd ever counsel one of my patients to start a glass of wine per day. Addiction potential is hard to predict, even going by past history. And having booze on hand during major life crises (bereavement, divorce, illness), and being in the habit of drinking it, is dangerous. Otherwise, I agree with the intent of your message; I might have picked a different substance though (e.g. aspirin).

    • Darryl

      Not sure where you’re getting the idea that piperine increases LPS transport. It appears piperine’s main effect on phytochemical bioavailability is as a inhibitor of cytochrome P450s and other drug metabolizing enzymes, which shouldn”t effect intestinal permeability to lipopolysaccharides. Piperine does increase bioavailability of aflatoxin (while inhibiting its genotoxicity), but that’s mostly a concern for those eating peanut butter in developing nations.

      Some perspective on dietary oxalate.

      As for the taste of rosemary, that’s a personal issue, rosemary compounds like carnosic acid are remarkable as antioxidant response inducers, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and neuroprotective agents, inhibitors of pancreatic lipase – one could do a month of videos on rosemary (and chemically similar sage).

  • ljrussell

    With regards to smoothies containing milk or soy, I thought I had seen a previous video about milk and soy milk cancelling out the healthy effects of anti-oxidants in tea…and assumed that soy milk foods would do the same in foods containing fruits and berries.

  • randall

    Just an idea, enjoy the turmeric in your favorite green or black tea every morning—served hot for one benefit and at lunch reap the other benefit, whilst prepared in a cold drink.

    • Randall, thanks for your post! We put raw turmeric in our coffee with other spices (pepper, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon) every day. Do you think the heat of the tea or coffee (?C. 170-180*) would be considered cooking the spice? Ovens are usually 300-350*.

  • Ryan

    Dr. Greger, words cant express enough how much you’ve changed my life and the immense amount of respect I have for you! I just wanted to ask if you have ever thought of making a vegan recipe book? If you ever did I would buy one for myself and one for all my friends and family!

  • Kumar

    Dr. Greger, I am from the Isle of Man and run Indian cookery workshops, focusing and promoting healthy Indian cuisine. Please could show how the nature of spices change when it’s cooked and how is the best way to cook the spices? I show my clients what my mom and grandma showed me how they cook back home in India. Many thanks and keep up the great work you are providing.

  • BYOL

    This is really fascinating. I just downloaded the study and look forward to reading it.

  • Katie Shea Getman

    I have arthritis in my knee. and have been using Turmeric for several has been very helpful

  • Shiang Ying

    What about turmeric tea in the form of tea bag? – as sold in Japan.

  • Prabhdeep

    I found it interesting that Turmeric increases catalase. I’ve also read that Ashwagandha raises catalase, along with SOD and glutathione, and that it has other health benefits. I also take ashwagandha for anxiety and as a general tonic as is common in India. I don’t believe you’ve ever did a video or article on Ashwagandha, Dr. Greger. I hope you’ll consider doing so sometime soon. Thanks

  • Debbie

    I crashed with severe burn-out and terrible chronic sinus issues that disrupted my sleep something awful, at the age of 53. I tried all sorts of things for 3 yrs. and my medical doctor didn’t know what to do with me. I wasn’t making much progress at all even though I quite my job and slept for 16 hrs. a night. Finally, I discovered those wonderful authors/ REAL doctors mentioned in these comments, who teach about a plant based diet. I immediately started noticing a big change. Within 4 days, my sinuses were cleared up and I was sleeping through the night. I no long have any burn-out or sinus issues and my allergies are nearly non existant. I am off all of my medications I was on and was told I had to stay on for the rest of my life. I lost the excess weight and have my figure back at 58 yrs. of age. I feel better than I have in many years! My husband also was able to go off his blood pressure medicine and he lost a lot of weight too. We will never go back. Yes, family (all hunters) raised a big stink about it, but no one can deny that it has done wonders for us being on a plant based diet and no junk ‘foods’. Go for it. It has given our lives back and people marvel at how young we look too.

  • In this video the study says turmeric is more effective for DNA protection when it’s heat treated, so how much heat (or time being heated) is needed? Can I heat soy milk with turmeric and a healthy sweetener in the microwave until it’s a drinkable warm temperature (about 1.5 minutes on high) and drink that? Will I get the antioxidant effect that way? We’re not huge curry fans and don’t eat many pumpkin pies

    • Arjan den Hollander.

      I found a solution to this.
      When stir frying mushrooms when they lost most water I shuffle them to one side, throw in some olive oil and a tea spoon of curcuma on top of it.
      Mix it throughout the olive oil and then stir the mushrooms in with the oil. The mushrooms then soak up the curcuma laden oil.
      Only then I’ll add the leek and red onion or whatever else and steam till ready with a lid on top.

      Sure it tastes like curcuma but only a third as strong or even less as it otherwise would have been. Try it, it might be enough of a difference to make it a perfectly nice spice to eat for you.


  • martindhjj

    Thank you for the information. It confirms much of what I was taught 30 years ago by my Indian Yoga and spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan.

  • mike t

    I would not use a microwave oven for any food heating purposes. It destroys food value. They don’t call it “nuking” for nothing.

  • Explorer

    Thanks for the video. I eat an unconventional breakfast of steel cut oats cooked with tumeric. I add hummus (homemade with a variety of beans), pepper and salsa.
    I have been eating this for years. I prefer this over sweet cereal.

    • Charzie

      Savory oats are awesome, I never have them sweet anymore, unless it is from a cooked sweet potato I sometimes mix in. My favorite is to make the oats the night before, and when cool, stir in a TBS of shiro miso, and cover. You can add chopped nuts, sesame seeds, cooked beans or lentils, whatever, too. Let it sit on the counter overnight, and the miso changes the mix to a probiotic filled creamy dish, easy to digest and delicious!

  • D. Addleson

    Since turmeric root is heated in order to create the dry spice powder turmeric, do we need to buy the fresh turmeric root in order to have it in the “uncooked” form for optimal pro-enzymatic, anti-inflammatory benefits? Does adding powdered turmeric to a smoothie or other uncooked food count as having turmeric in the raw form?

  • How about tea (mashed fresh turmeric and hot water)? Would that provide the same benefits?