Turmeric, the popular spice found in Southeast Asia not only tastes great, but has also been linked to preventing certain illnesses. This ancient spice was discovered over 5,000 years ago. It has almost a peppery, warm flavor mixed with hints of ginger and orange. If you have mad kitchen skills, you’re probably familiar with turmeric. If you’re not an avid cook, you might still be thinking… “Hmm, turmeric. That sounds familiar”. This familiarity is likely if you’re an Indian food junkie like myself. Turmeric is used as the base for curry in most Indian dishes. It is the golden-colored spice that gives curry its yellowish-orange color and unforgettable flavor. Turmeric is often used as a dye in other, lessor known ways too. For instance, it’s often added to mustards, chicken broth, yellow cakes, popcorn and yellow rice.
According to the World’s Healthiest Foods website, turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Turmeric was traditionally called Indian saffron because of its deep yellow-orange color.
Curcumin is the biologically active ingredient in turmeric. It has been suggested that this ingredient reduces abdominal swelling and the number of precancerous lesions in the human intestinal tract. Health professionals tout an endless list of diseases that can be avoided by adding large amounts of this important spice into your diet. Researchers like Dr. Mercola, the group at The World’s Healthiest Foods website, and The Arizona Daily Star support data suggesting the following benefits of turmeric.
- Frequent use of turmeric can lower rates of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer
- Turmeric reduces the risk of childhood leukemia
- It improves liver function
- It increases cardiovascular function which helps limit the possibility of heart attack or stroke
- Turmeric lowers cholesterol
- This spice protects against Alzheimer’s Disease
- It treats Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Last, but not least… Turmeric relieves the painful joint inflammation caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis
Can you believe all those benefits can be achieved by adding some delicious food into your diet on a regular basis? If you don’t have a favorite Indian restaurant in your neighborhood (or even if you do), get to cooking! The All Recipes website offers over 400 great recipes in their Indian collection, most of which call for turmeric.
If you already have a favorite Indian recipe, please post it here to share with others. Afterall, sharing is caring!