Our diet has a huge effect on our overall health and physical state in general. There are certain foods that provide us with incredible health benefits, and one of those foods is turmeric. Not only can it help us dye our food yellow and add a wonderful flavour to it, but it can also help us fight various diseases. Here is what we know about turmeric.
What is turmeric?
We get turmeric from the root of the turmeric plant, which is a member of Zingiberaceae, or the ginger family. The root has a rough brown skin and bright yellow or orange flesh. It is native to India and South Asia and that’s where it was first used, at least 4,000 years ago. It is bitter and warm, similar to ginger. In the past, it was used to dye fabric, to season food, but also as a medicine in Ayurvedic as well as Chinese medicine. Turmeric has been assigned numerous healing properties, such as reducing joint swelling, helping prevent diabetes, stabilizing mood and even killing bad cells, which means that one day, turmeric might be used in fighting cancer.
What makes it healthy?
There are two components of turmeric that are essential to its therapeutic properties, and those are turmerone and curcumin. Although turmerone might be helpful with brain health, since it could assist in developing new brain cells and repairing stem cells, it’s curcumin, turmeric’s active ingredient, which makes it a superfood and gives it its most prominent health benefits.
What can curcumin do?
Curcumin is an antioxidant, meaning it can help fight off the bad free radicals in your body. And this is just the tip of an iceberg. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it could assist in fighting cancer by preventing the blood vessels in tumours from growing. It’s also helpful for people with arthritis and other types of joint pain, so unlike other pain relievers, which might have various negative side effects, taking a curcumin pain reliever or a supplement can only have positive side effects, like its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and the already mentioned anti-inflammatory properties. It has even been known to ease the symptoms of certain skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis. By including curcumin in your regular diet, you might improve your gastrointestinal function, while lowering your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Hence, it could help you lose any extra weight, have a good effect on your heart and cardiovascular system and even regulate your immune system.
Where can I buy turmeric?
Turmeric can be found in many forms. The most commonly found one is the powdered turmeric, which can be bought in most supermarkets, convenience stores and health food stores. If you visit your farmer’s market or one of your local fruit and vegetable stores, you might find the fresh turmeric root, which is even better than the powder. Buying a small one will probably suffice, since people normally only use small amounts of it at a time, due to its strong flavour. Plus, you can keep it in your fridge for about two weeks. If you don’t really enjoy the taste of turmeric, the third option is to get a curcumin supplement at your local health store or pharmacy.
How do I eat turmeric?
As mentioned above, you can buy turmeric in powder, but buying some fresh root will have the best effect. In any case, you can easily add generous amounts of it to your meals, depending on how you like the taste of it. It goes well with soups, curries, but also vegetable stews or casseroles. You can even add turmeric to your smoothies or juices, or boil some with your tea. If you search online, you’ll find a variety of recipes which use turmeric. When using the fresh root, be careful, since the juice it releases when peeled or grated can leave stains not only on your hands, but on your clothes and furniture as well. Luckily, if you react on time, you can fix the problem with some lemon juice. It should be mentioned that turmeric, or more precisely curcumin, isn’t bioavailable in your body, which means that your body can’t absorb it. However, if you add some black pepper or some fat, like olive oil to it, its absorption can be enhanced greatly.
If you look at its rich history and many benefits it could provide you with, you’ll probably agree that you should at least give turmeric a chance. Plus, it can be a delicious spice for your meals, so don’t waste your time, run to the store and get your turmeric supplies today. Your body and mind will be thankful.