It seems everybody is talking about turmeric, a golden spice widely known for its use in Indian, African and Asian cuisine and treasured for its medicinal properties by ancient healers. Once again our 21st century culture is just catching up with what our predecessors have known for… oh, about 4000 years. It’s about time we got on the bandwagon. Not only can turmeric brighten up the color and flavor of some of our favorite dishes, it has amazing health benefits which increasingly are being embraced by modern medicine and backed up by recent studies.
Earlier this year Prevention published an article about the many health benefits of curcumin, one of turmeric’s primary ingredients, especially it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Whether you choose to spice up your meals with the addition of turmeric to your recipes or take turmeric as a supplement, either way, you can judge for yourself the value of incorporating this ancient spice into your regular diet. Following are some healthy reasons to consider it. Turmeric may…
ward off heart disease Curcumin’s antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds may help protect against certain heart conditions, including diabetic cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and more, according to a 2017 review in the journal Pharmacological Research.
help fight certain cancers A 2015 review published in the journal Molecules concluded that curcumin might have the potential to fight off certain cancers. So far, most of this research has been conducted in in vitro studies, but the authors of the review also note that curcumin has been shown to prevent or slow down the activity of certain tumor cells, including those of skin cancers, digestive cancers, and more.
improve memory Research done in Asian populations has found that people who eat more curry score higher on cognitive function tests (tests that measure memory, attention span, etc.) than those who don’t eat as much of the spice. The scientists chalked up this benefit to turmeric, which is a major part of the Asian diet.
Recent findings have backed up that theory. For example, a March 2018 study done in people aged 51 to 84 found that those who took a 90 milligram curcumin supplement twice a day for 18 months saw a boost in memory compared to those who took a placebo. The study was small and more research will be needed to confirm these findings, but scientists believe that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects might protect the brain from memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.
ease osteoarthritis pain Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, affecting an estimated 30.8 million Americans, according to the Arthritis Foundation. A 2016 research review found that taking curcumin for 4 weeks, however, could help relieve osteoarthritis pain among people who already have the condition – an effect that’s comparable to taking NSAIDs or glucosamine.
spice up flavor If you’re a fan of turmeric’s flavor, it can turn even bland dishes into nutritional gold. We can all use a little help eating more produce – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 1 in 10 adults in the United States eat enough fruits and vegetables. So spice up your meals while giving them a super nutritional booster shot with an ancient spice that has found it’s way into the modern mainstream.
Try this easy turmeric recipe: Warm up on a cool night with turmeric “golden milk.” Add a teaspoon of turmeric to plant-based or regular milk, toss in a dash of black pepper (to increase the the spice’s absorption) and sprinkle in some nutmeg or honey.