Turmeric – A Trendy and Healthy Culinary Spice

A staple in Indian and Caribbean diets, turmeric is emerging as the newest super-food. Curcumin is the chemical compound which is responsible for the spice’s vibrant yellow color and also promotes several health benefits. Interestingly, this compound is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties which heal or prevent a number of conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, stomach ulcers and cancers to name a few. There’s no wonder than turmeric is a key ingredient in several healing recipes in ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine, it is worth taking a deeper look at this miracle spice.

Why include turmeric in daily diet?

The first documented use of this medicinal rhizome is from India, dating 4,000 years back. In one of the ancient Indian medical texts from 700 B.C., the Sushruta Samhita, turmeric is prescribed as a medicinal remedy to relieve the symptoms of food poisoning. Traditional Chinese medicine, too, uses turmeric for its role in boosting digestion and improving liver function. Besides, the spice is greatly effective in regulating menstruation and easing arthritis cramps. Research today has proven turmeric’s effectiveness in healing gallstones, inflammation, rheumatism, fatigue, stomach ulcers, breathing issues and heartburn. The spice is extremely nutritious being loaded with iron, zinc, manganese, potassium, dietary fiber and Vitamin B6. And the best part is, the spice doesn’t add up to your caloric intake and is graded very low in cholesterol.

Must-try turmeric recipes

This warm, yellow and bitter spice has long made its way into curries, mustard spreads, and various cheeses. The University of Maryland Medical Center, however, advises against turmeric supplements as it brings along risks of consuming this otherwise healthy spice in toxic amounts. Adding it to the daily diet is the best way of reaping the benefits of cooking with turmeric in safe doses.

Cafés in the western world are renewing and revitalizing their menu with a dash of turmeric in their drinks and the inspiration? Haldi Doodh or turmeric milk as it originated in India! The simplest recipe calls for combining freshly grounded turmeric or turmeric powder with milk and black pepper with an optional dose of clarified butter or ghee. Traditionally, Indian women drink this nutritious latte for natural lightening of skin-tone. You could also give a healthy touch to your favorite mac and cheese by mixing in about half a teaspoon of turmeric powder to your creamy cheese sauce.

Studies have revealed a more effective method of curcumin absorption by the body. According to them, mixing the spice with black pepper and a source of fat like coconut oil or olive oil can improve the compound’s absorption. In this regard, it will be worthwhile trying out this exotic Iranian turmeric spice-blend called Advieh, the perfect seasoning mix for roast meats. Simply grind together black pepper, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and caraway seeds and mix into the powder ground lemon Omani, turmeric, and powdered cinnamon.

Turmeric, as has been proven by several scientific studies is greatly potent in fighting several ailments according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. However, as Kathy Gehlken certified Ayurvedic practitioner stresses, turmeric supplements can cause drying effect in the body because of the pungent and heating qualities of the herb. This versatility and nutritive values of this special root are best experienced incorporating it into the daily diet and the wonderful turmeric recipes out there are worth trying out!

About the Author:

Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.

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