The Golden Spice: Turmeric

product_turmericWhat if I told you that adding a pinch of a certain spice into your dishes could help treat or prevent debilitating diseases like arthritis or Alzheimers, or even life-threatening cancers? Turmeric, a chalky, mustard-yellow spice common in traditional Indian dishes, has the potential to fight against bacteria, inflammatory disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and other malignant diseases.

A Super-Spice

For many years, turmeric has been used in Indian culture to treat aches and other ailments, particularly arthritis. Perhaps most impressive is its anti-inflammatory property, which helps joint aches and pains associated with arthritis. Additionally, this anti-inflammatory property promotes a healthy gut, which regulates your body’s digestive system and keeps bad bacteria out.

Turmeric owes its magical properties to curcumin, a major component of the spice. Studies have suggested throughout the years that curcumin regulates inflammation that “plays a major role in most chronic illnesses, including neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases.” Lab tests have also suggested that curcumin slows the growth of tumors. There is still a decent amount of research to be made, but the results so far on studies of turmeric are promising, to say the least. Some of the lowest rates of prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers are in India, and researchers are linking these lower rates to the fact that turmeric is a staple of their daily diet.

Cooking with Turmeric

Don’t be intiturmeric1midated by turmeric’s less-than-appetizing appearance (after all, it is the stuff that makes mustard yellow). It may look chalky and even bland, but turmeric packs a punch. It has a spicy, gingery flavor, which complements many foods. If you’ve ever had Indian food, particularly curry, you’ve almost definitely had turmeric before. It’s that aromatic spice in the background which doesn’t set your mouth on fire, but it’s enough spice to know it’s there.

Turmeric can be a big part of a healthy diet. It’s most recognized in rice dishes, and can be easily mocked in your own kitchen by adding a spoonful while you are cooking rice (side note: turmeric is most effective in combination with black pepper, so try to use the both of them together). For more healthy benefits, swap the rice for quinoa, an especially healthy grain, deemed a superfood as well. Turmeric also works well in eggs, particularly frittatas, and make a healthy start to your day. You can add some spice to a stir fry with turmeric, or add it into a chicken soup. There are many possibilities with this distinct yet versatile spice, and the more you can incorporate it into your diet, the better.

Check back later this week for a post on a recipe I made with turmeric. Looking forward to sharing it with you all!

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