The Golden Spice: Unveiling the Health Benefits of Turmeric
In the realm of natural remedies and superfoods, turmeric has earned its place as a shining star.
This vibrant, golden spice, often found in curries and other dishes, is not only celebrated for its rich flavour but also for its remarkable health benefits. From its anti-inflammatory properties to its potential cancer-fighting abilities, turmeric has been revered for centuries.
In this blog, we will explore the fascinating world of turmeric and delve into its myriad health benefits.
Turmeric: A Brief Overview
Before diving into the health benefits, let’s get to know this ancient spice a bit better.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant native to South Asia, particularly India and Indonesia.
The spice is derived from the rhizomes (underground stems) of the plant, which are dried and ground to produce the distinctive yellow powder known as turmeric.
Curcumin: The Magical Compound
The secret behind turmeric’s health-promoting prowess lies in its active compound, curcumin.
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that gives turmeric its bright yellow hue.
It is essential to remember that the curcumin content in turmeric is relatively low, which is why curcumin supplements are often used to harness its full potential.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation is linked to various health issues, including heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines, potentially reducing chronic inflammation in the body.
This anti-inflammatory action may help alleviate conditions such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Curcumin’s potent antioxidant properties help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.
These free radicals can cause cellular damage and contribute to aging and various diseases.
By combating oxidative stress, curcumin may help protect the body against chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Turmeric has long been used in traditional medicine to relieve joint pain and arthritis.
Studies have suggested that curcumin may help reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Many people find relief by regularly consuming turmeric supplements or adding turmeric to their diet.
Brain Health and Cognitive Function
Curcumin’s potential neuroprotective properties have garnered significant attention in recent years.
Research indicates that curcumin may help protect against age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may contribute to improved brain health and cognitive function.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide. Turmeric may promote heart health by improving factors like cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and endothelial function.
Curcumin’s ability to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress can contribute to a healthier cardiovascular system.
While more research is needed, curcumin has shown promise in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and preventing the spread of tumours.
Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may help protect against various types of cancer, including breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
However, it’s essential to emphasize that turmeric should not be used as a sole treatment for cancer but rather as a complementary measure.
Turmeric has been traditionally used to support digestive health.
It may help alleviate symptoms of indigestion and improve gut health by promoting the production of digestive enzymes and reducing inflammation in the digestive tract.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can benefit the skin as well.
Some people use turmeric topically to reduce acne and other skin conditions. However, it’s important to exercise caution when applying turmeric directly to the skin, as it can temporarily stain it yellow.
Incorporating Turmeric into Your Diet
Adding turmeric to your diet is relatively easy, and it can enhance your meals’ flavour and health benefits.
Here are some delicious ways to incorporate this golden spice into your daily routine:
- Turmeric Tea: Brew a cup of turmeric tea by steeping turmeric powder or fresh turmeric slices in hot water. Add honey and lemon for flavour.
- Golden Milk: Prepare soothing golden milk by combining turmeric, milk (or a dairy-free alternative), and spices like cinnamon and ginger. Sweeten it with honey or maple syrup.
- Spice Up Your Cooking: Use turmeric to season rice, soups, stews, and curries. It pairs well with other spices like cumin and coriander.
- Smoothies: Add a pinch of turmeric to your morning smoothie for an antioxidant boost.
Turmeric’s health benefits are as diverse as its vibrant colour.
From reducing inflammation and supporting heart health to potentially protecting against cancer and promoting cognitive function, this golden spice has a lot to offer.
Whether you choose to enjoy it in your culinary creations or through supplements, incorporating turmeric into your daily routine may provide you with a range of health benefits and contribute to your overall well-being.
So, why not embrace the golden spice and let it illuminate your path to a healthier life?
Turmeric & Ginger Paste
- 50 g fresh turmeric, peeled and cut into pieces (2 cm – see Tips)
- 50 g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into pieces (2 cm)
- 60 g coconut oil
- 1 – 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp water
- Place turmeric, ginger, oil and pepper into mixing bowl and chop 3 sec/speed 7.
- Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula and chop 3 sec/speed 7.
- Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula. Add water and cook 5 min/100°C/speed 2,
- Transfer paste into a sealable sterilised jar or container and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Tightly secure lid and place into refrigerator until ready to use.
Nutrition per 1 portion:
Calories 67.6 kJ / 16.1 kcal
Protein 0.1 g
Carbohydrates 0.3 g
Fat 1.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.4 g
Fibre 0.1 g
Sodium 0.3 mg
Tips & Tricks
- Turmeric stains easily, so we suggest wearing gloves when peeling turmeric.
- You can store this paste in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze in ice cube trays for up to 4 weeks.
- You can replace the fresh turmeric with 50 g ground turmeric and 60 g water in step 1.
- Use this fresh paste in the Turmeric latte and the Turmeric, lemon and ginger tea (please refer to the recipes on Cookidoo®).
- It’s also a great addition to smoothies, juices, tea, soups, stews, stir-fries, curries, dressings and dips.