As we travel down into India, we will notice the flavors and spices change dramatically. From the rich and hearty flavors of Europe, to the warm and spicy flavors of India, curry is in the air. Curry is definitely one of life’s culinary pleasures with its complex flavor profile of being both sweet and spicy at the same time. The best part is that it is packed with health benefits making India’s cuisine a model to follow after. The best thing about curry spices is that one of curry’s main ingredients is Turmeric, a root rich in curcumin (curcuma longa), a polyphenol with a reputation of being the “Holy Powder.” I know that incorporating superfoods into your diet can be a little confusing and overwhelming sometimes, but this is an easy one to tackle. Let’s learn about the health benefits of turmeric.
Turmeric has been used extensively in both the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of medicine, as an anti-inflammatory agent and in the treatment of cases ranging from bloody urine to colic. It definitely has been shown to live up to its name as a “Holy Powder.”
Health Benefits of Turmeric:
- An Effective Antioxidant– especially in the degradation of lipids. 8x more powerful than Vitamin E and Vitamin C
- Anticarcinogenic– shown to be effective in all steps of the development of cancer: initiation, promotion and progression as well as regression. Studies have shown it to induce apoptosis (cause cell death) in lung and colon tumor cell lines as well as reduce levels of abnormal cells in the urinary tract.
- Anti inflammatory
- A Cardiovascular Protectant– shown to lower cholesterol levels and inhibits platelet (blood) clumping.
- Protects the Liver Against Damage– Increases excretion of bile salts, cholesterol, and bilirubin, while increasing the solubility of the bile.
- A Digestive Protectant– shown to inhibit gas formation, intestinal spasm while increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes. Also shown to be protective against ulcer formation.
- Protects the Brain– found to halt the plaque formation in Alzheimer patients
- Antimicrobial- effective at killing microbes such as bacteria and fungus
How to Incorporate Turmeric into the Diet
What this all means is that Turmeric is a great way to increase your health-promoting nutrients while reaping the benefits of an unbeatable meal. Adding spices into your dishes may seem frivolous, but they most definitely add up. A little bit of spice goes a long way. My favorite way to use turmeric is to make my typical dish of beans, vegetables, and grains and then add about two capsules of turmeric. I also will add in some nutritional yeast, unheated sea salt and either coconut oil or olive oil. Voila, a perfect dish- no real talent necessary.
What is the best Turmeric to Buy
I must also mention that not all turmeric is created equal. The turmeric that you see on the shelves of the market is not that potent or therapeutic. That is because turmeric retains its potency in its oils, and once it is ground from its root form, it begins to oxidize. What that means is that it must be encapsulated immediately to retain its strength. So while the turmeric in the store might have some health benefits, they are minimal. Therefore, if you are serious about feeling and reaping the true health benefits, I suggest you buy an organic turmeric supplement or ground it fresh yourself.
When purchasing supplements, I am extremely meticulous about the quality, source, manufacturing and packaging and the turmeric supplement I love is by Organic India. This turmeric comes in capsules so I simply open them up onto my food after I finish cooking it. You do not want to heat turmeric because it will damage its properties. It is fragrantly strong, you can smell it from a mile away and the beautiful yellow color slightly stains your hands just enough to let you know its powerful. Ahhh… just as nature intended.