What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a super powerful herb that is closely related to ginger and has been used for over 5,000 years. It comes from the plant Curcuma longa and is highly respected for its immune boosting and body healing properties. Turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin, the main ingredient that gives turmeric all its benefits! Curcumin is highly anti-inflammatory and it’s been known to relieve the body from aches and pains, and act as a blood stabilizer and natural detoxifier.
It is one of the main ingredients in traditional yellow mustard. That is where the mustard gets its bright yellow color from. As for the flavor, it’s earthy, mild, a bit peppery and much less strong than ginger. You can buy it fresh or dry. As for the measurements, for every one tablespoon of fresh turmeric, you would need to use one teaspoon of dry turmeric.
Benefits of Turmeric
1. Tumeric has anticancer properties
The National Cancer Institute has tested over thousands of compounds for cancer-preventing activity, and curcumin was one of the few that were beneficial. In fact, curcumin was found to not only prevent, but also block DNA mutations.
2. Tumeric is anti inflammatory
Also, given its anti inflammatory properties, turmeric can help speed recovery after surgery. It has also been found to help treat inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis. In a recent trial for ulcerative colitis, more than 50 percent of patients achieved remission within just one month of curcumin compared to patients who received the placebo. In another study, curcumin proved to be more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug in treating arthritis. Unlike other anti-inflammatory drugs, turmeric does not come with side effects.
3. Tumeric can boost memory and mood
Further research has also demonstrated curcumin’s benefits towards brain function. In one study, curcumin has been found to increase brain levels of BDNF, known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor–a growth hormone in the brain. Because common brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's come with decreased levels of BDNF, turmeric can help increase such levels. This can help improve memory and brain activity, and possibly play a role in preventing or treating Alzheimer’s. In the same study, patients who took curcumin also experienced slight improvements in mood.
How to Take Turmeric
A great downfall of curcumin is that it's not absorbed by the body very well–research has demonstrated that 99% of turmeric goes right through our digestive system! Hence, it has been suggested to consume it with black pepper, which can enhance the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%. It is also fat soluble, so mixing curcumin with fat seems to boost absorption rates. Alternatively, taking a turmeric supplement may be easier and more effective in absorbing the curcumin.
Turmeric Recipe Ideas
Use this vibrant, beautiful root to create nutritious and delicious meals. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Turmeric Latte
- Turmeric Energy Bites
- Turmeric Ice Cream
- Turmeric Dressing
- Turmeric Chicken Noodle Soup
With a multitude of benefits, I suggest you try incorporating turmeric into your daily diet!
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