Turmeric is the bright orange spice we often associate with curry or other exotic dishes, but turmeric is also becoming more well known for its health benefits as well. What I didn’t know was that turmeric can not only spice up my food, but it can help relieve everything from depression to an upset stomach. More research is being done every day, but that doesn’t mean we should overlook what we do know now about the health benefits of turmeric.
First, What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is part of the ginger family and is a perennial plant that is usually harvested in tropical climates such as India and China. Like ginger, it is a thick root that is yellow on the outside and an orange on the inside, hence the spice’s well known color. Turmeric is extensively used to flavor food or add color, mainly in curries and mustards.
What are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?
Calm an Upset Stomach and Curb Heartburn
The most well known health benefit of turmeric is to naturally calm an upset stomach. You will see a lot of turmeric teas on the market that claim to do just that. As with an upset stomach, turmeric is known to also help fight inflammation in the body, which can also help to reduce heartburn and indigestion problems.
Also check out my post: 5 Health Benefits of Green Tea for more information.
Ward off Heart Disease and Diabetes
Curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, is what is responsible for many of the health benefits of turmeric. Curcumin is best taken as a supplement to get the maximum health benefit because most turmeric alone only contains 2-5% curcumin. You’d have to eat one heck of a lot of turmeric to get that kind of benefit! The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin help heart attack patients and those suffering from pre-diabetes. While there is no substitute for conventional therapies, curcumin could be a great supplement to talk to you doctor about.
Again, you should always follow the advice of your doctor and follow the traditional route as much as possible. But, for those worried about the disease, adding curcumin into your supplement rotation may be of some help. Curcumin has been shown to interfere with important pathways involved with cancer development and growth. In lab settings, cancer cells were even shown to shrink.
Helps Protects the Brain
Another compound of turmeric, turmerone or ar-turmerone is not as well known or studied as curcumin, but as part of several studies, it has been shown to help the recovery of stem cells in the brain. This can help to improve memory in those suffering from strokes or Alzheimer’s disease.
Please Use Caution
The FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements like they do food, so please use caution and talk to your doctor about any supplements you are thinking about taking. You never know how it will interact with any other medications you are taking or how it will interact in your body. That being said, turmeric is a wonderful spice to add to your dishes and can even add a new element of health to your dish!
Spices and Recipes to Try
To get your dose of turmeric, give some of these great recipes a try with the original spice.
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Recipes to Try