Turmeric is not just used for making Asian and Indian foods. There are also many health benefits of Turmeric.
Turmeric is an often used spice in curry recipes and is a healthy way to add flavor and color to an Indian inspired home cooked meal like Tikka Masala.
Turmeric is a tropical plant (it needs temps between 68 and 86 ºF to grow well) that is part of the ginger family.
One of the main components of the root is a substance called curcumin which has many potential healing properties.
The Health Benefits of Turmeric Date Back Thousands of Years.
Turmeric has a warm, bitter taste and in addition to using it to flavor and color curry powders , it is also often used in mustards, butters and many cheese varieties. It is not a commonly seen plant in the USA, so identifying it is difficult.
Turmeric is the root stalk of a tropical plant that’s part of the ginger family. One of the main components of the spice is a substance called curcumin which has potentially healing properties.
Turmeric can be used fresh, like ginger and also can be dried and used as a dried spice, which is the most common method of using it for culinary tasks. The golden color is a main characteristic of turmeric.You can buy fresh turmeric in Chinese and Indian stores and it is commonly available in a dried powder form in most supermarkets. Turmeric is also available in a dietary supplement form from many health food stores and online.
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a spice and also as a medicinal herb. Some stories even suggest that the usage dates back 10,000 years to the days that Indian locals say that Lord Rama walked the earth.
Hindus have used turmeric since around 1900 BC as a medicine to treat a whole range of diseases and conditions, including those of the skin, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal systems, aches, pains, wounds, sprains, and liver disorders.
There have been many studies done on the benefits of adding turmeric to our diets but the results are inconclusive.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, “there is little reliable evidence to support the use of turmeric for any health condition because few clinical trials have been conducted.”
The center goes on to state “Preliminary findings from animal and other laboratory studies suggest that a chemical found in turmeric—called curcumin—may have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant properties, but these findings have not been confirmed in people.”
Keeping these findings in mind, it is worth exploring the potential for some health benefits that have been reported from various studies.
Anti Inflammatory Properties
The biggest heath benefit claims come from the fact that curcumin, a main ingredient of turmeric, is touted to have strong anti inflammatory effects on the body. Since so many diseases are rooted in inflammation, curcumin is a natural candidate for trials.
It has been stated that turmeric, and specifically turmeric curcumin supplements is beneficial in treating a whole host of medical problems including:
- arthritis and joint pain. Since curcumin is a potent anti inflammatory, it stands to reason that it is believed that it could help with arthritis and join pain.
- digestion – This study suggests that curcumin stimulates the gall bladder to produce bile, which leads some to believe that it may help with heartburn and upset stomach and generally improve digestion. (those with gall bladder disease should avoid curcumin, however, seems it appears to make the problem worsen.)
- heart attacks – a recent study of heart bypass patients who used curcumin showed that they had a 65% lowered risk from post bypass operation heart attacks.
- Skin problems – Web MD states that some people apply turmeric directly to the skin to treat many skin conditions, wounds and inflammatory skin problems.
- diabetes – Traditional Chinese medicine has long used curcumin to treat diabetes and it is thought that turmeric supplements may be beneficial in delaying the onset of the disease.
- cancer – From the American cancer association “researchers are studying curcumin to learn whether it is an effective anti-inflammatory agent and whether it holds any promise for cancer prevention or treatment.”
- Obesity – researchers in The European Journal of Nutrition have concluded that curcumin may be useful for the treatment and prevention of obesity-related diseases because of beneficial effects on insulin resistance.
- Alzheimer’s disease – A recent Vanderbilt University study states that “Curcumin has demonstrated ability to enter the brain, bind and destroy the beta-amyloid plaques present in Alzheimer’s with reduced toxicity.”
10 Ways to add Turmeric to your diet.
There are many ways to add turmeric to your diet.
- Simply add more turmeric to your recipes or indulge more often in Asian and Indian cooking.
- Add turmeric externally to poultices to help with inflammation and skin problems. Look for skin lotions that contain turmeric. (affiliate link)
- Make a soothing turmeric tea by combining the following ingredients in a sauce pan on the stove then blending.
- 1 can of Coconut Milk
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup or to taste
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Add turmeric to grilled foods, all sorts of vegetables, many sauces, and spice blends that you make at home. Also great to add a pinch to your breakfast eggs.
- Take a Turmeric curcumin supplement.
- Add turmeric to fruit smoothies and yoghurt.
- Look for added curcumin in cheeses (labeled as E100 on the label)
- Use mustard! This common household condiment actually contains the illness-fighting ingredient, turmeric, to gives mustard its bright yellow color and bitter flavor.
- Add turmeric to rice to give it a lovely golden color.
- To get the most out of turmeric, pair it with black pepper. Studies show that black pepper improves the health effects of turmeric, making smaller doses more effective.” The ration is about 1/2 tsp of ground pepper to 1/4 cup of turmeric.
Risks of taking Turmeric.
Are there risks to taking turmeric?
Turmeric can sometimes causes nausea and diarrhea in high doses or after long term use. It could also pose a risk of ulcers if taken in high doses. As a topical treatment, it can cause skin irritation. Caution is advised when turmeric is taken by people known to have gallstones.
Supplements for Turmeric curcumin are best is they are 100% organic and free of additives, in my opinion.
It is always best to talk to your doctor before using turmeric supplements if you have any medical conditions.