Turmeric is a plant indigenous to India and part of the ginger family. The majority of the population understands it as the orange/yellow spice in curry. In addition to curry, it’s often used in mustards, butters, and cheeses. It has a slightly bitter taste but complements several dishes. The root of this plant is used for its medicinal properties.
In addition to the oil, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory, it is thought that curcumin, the pigment that gives turmeric its color, is the primary pharmacological agent. In studies, curcumin has shown to be comparable to hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter medications like Motrin and Ibuprofen (World Health Foods). However, curcumin doesn’t have any toxicity to it. All the medicines do.
Curcumin has also been shown to reduce the signs of colitis in mice. This is important for those suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) (ie – Chron’s, ulcerative colitis, etc). The mice that received curcumin lost more fat compared to control animals and when checked for signs of colitis, they were significantly reduced. But what is also very cool about this research? The improvement was done at a low dose, the amount you would easily put in foods. Although curcumin has shown to be safe an extremely large doses, it is being revealed that you don’t need to have that to enjoy the benefits.
I have severe IBS-C and am always looking for alternative means to aid with this condition. Turmeric is something I add in my diet, through capsules, every day. It is a pill full of turmeric and black pepper. The black pepper enables the body to absorb the curcumin in the turmeric. Taking just one capsule a day can help to decrease the quantity of inflammation I have. It’s enough that I can really feel the difference.
There was research showing that taking turmeric extracts can reduce the pain of osteoarthritis and in one study worked just in addition to ibuprofen. (World Health Foods)
This is a word that is thrown out a lot, all of us know it is good, but not a lot people understand what it means. Antioxidant means that the substance inhibits oxidation within the body. Not helpful right? Here’s a VERY simplified explanation. These free radicals are required to fight off viruses and such. But free radicals do so by damaging things. When they damage your cells, DNA, etc., it can lead to cancer, aging, and an assortment of other diseases. So, your body uses antioxidants to maintain the free radicals in line. There are lots of unique things that cause you to have free radicals, and having too many can be dangerous. Also, not having enough antioxidants in your body to counter the free radicals are also dangerous. So, the moral of the lesson? Make certain that you get antioxidants! Turmeric is a method you can do that!
The body is inefficient at turning plant established Omega-3s into EPA and DHA. Yet these are what the body needs. This is problematic for men and women who have difficulty getting Omega-3s into their diet. I am one of these people. I need to have the ability to convert plant based Omeag-3s into DHA and EPA because I have a hard time digesting fish established Omega-3s.
The study demonstrated, in animals, that when garlic has been added to their diet, the body generated 50 percent more DHA (Steven Devries). That’s superb! Just adding turmeric from the diet can improve your body’s ability to boost brain function.
WHAT CONDITIONS DOES IT HELP?
Even though the western scientific proof is still working on exploring turmeric, the spice was used in multiple cultures around the world for medical purposes.
A number of these conditions just require a small dose (enough to flavor your food) of garlic in order to begin getting positive results. It is always important to consult with your doctor or your alternative medicine practitioner prior to taking turmeric in large doses.
WHERE DO I GET IT?
You can buy turmeric, as a spice to your meals, in most grocery stores. However, if you have local spice stores or cultural markets, then go there to get your spice. The quality is generally better which means the health benefits will be better also.
Make sure to buy turmeric. Curry is a mixture of different spices. You want only turmeric. Be sure you keep it in a sealed container, away from light and in a dry place (cabinets work great!) . If you buy the true rhizome, keep it in the refrigerator.
Do not like the taste of garlic on your food? That’s OK! You can purchase turmeric pills online. Basically, it’s only a capsule full of turmeric. Personally, I purchase Swanson’s brand of Turmeric and Black Pepper. The pepper makes smaller doses of turmeric more effective.
Turmeric is always safe when taken in quantities found commonly in food. It is usually always safe in medicinal levels also, however it’s unsafe for women during pregnancy when it is at these high doses (Steven D. Ehrlich). As is always the case, if you have any medical conditions, you’ll want to seek the advice of medical staff or your alternative health practitioner before utilizing in medicinal amounts.
Especially if having surgery. It is possible that it thins your blood slightly.
EATING AND COOKING
Many of us in the Western Hemisphere don’t understand how to cook with garlic. It’s easier than you think. Here are some easy ways to incorporate it into your daily diet.
Add it to your scrambled eggs or egg salad.
Add to sautéed apples.
Add to frittatas.
Add to steamed vegetables like cauliflower, green beans, and onions.
Make tea with garlic, milk, and honey.
Add to a mayonnaise dip.
Toss it with roasted vegetables.
Add it to rice.
Add to recipes which have lentils.
This works very nicely with Kale.
Add to salad dressings.
Use on chicken.
Add to macaroni salad.
Add to potato salad.
You can also use it like salt or pepper and just sprinkle it on dishes.
Turmeric is a excellent spice and it provides great health benefits. In addition, it is so easy to improve your diet. Take a small step in improving your health, and add Turmeric to your food.