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Does Turmeric Break a Fast?

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Kasparas Aleknavičius, MD December 28, 2022

Intermittent fasting can be as difficult as it is beneficial. Some people prefer to follow a fully clean fast and only consume water for a certain period. Although it’s normal to feel hungry, others may consider it too extreme to exclude everything completely.

Hence, you can choose to follow the 50-calorie rule when intermittent fasting. This means that if you stay under 50 calories, then you’ll remain in the fasted state. It’s also important that the foods, additives, or drinks you’re consuming don’t spike your insulin levels.

Most people refer to this type of fasting as dirty fasting.

Various spices, such as turmeric, add flavor to your drinks and beverages and make you feel more satisfied. But does turmeric break a fast? Let’s dive in.

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Does Turmeric Break a Fast?

No, turmeric doesn’t break a fast. However, this only applies if you’re not fasting for religious or therapeutic purposes or going on a zero-calorie fast. A few calories won’t break your fasted state or interfere with ketosis, therefore, turmeric can be taken during your fasting window.

1 teaspoon of turmeric powder contains:

  • 9 calories
  • 0.29 g of protein
  • 0.096 g of sugar
  • 5.04 mg of calcium
  • 1.65 mg of iron
  • 6.24 mg of magnesium
  • 8.97 mg of phosphorus
  • 62.4 mg of potassium

Ideally, you want to use one or half a tablespoon of turmeric during your fasting window.

To monitor how many calories you’re consuming and make sure that you’re not breaking your fast by consuming too much turmeric powder, you can use the DoFasting app, which includes a calorie tracker. Simply search for the meal or the ingredient, and the app will add it to your daily calorie tracker.

Tumeric also shouldn’t cause an insulin response. Actually, curcumin that’s found in the spice, can reduce blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Apart from this, the spice includes a lot of health-related benefits and, again, won’t break your fast.

What Is Turmeric – And How Do You Use It During Fasting?

Turmeric is a popular spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. The spice has a bitter taste and a bright yellow color. It’s a plant in the ginger family. The turmeric plant generates a rhizome, or underground stem, which is dried and ground into a powder to be used as a spice.

The main purpose of turmeric, historically, was to treat skin conditions, joints, the upper respiratory tract, and the digestive system. Nowadays, it continues to be used as a natural remedy for various health conditions and can be used as a dietary supplement.

As for cooking, turmeric is a major ingredient in curry powder.

Turmeric and its products are mostly considered to be safe when used in the recommended amounts. Raw turmeric might be unsafe during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Moreover, a lot of biological activities are taking place in the structure of turmeric and curcumin that aren’t studied yet.

To make accurate conclusions on whether turmeric is 100% safe, more scientific research is needed and you should monitor your intake to be sure that turmeric isn’t breaking your fast, and to avoid negative side effects.

People tend to choose this spice after finding out “does turmeric break a fast”, for their meals because of the taste it adds, and the health benefits it possesses. Tumeric has anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidant effects.

You can consume turmeric during your fasting window by adding half a teaspoon to your cup of black coffee or tea without milk, cream, sugar, or other additives.

On your eating window, you can add turmeric to your rice dishes, soups, and smoothies, use it with roasted vegetables, and so on. It can be a great addition to your healthy meals during your weight loss journey and while practicing intermittent fasting.

How Does Turmeric Affect Your Weight Loss Efforts?

Now that we know the answer to “does turmeric break a fast”, let’s dive into its effects on weight loss.

It has been suggested that curcumin, an ingredient in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory properties which help avoid obesity and monitor your weight. Also, there are several animal studies conducted on curcumin that reveal it may have an effect on reducing fat tissue growth, curbing weigh regain, promoting weight loss, and insulin sensitivity.

A few human studies show that regular consumption of turmeric can result in weight loss, waist, and hip circumference reduction, and body mass index (BMI) reduction. The research also points out that adiponectin levels can increase, which helps to maintain a healthy metabolism.

Even though these findings are promising, further human research is needed to draw more accurate conclusions. But aside from weight loss, people might put a teaspoon of turmeric into their hot drink for other reasons.

Other Important Benefits of Turmeric

Spices are well-known for adding flavor to meals while also providing health benefits. But what exactly does Turmeric do to your health?

Has strong anti-inflammatory properties

Inflammation is a necessary aspect of resisting external invaders and repairing body damage. However, chronic inflammation might cause your body’s own tissues to be attacked. This can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and metabolic syndrome.

Studies have shown that high doses of curcumin, that’s a bioactive substance, can have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Intermittent fasting is also known to reduce inflammation. Knowing that turmeric doesn’t break a fast, it can be beneficial to consume it during your intermittent fasting routine to enhance the results.

Has antioxidant effects

Antioxidants are substances that work to protect cells from the harm caused by free radicals. Some research indicates that turmeric and curcumin have antioxidant properties.

As a result of the chemical structure of curcumin, it can neutralize the actions of free radicals. Animal research suggests that curcumin blocks the harmful effects of free radicals and activates other antioxidants.

Moreover, turmeric and curcumin have anti-inflammatory properties, which might also contribute to their antioxidant effects.

Long-term intermittent fasting can increase the production of a number of antioxidant molecules. Therefore, turmeric can work hand in hand with intermittent fasting by increasing its antioxidant capacity.

More study is needed to ascertain the magnitude of these effects on people and to understand the processes through which turmeric may produce these benefits.

May reduce the risk of heart disease

Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death globally. One of the main risk factors of heart disease is high levels of inflammation in the body. As mentioned above, turmeric and curcumin have anti-inflammatory properties.

Additionally, one study found that taking curcumin on a regular basis enhances resistance artery endothelial function by boosting vascular nitric oxide bioavailability and decreasing oxidative stress, as well as enhancing conduit artery endothelial function.

The endothelium is the lining of your blood vessels.

Another study shows that curcumin might be a potential therapeutic candidate for cardiovascular disease treatment. The reduced risk of heart disease can also prolong your life.

Has benefits against depression

Depression is a common mental condition that causes feelings of despair, unhappiness, and a loss of interest or enjoyment in activities.

A controlled trial of 60 people with depression tested the effectiveness of Prozac and curcumin in relieving the symptoms of depression. After 6 weeks, the group of people who took curcumin had similar improvements to those that took Prozac.

This shows that curcumin can be an effective way to alleviate symptoms of depression, the same way as antidepressants are. Intermittent fasting shows similar results on anxiety and depression. Hence, curcumin can enhance these benefits.

Keep in mind that research on the use of curcumin for depression is still in its early phases, and further study is required. Likewise, curcumin should not be taken in place of medicine or therapy.

Are There Any Downsides to Turmeric?

Even though turmeric doesn’t break your fast and is considered safe when used in small or moderate amounts, it can have some negative side effects. Hence, you should take less than 8 grams of curcumin a day.

The most common side effects of exceeding the recommended amount of turmeric include:

  • Upset stomach — nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
  • Allergic reactions — some people may be allergic to turmeric and experience allergic reactions such as itching, rash, or swelling.

Also, taking larger amounts of turmeric or turmeric supplements is not recommended for certain diseases, including:

  • Bleeding disorders — the spice can have an effect on blood clotting.
  • Iron deficiency — turmeric might play a role in iron absorption.
  • Diabetes — turmeric might cause your blood sugar levels to fall too low.
  • Kidney stones — turmeric has a lot of oxalates, which are chemicals that can bind to calcium and cause kidney stones.

If you’re considering taking turmeric or curcumin supplements, consult your physician to determine if it’s actually safe for you.

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5 Healthy Spices You Can Include in Your Diet

We already know does turmeric break a fast, but there are other spices that you can add to your diet or meal as well and gain various health benefits.

1. Black and cayenne pepper

The nutrition facts of 1 teaspoon of black pepper:

  • Calories: 6
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sugar: 0 gram
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 0 milligrams

1 teaspoon of black pepper offers 13% of your daily recommended intake of manganese and 3% of vitamin K.

Moreover, as with turmeric, black pepper doesn’t break your fast if you’re not fasting for religious reasons or for letting your gut rest.

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper contains:

  • Calories: 5.7
  • Protein: 0.2 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 0.5 gram
  • Sugar: 0.2 gram
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 0 milligrams

Cayenne pepper is a good source of vitamins A, C, and D as well as iron and calcium.

The benefits of black pepper that go with intermittent fasting:

  • The bioactive compound piperine has antioxidant effects.
  • Helps with digestion and weight loss by stimulating hydrochloric acid.
  • Reduces gas buildup in your intestines.
  • Boosts white blood cells, supporting your immune system.

The benefits of cayenne pepper that go with intermittent fasting:

  • A source of antioxidants.
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties and protects against heart disease.
  • Helps with digestion by increasing gastric juices and enzyme production.
  • Boosts metabolism which can help with weight loss.

2. Ginger

The nutrition facts of 1 teaspoon:

  • Calories: 6.66
  • Protein: 0.036 grams
  • Fat: 0.015 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0.356 gram
  • Fiber: 0.04 gram
  • Sugar: 0.034 gram
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 0.26 milligrams

Ginger doesn’t break your fast if you’re staying under 50 calories. The spice contains very few vitamins and minerals, and you won’t get many nutrients from it.

The benefits of ginger that go with intermittent fasting:

  • Helps manage blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • Can help relieve nausea.
  • Regular consumption might decrease menstrual bleeding.
  • Can help reduce muscle soreness after exercise.

You can use ginger to create meals such as curry dishes, soup, cooked vegetables, apple cake, or grilled chicken during your eating window. Or, you can put a bit of ginger into your tea during your fasting window.

3. Cinnamon

The nutrition facts of 1 teaspoon of cinnamon:

  • Calories: 6
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sugar: 0 gram
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 0 milligrams

Cinnamon contains magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Moreover, it won’t break a fast if you’re not fasting for religious reasons or to let your gut rest.

The benefits of cinnamon that go with intermittent fasting:

  • Has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Can improve insulin resistance and lower glucose levels.
  • Inhibits angiogenesis, cell proliferation, and cellular signaling, which is important for preventing cancer.
  • The compound cinnamaldehyde has an antibiotic effect.

You can use cinnamon on your eating window with your oatmeal or homemade pies. You can also add this spice to your hot beverages during your fasting window.

4. Mint

2 teaspoons of mint contain:

  • Calories: 2.24
  • Protein: 0.12 grams
  • Fat: 0.03 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0.477 grams
  • Fiber: 0.256 gram
  • Sugar: 0 gram
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 0.992 milligrams

You can drink mint tea by simply putting a few mint leaves into your hot water on your fast day. Or, you can add mint leaves to your meals such as soup, salad, and chicken dishes during your eating window.

The benefits of mint that go with intermittent fasting:

  • Might be good for brain health.
  • Helps treat irritable bowel syndrome and improves digestive health.
  • Contains small amounts of iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C.

5. Fennel

The nutrition facts of 1 cup of sliced fennel:

  • Calories: 27
  • Protein: 1.08 grams
  • Fat: 0.174 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 6.35 grams
  • Fiber: 2.7 grams
  • Sugar: 3.42 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 45.2 milligrams

You should use fennel on your eating window with your meals.

The benefits of fennel that go with intermittent fasting:

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Does Turmeric Break a Fast: Key Takeaways

Does turmeric break a fast? If you’re following the 50-calorie rule, then no, turmeric won’t break a fast.

Moreover, most people choose to consume turmeric because it has strong anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant effects that reduce the risk of heart disease, alleviate depression symptoms, and can help with weight loss.

You should take it with caution though, since, it can have certain negative effects.

Author

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Kasparas Aleknavičius, MD
  • Head of Medical Affairs at Kilo Health
  • Medical Doctor at Vilnius University, Lithuania
  • Partnering with the EU-funded Young50 and EUPAP projects

Kasparas Aleknavicius is a medical doctor that graduated from Vilnius University, working as head of medical affairs at Kilo Health. After nearly 5 years in the industry, Kasparas focuses on digital health and is looking for innovative ways to help people lead healthy lifestyles through digital health and wellness platforms.

You can find Kasparas on LinkedIn and follow his latest research on Medium.

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