What is turmeric? Why do you need to eat it? Simple! It’s the best thing you can eat for health and fitness. Here’s why!
Turmeric may be a spice that many people have not heard too much about. But, it is also a spice that most people eat without even realizing it. It is one of the main ingredients in curry and is found in most mustard. In fact, the turmeric is what gives mustard its signature yellow color. Turmeric is a spice that comes from the Curcuma longa plant. It is native to India and Indonesia, but it also grows well in warm climates like the southeast United States.
This spice is slightly bitter with a peppery taste. It is often used for its flavor and for its deep yellow-orange color in foods and dyes. Turmeric is even sometimes used in perfumes and other scented items.
It gives off an aroma similar to oranges and ginger. While turmeric has been hiding in the shadows for a very long time, that’s all about to change. Recent studies have begun to prove that turmeric is not just a delicious spice, but it possesses quite a few medicinal uses as well.
These Are Some Of The Turmeric Benefits
Turmeric has been used to treat numerous medical conditions including heartburn, stomach pains, bloating and gas, jaundice, various liver problems, simple headaches, and colds, as well as infections. It can also help with superficial conditions like ringworm, infected wounds, bites or most any other pain found in your skin. But one of the most interesting things about the medical benefits of turmeric is that it has been shown to reduce the effects of, or even prevent, major conditions like fibromyalgia, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and even leukemia.
It has been used for centuries in ancient Chinese and Indian medicines, yet only recent research has spent any amount of time trying to figure out why. What makes turmeric so effective is that it has properties that counteract inflammation. It works best with arthritic conditions like osteoarthritis because it brings down swelling.
Its most active component is curcumin. This is responsible for most of the health benefits it offers. Curcumin makes turmeric a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize any toxins that would do damage to healthy cells. It can help with arthritis diseases to ease stiffness and joint swelling and therefore, it is useful for overall health. But, it also makes turmeric a key factor in relieving some of the following diseases.
It Can Help With Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is the inflammation of the digestive track, such as the colon and intestines. A study was done on mice where some were placed on diets that included curcumin and then they were given inflammatory agents that would induce this kind of bowel disease. The scientists discovered that the curcumin protected them against these agents.
That’s not all. It appears all normal symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease were reduced, the mice had lost weight and all cell function in their digestive tracks remained normal. The mice that did not receive their dosage of curcumin in their diet experienced the full symptoms.
It Can Help With Cystic Fibrosis
A very deadly disease, cystic fibrosis causes mucus buildup that severely damages the lungs and pancreas and often results in early age fatality. It is a disease that is caused by gene mutations.
A study was recently done to see what curcumin could do to alleviate or prevent these mutations. The World’s Healthiest Foods notes that, “the most common mutation, which is called DeltaF508, results in the production of a misfolded protein. When mice with this DeltaF508 defect were given curcumin in doses that, on a weight-per-weight basis, would be well-tolerated by humans, curcumin corrected this defect, resulting in a DeltaF508 protein with normal appearance and function.”
It Could Help Prevent Cancer
Curcumin and turmeric can’t cure cancer. But, it has been found to help to prevent it. Curcumin enhances liver functions by boosting the liver’s ability to detoxify chemicals in the body. This helps the body destroy cancer cells and subsequently may even stop tumors from forming at all. Several studies have linked its use to lower rates of many different types of cancer including breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer.
One specific study was conducted in September 2005 at the University of Texas. The aim of the study was to look at the effects that curcumin had on breast cancer. The study was originally published in Biochemical Pharmacology.
Essentially, scientists injected mice with human breast cancer cells. They then removed the resulting tumors in an effort to simulate the effects of a mastectomy. From there, they split the mice into four groups. One group was treated with a cancer drug. Another group was given the cancer drug and curcumin. The third group was just given curcumin. The fourth and final group wasn’t given anything.
Five weeks later, they checked in on the status of the mice. They found that half the mice in the curcumin group and just 22% of the mice that received both curcumin and Taxol showed any evidence of breast cancer that had spread to the lungs. However, a whopping 75% of the mice that were only put on the cancer drug and an astounding 95% of the control group that received nothing developed lung tumors.
It May Help Reduce Childhood Leukemia Effects
Childhood leukemia can be induced by an infant’s exposure to radiation or harmful chemicals both during pregnancy and after birth. It is usually caused by environmental factors and studies have shown that diets of curcumin could help reduce the effects of these factors in children. It also stops the growth of any existing leukemia cells.
In addition to all the above diseases, curcumin and turmeric can also reduce bad cholesterol and therefore provides cardiovascular benefits. Turmeric is definitely a superfood that has countless health benefits and should be added to your diet. And, the good news is that turmeric is so potent that you can gain most of its health benefits through your diet. Of course, it can also be taken as a medicinal supplement.
What About The Medicinal Form Of Turmeric?
Turmeric is fairly mild and is usually safe when taken medicinally. It really only has a few minor side effects like nausea, stomachaches or diarrhea. It’s best to avoid medicinal turmeric during pregnancy, though it is okay to ingest a small amount in your food.
Turmeric can also increase bad symptoms in people with diabetes or gallbladder problems. Why? It slows blood clotting and decreases blood sugar levels, so you should avoid turmeric if you’re about to have any type of surgery.
Because of its adverse effect of blood clotting, turmeric supplements should not be taken with other medicines like ibuprofen that also slow blood clotting. Doing this could make you more susceptible to bruising and uncontrollable bleeding. Turmeric medications should always be taken by mouth.
What About The Powder Form Of Turmeric?
If you are just using it in your cooking, then turmeric powder is the best option to get the most health benefits. Turmeric is not a common allergen, so you can use it in most cases without too much worry. It is also an excellent source of daily manganese and iron. Pure turmeric will provide more of that healthy curcumin than just curry powder.
Although it is usually described as yellow-orange, the color often varies. This color variation is not an indication of the quality of the turmeric. It is best to go to markets or ethnic grocery stores with a wide selection of spices so that you can be guaranteed of the freshness of the turmeric.
Most of these types of specialty stores can be counted on to have less irradiated products. Once purchased, you should keep the powder in a tightly sealed container in a cool and dark place such as a kitchen cabinet or even a spice rack.
These Are Your Food Tips And Recipes.
It is easy and simple to add turmeric to your diet if you don’t already get it by eating curry or you’re just not a fan of it. You can sprinkle a couple pinches of turmeric into plain yogurt with light mayonnaise, salt and pepper for a light snack. It is also great to season veggie dips with, as well as fish, meats and lentils. Add turmeric to egg salads and deviled eggs for an extra pop of color. You could also add it to sautéed apples, cauliflower or broccoli for a delicious and healthy side dish.
Are you in the mood for a tasty soup?
Want to find a great way to use turmeric in a soup?
Good news! We’ve got the recipe for you.
- 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 1/2 medium cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp. ginger
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 oz. milk
- 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
- salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste
First, sauté diced onion in broth over medium heat until they become translucent. Then, add slices and continue to sauté while continuing to mix evenly. You should add squash to the pan and mix. Boil on a high heat until it comes to a boil and let it simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Then, you should blend contents with milk until it is smooth. To make the soup even thinner, you need to add more broth. Season to taste with salt, pepper, hot sauce or cilantro.
Sesame Chicken Dinner
Chicken is a staple in almost every healthy diet. Why? It’s high on protein and low on fat. It’s also yummy. Unfortunately, it can also be boring eating it the same way every time. Here’s your solution!
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 4 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
- 4 cups kale, stems removed, finely chopped
- 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp. ginger, minced
- 1 1/2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. coriander, ground
- 15 oz. diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
- salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste
Heat broth and add onions over a medium heat until translucent. Add slices and continue to sauté until fully mixed. You should then add the chicken and let it stand for two minutes. Add kale and stir in evenly. From there, add veggies and vinegar and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat. Then, sprinkle minced scallions and sesame seeds over top with salt and pepper to taste.
Spinach Curried Chicken
Are you looking for another tasty chicken recipe? If so, you came to the right place. Here is one you’re sure to love!
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large strips
- 2 cups chicken broth or stock
- 2 1/2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1/2 cup milk
- 5 handfuls of fresh spinach
- salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste
Boil spinach. Then, sauté onions until they are brown. Add garlic and ginger and mix in evenly. From there, add turmeric and curry and mix well. You should then add broth, chicken and milk. Let stand for five minutes. Don’t forget to add bell peppers last. Place spinach on plates after straining and add chicken mixture on top.
If you don’t presently include turmeric in your diet, the time has come to start. There are simply so many benefits. Even without those perks, it has the ability to spruce up so many dishes that it’s worth a try. Once you start, you may find you’ll never want to eat a meal without it!
By Sara Campanelli