Superfood: Turmeric

Medical practitioners have used Turmeric for thousands of years. The spice that gives its bright yellow color and earthy flavor to curries and mustards has been used for centuries to treat pain, infections, digestive issues, high blood pressure and even certain types of cancers.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a member of the ginger family, and grows throughout India and other tropical Asian countries. The spice comes from the rhizome of the plant, which is the portion of the stem that grows underground. The rhizome is typically collected, boiled, dried and ground into a fine yellow powder.

While its use as a condiment has been familiar to cooks for centuries, its remarkable health benefits have only recently attracted the attention of the scientific and medical communities. Within the last 20 years or so, scientists have conducted hundreds of studies to determine the effectiveness of turmeric’s yellow pigment, called curcumin, in fighting disease.

Here are just a few of the many benefits found in those studies:

  • Curcumin is a safe and effective anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. It’s been used to reduce the pain and joint destruction of osteoarthritis.
  • Curcumin has been used as an effective treatment for irritated bowel disease, ulcers and other digestive issues.
  • Turmeric is an excellent source of manganese, iron and vitamin B6, all necessary for cardiovascular health. The curcumin in turmeric has been shown to help reduce high blood pressure and to lower cholesterol.
  • Curcumin is a potent antioxidant, helping the body eliminate free radicals. It is a potent cancer fighter, inhibiting certain types of cell mutations, and preventing the growth of some types of cancer cells, including leukemia, colon and prostate cancers.
  • Curcumin has been shown to help reduce or prevent neurologic disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The curcumin in turmeric has shown promise in the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
  • Studies have shown that curcumin can increase liver function, helping the body to eliminate waste and disease.

Aside from the amazing health benefits, this superfood is also easy to use and very versatile. Add turmeric to your diet and start to gain the benefits of improved health and well-being, while enjoying the wonderful flavor of this remarkable spice.

8 Easy Ways to Eat Turmeric:

• Add it to soups, stews and curries

• Sprinkle it on salads or stir it into salad dressings

• Add it to rice for wonderful color and flavor

• Mix some turmeric into your favorite dips

• Include turmeric with your lentil and bean recipes

• Use a pinch of turmeric in scrambled eggs

• Add it to apple or peach pie

• Blend it into a smoothie

Gregory Wood is the chief mixologist at Mill Creek Spice Company, a purveyor of all-organic seasoning blends and dry rubs. They can be found online at www.millcreekspice.com.

About WF Staff

Washington FAMILY Staff

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