Turmeric is a spice that is used in most Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. In addition to its gorgeous yellow color, turmeric has been shown to have amazing properties of fighting inflammation. It has long been used in Eastern medicine to treat a wide variety of aliments, showing the same if not better response to traditional drugs like motrin (source). It has been shown to prevent and slow the spread of tumor growth, and is especially good to include in your diet if you suffer from inflammatory diseases like rheumatory arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and even cystic fibrosis. The active chemical component of turmeric, curcumin, has been used in many recent clinical cancer studies, as well as for cystic fibrosis treatment. Consuming turmeric often can help prevent cancer growth and fight inflammatory diseases. It has been shown to help boost the liver's ability to detoxify the body. It's benefits don't stop there! It has also been shown to increase LDL (lousy) receptors, and therefore help to eliminate bad cholesterol from the body. In doing so, turmeric has been shown to help prevent cholesterol forming plaques build up in the blood stream (Source).
Turmeric is a root, much like ginger. Most people's experience with this spice is from the dried and ground form of it. If you can, obtaining the root for your recipes intensifies the nutritional benefits of the spice dramatically. Turmeric is one of the main ingredients in curry powder, along with cumin, and other spices. it can be used on its own, to provide a beautiful color to dishes, while also helping your immune system! Combining turmeric with cruciferous vegetables has been shown to have an even more powerful effect than each food in isolation. This is yet another example of how nutrients cannot be looked at in isolation, as the sum is often greater than the parts.
How can you use it? My latest recipe for Indian Cauliflower Red Lentil Stew combines cauliflower, turmeric, and lentils is a nutrient packed recipe! Warming spices of ginger and garlic further boost this recipe, increasing blood flow in the body. How can you go wrong?! Serve it with some brown rice and fresh sprouts, and along side my chana masala for a festive Indian meal!
Until next week....happy eating!
Jessica of www.gardenfreshfoodie.com