When I research the benefits of ancient spices I’m always reminded of what Hippocrates said. “Let thy food be thy medicine.” That is profound. How is it that we’ve deviated so far from the healthy practices of our ancestors? How did we get so far ‘off the rails?’ Perhaps that’s another blog post though. Today, I’ve been asked (by request on my Facebook page) to talk about Turmeric.
Turmeric is an ancient Indian spice that belongs to the ginger family.
Curcumin, which you may have heard of, is the active ingredient in turmeric. That’s where the magic is. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It has even been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth. And it’s easy to add turmeric to your diet. I throw it in any and all grains, soups, stews, etc. It can give mashed potatoes or cauliflower a kick and I always add it to whatever I’m topping our fish with. I don’t find the flavour to be overpowering, so you can easily add it in if you’re looking for some of the many health benefits turmeric boasts.
As I mentioned, turmeric has been shown to reduce inflammation.
Inflammation, if left unchecked, is a chronic health issue that is at the root of most diseases. Many people with joint pain find turmeric to be helpful in reducing their inflammation, therefore reducing the pain associated with arthritis and other conditions affecting the joints. Turmeric fights memory loss, keeping proteins from clumping and forming plaque in the brain, which may lead to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been shown to boost the immune system, improve liver function, lower cholesterol, improve fat digestion, decrease congestion, and help with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
To get the health benefits, don’t be stingy with this great spice.
You’ll want to add at least a tbsp to your recipe. In this amount, you’ll get a healthy dose of manganese, iron, B6, potassium, vitamin E, magnesium, and fibre.
When purchasing spices, look for non-irradiated brands, which can be found in your local health food store. Irradiation damages food by breaking up molecules and creating free radicals, thereby negating the health benefits. Although irradiated spices will have a longer shelf life, you won’t get the health benefits and may be consuming harmful chemicals with your spices. Stick to quality, non-irradiated spices only.
Feel free to comment below on how you use turmeric in your recipes. I’m always looking for new ideas!