What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange spice. It is from the stem of a plant that grows in Asia. Some curry powders are made with this spice. Turmeric is used to add color and flavor to a variety of dishes, and for its medicinal properties. The Indian culture has consumed it for thousands of years in its cuisine and as an herbal medicine. However, in recent years, the scientific community has begun to provide evidence-based health benefits of this remarkable spice. Read on to learn more!
What science says about this spice
According to a review in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, “has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses.” Another study cited that “Curcumin, the main bioactive compound in turmeric, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.” Some animal studies suggest that it can increase lifespan.
Everyday Health reported, in a small 1989 study, supplements made from the turmeric plant were found more effective at curbing heartburn and indigestion symptoms than a placebo. Possibly because of the plant’s known powers to fight inflammation. This data supports what the Indian culture has known for a long time, and that is that turmeric has positive health effects.
Here’s a list of some of the benefits of turmeric:
- Studies show turmeric can lower artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.
- Relieves the inflammatory soreness of people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Improves how insulin regulates blood sugar.
- Enhances the ability of the body’s natural immune system to kill cancer cells.
- Protects the brain cells from toxins.
- This spice can increase your lifespan.
How to use turmeric and where to buy it
Do not use turmeric by itself for it will offer little to no benefit. However, to increase its absorption, you must add black pepper. Thus, its absorption is enhanced over a thousand times. So, how much should you use? There is no standard dosage, however, Dr. Sears recommends this ratio: 1 teaspoon of turmeric to ¼ teaspoon black pepper for daily use.
Also, look for the following certifications to ensure the turmeric you buy is of high quality. Otherwise, you could buy one that is of poor quality.
- Safe Quality Food (SQF)
- Hazards and Critical Control Points (HACCP) – issued by WHO
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2000
- Orthodox Union (OU) Kosher
- International organic certifications such as: USDA, QAI, EU, and NSOP (India)
How to include turmeric in your meals
You don’t need to worry about how to include it, rather use these ideas.
- Add it to salad dressing.
- Stir it in soups and sauces.
- Sprinkle it over salads.
- Blend it in smoothies.
In conclusion, turmeric has more scientific evidence on its health promoting benefits than any other spice. Moreover, it has been used by the Indian culture for thousands of years for its medicinal properties and is considered safe. Therefore, if you are looking to improve your health, add this spice to your diet.
Prime-Time Health book, William Sears, MD & Martha Sears, RN
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