TURMERIC: What is it & Why Use It?
Turmeric is not only tasty & colorful, it’s healthy! Turmeric is a spice, in the same family as ginger, cardamom & zedoary. Turmeric contains circumin: recently shown effective in the fight against osteoarthritis, breast cancer, & Alzheimer’s Disease. Turmeric is reasonably priced. You can buy a good quality grade of bulk turmeric powder at a health store (putting it in capsules yourself saves money). HINT: add dried ginger or a bit of black pepper to help activate turmeric (or select supplements that include it). READ LABELS!
New studies of turmeric also suggest it can be a powerful aid in the fight against obesity! Circumin, a compound in turmeric, has a remarkable potential to limit the growth of fatty tissue, when supplementing a high fat diet. This is great news for food lovers, as this healthy & inexpensive spice is also great for cooking. To get the weight loss benefits, however, you may choose to supplement your diet with turmeric in capsule form, to be sure to get enough.
Ways to get turmeric into your diet: use it in your cooking (it’s on the spice shelf in stores). There is turmeric in curry, but curry is usually a combination of several spices with their own benefits (you might not get as much as you would using pure turmeric). Be creative and use turmeric or curry on different foods, benefiting as much as possible from this potent super-spice.
The deep yellow color of turmeric can stain, so be careful when using it. This spice doesn’t have to be used just for curries: it’s delicious on steamed cauliflower, green beans & onions, even sautéed apples or any of your favorite veggies. Try it with raw veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, sweet peppers, celery, jicama or radishes. Turmeric is a great spice to complement any lentil recipe. Give salad dressings a bright yellow hue & extra flavor by adding some turmeric powder to them.. Add it to egg salad for a surprise flavor plus a rich yellow hue. Surprise guests using it; they’ll be asking you for recipes.
The best turmeric is available in bulk in health food stores and is usually fresher and more pungent.
• The best way to get turmeric daily and maximize the benefits: it’s fairly well known that spices like cinnamon and turmeric have health benefits, but it’s hard to remember to use them more than once or twice a week in recipes or on your ‘usual’ foods. The best way to make sure you get enough turmeric daily is to get it in capsule form from a health food store, or you can make your own if you buy empty capsules (try size ‘OO’) and fill your own.
• If you choose to select circumin, remember it’s not well absorbed by the body when taken orally, so it is often sold with piperine &/or bromelain to enhance absorption and bioavailability. Choose a supplement using only standardized extracts of at least 95% circumin.
• It’s important to check with your physician if you are pregnant or nursing; turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.
• If you take prescription drugs, ask your doctor: some drugs may interact with turmeric.
• If you have gallstones, bile obstruction, or congestive heart failure: it’s best to avoid using turmeric.
• Hypoglycemic? Use only small amounts of turmeric in cooking: you should not take large amounts. Always track your glucose levels.
TURMERIC: TO YOUR HEALTH!