Turmeric Health Benefits – Why we Need To Add More Turmeric to Our Diet
Eating or drinking turmeric is very good for your health! It’s been written everywhere lately and with good reason.
There are some very simple things that you can do to improve your overall health and adding turmeric to your diet is one of those things.
You’ve likely have turmeric, or curcumin, before. It is what gives a lot of Indian food its distinctive color and taste. Nowadays turmeric isn’t just an ingredient in a tasty curry though, it’s popping up in drug and health food stores all over the country. People can’t get enough of the spice whether it’s in capsules, loose, or in drinks.
So, what is turmeric good for? Well, it’s good for cooking of course! In addition to its creamy yellow color, it also has a mild and pleasant taste. It is also sometimes described as having a bitter gingery flavor. It is a vital part of traditional dishes like tandoori chicken, lamb curry, and jeweled rice. It is also becoming popular in newer foods like turmeric lattes, carrot and turmeric juices, and turmeric candies.
Many fans of turmeric are also interested in its anti-inflammatory properties. Dr. Andrew Weil has noted that turmeric has over two dozen different anti-inflammatory compounds. He considers turmeric a vital part of his anti-inflammatory diet. This has led to a great deal of interest in its potential to treat various inflammatory diseases including arthritis, IBD, and any other injuries. Some researchers believe that chronic inflammation may be a factor in mental health issues such as anxiety and depression as well. Inflammation has also been implicated in diseases as varied as Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Turmeric’s easy availability and low risk of side effects makes it an appealing option for many with chronic pain or inflammation. While studies fully confirming turmeric’s ability to treat various conditions are still in the works, many doctors are happy to have their patients take this spice. Turmeric can easily be incorporated into a variety of foods and can be part of a healthy and active lifestyle.
People can take turmeric in a variety of different ways, depending on what their preference is. Some people prefer to simply take a capsule once or twice a day. Others buy the loose spice and prepare it in appealing savory dishes. Still others increase their turmeric intake by taking it as a tea or as a yellowish drink referred to as “golden milk.” Golden Milk is often made with coconut or other non-dairy milk. Often a bit of ginger or pepper is added to it along with the spice. Some recipes use some type of sweetener as well.
Some people do report some upset stomach when taking large amounts of turmeric. Make sure you are eating it mixed with other foods and as part of a balanced diet to prevent this issue. Be sure to mention it to your doctor or healthcare provider if you are taking large amounts of turmeric. This is especially important to disclose before any possible surgeries.
More and more, people are learning to appreciate the delicate and soothing taste of turmeric. Even more people are falling in love with the anti-inflammatory effects of this unassuming spice. Chronic joint pain and other long-term issues caused by inflammation seem to particularly benefit from turmeric. Move over saffron, turmeric is the new “mellow yellow” spice.
A Few Tumeric Facts
Another word you might of heard used for turmeric is curcumin. One of the critical components of the tumeric root is curcumin and this is where the health benefits come from. Curry powder is also used as a term for tumeric, but curry powder is a “blend” of different spices that includes turmeric, coriander and cumin.
Tumeric is also referred to as the “bright yellow indian spice” or also called “yellow ginger.” Turmeric is a root vegetable and grow “tubers” in the ground very similar to ginger. Tumeric is best grown in warmer climates and can take up to 10 months to grow.
The majority of turmeric is grown in India, where it favors the climate and is widely used as a main ingredient in curry powder.
More Health Benefits of Tumeric
Since the 1950’s, there have been more than 8,000 articles published demonstrating the health benefits of tumeric. High in Antioxidants – Tumeric or its property curcumin, is also known as the anit-inflammatory spice and for good reason.
Tumeric is very high in anti-oxidants and growing evidence claims it also has anti-inflammatory or even anti-cancer properties. Antioxidants are beneficial because they help to protect our bodies from free radicals. Free radicals may play a role in heart disease, cancer and many other diseases.
Can Aid Digestion
There also have been many claims made that adding tumeric to your diet can help aid digestion, help in relieving pain from arthritis, and even help to reduce depression symptoms. A review that followed more than 600 people found that curcumin was able to relieve pain from a variety of conditions.
It Helps to Relieve Arthritis
The first way turmeric can benefit your health is by providing relief for your arthritis. Turmeric is actually an excellent anti-inflammatory spice. Arthritis is caused by inflammation and swelling of the joints, which then causes a lot of pain and discomfort. Naturally, this means that you can actually experience less pain in your joints simply by having more turmeric in your diet. It is especially beneficial if you have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Try to have turmeric every day to relieve symptoms of arthritis, whether you have it in your smoothie or add it to roasted vegetables before you start cooking them.
Turmeric Helps to Control Diabetes
You can’t cure diabetes with any type of herb or spice, but turmeric can definitely help to control some of your symptoms. Turmeric is often recommended for people who have type 2 diabetes, because it helps to keep insulin levels moderate. It is also good at helping diabetes mediations to work a little more efficiently and is good for proper glucose control. Don’t forget that turmeric can be good for insulin resistance, so if you start using it before developing type 2 diabetes, you might actually prevent it.
You Can Help Protect Your Brain
One of the more surprising ways that turmeric can help you is by protecting your brain from certain diseases. There have been studies done recently on both turmeric. They have found that in some people, turmeric has actually helped to repair some of the stem cells in the brain. What this means is that it can help protect you from brain-related conditions and events like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and stroke.
Tumeric has started to show some promise in studies to aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. As we all know, Alzheimer’s is a life-robbing, memory loss disease that shows up later in life with no cure.
It Helps Natural Antioxidants
Another thing that turmeric can do for you is by increasing the amount of natural antioxidants in the body and improving their function. While turmeric on its own isn’t an antioxidant, it helps the antioxidants that are already in your body. By having more turmeric in your diet, you are helping to avoid illnesses and diseases, from the cold and flu, to more serious infections and diseases. Many people notice they feel better overall when they start adding turmeric.
Ways to Get More Tumeric in Your Diet
If you are interested in using a spice that will help with inflammation, diabetes, and even cancer, you are probably looking to get more turmeric into your diet and into your life. There are ways to add it with food and drinks, but also with everything from toothpaste and skin care products to cleaning products.
- Peel and chop tumeric and saute before adding to soups and stews.
- Add dried tumeric to your morning smoothie
- Use more bright yellow mustard (yellow mustard contains tumeric)
- Add dried tumeric to potato salad along with the mustard
- Add dried tumeric to white or brown rice
- Add shredded cheese and 1/4 tsp. tumeric to scrambled eggs
- Make a tumeric tea
Use it as Toothpaste
Believe it or not, you can brush your teeth with turmeric! It shouldn’t replace your regular toothpaste, but you can try using before brushing your teeth with your toothpaste to whiten your teeth, clean your mouth, and get some other benefits from it as well. This is a known natural remedy for teeth that are starting to yellow a little bit. Have powdered turmeric in a dish, wet your toothbrush, and dip it into. Brush your teeth with it, then let it sit for a couple minutes. Rinse out your mouth and brush your teeth with your toothpaste.
Spice Up Your Dishes
Turmeric is a type of spice, so any time you have a boring dish that needs a little bit of flavor, it is a great way to get more of it into your life. Every time you are eating some roasted veggies and are hoping to spice them up a little bit, add some turmeric to them along with your other seasonings. Turmeric is also a great way to add a little bit of color to pale dishes, such as white rice, potatoes, scrambled eggs, and quinoa. You will enjoy the added color and flavor combined with these types of dishes.
Get Help For Your Cold
Turmeric also happens to be good for helping with a cold. This is because the strong spice is helpful at boosting your body’s natural antibiotics, which can help fight off virus and infection. Turmeric is also efficient at boosting your immunity so it helps to prevent it as well. To make a little cold remedy with turmeric, combine the powdered form of the spice with raw honey and mix it well. Have a spoonful of the mixture by just leaving it in your mouth to dissolve on its own whenever you feel ill.
Use Turmeric On Your Skin
Since turmeric is great for inflammation, you can help with irritation and rashes on your skin by applying it directly. It can help with any skin conditions causing itching or a rash, such as eczema or a bug bite irritation. Combine with the turmeric powder with water or coconut oil, then apply it to the area. Let it sit there for a few minutes, then rinse it off.
Healing Tea – 1 cup filtered water – 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger – 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric – 1/2 tablespoon organic honey squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Bring water to a boil and add the spices. Let simmer on the stove for about 5 minutes. Pour into a mug and add the honey and lemon juice.
Add to your morning green tea:
Hot Green Tea – 1 bag of natural Green Tea – 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric – 1/4 tsp Cinnamon- 1/2 tablespoon organic honey – 10 ounces boiling water Bring water to a light boil and add the teabag and spices. Let simmer for 1 minute. Remove tea bag and pour into a cup.
* Add 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric or 1/4 inch piece of fresh tumeric root to your favorite morning smoothie.
2 cups of fresh spinach
2 cups water
2-1/2 cups of chopped pineapple or peaches
juice of 1/2 of a fresh lemon
1/2 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger
Blend the spinach and water until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again until smooth.
Tumeric Supplements have been found to be safe and effective but always check with your doctor if you are taking other medicaitons. According to studies, taking turmeric in combination with black pepper can improve the absorbability of the tumeric. So when purchasing turmeic supplements, choose one that contains black pepper or piperine.
Also when cooking, try to add ground black pepper as well when using tumeric. *Because turmeric may act like a blood thinner, tell your doctor that you have been taking turmeric supplements.
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References: Betternutrition Magazine