The third spice that I’d like to talk about in my spice series (and no, I don’t mean THIS spice series) is turmeric (ter-mer-ick). Did you know that back in the day, this spice was referred to as “Indian Saffron”? Yes. It was. Not only is it CHALK-FULL of benefits, but it also happens to be that spice that gives curry its yellow colour!
Curcumin is the element of turmeric that gives this spice its orange-yellow colour is said to be the main pharmacological ingredient in turmeric (what provides us with amazing health benefits). It’s even more powerful than an over the counter anti-inflammatory like Motrin and the best part is that because it is natural, it is completely safe (i.e. prolonged use won’t cause ulcers, decreased white blood cell count, and intestinal bleeding). Scary stuff! They don’t put that on the labels, do they?
Did you know, too, that inflammation isn’t just caused by pulling a muscle or spraining your arm but it’s mainly caused by the foods we eat – especially too many processed foods. These heavily tax our liver and our digestive system creating a toxic environment and basically wreaking havoc on your entire body. Inflammation has been linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. That’s why it’s SO important to cut out the out junk, detoxify the liver and eat as “cleanly” as possible.
Incorporating turmeric into your diet is a great way to reduce this inflammation, but like I said, the whole diet needs to be re-adjusted. To put it into perspective it’s like having a gruelling workout to cancel out a bag of chips that you mowed down in your car on your way home from work. The workout doesn’t “cancel out” the chips. In fact, the chips (or whatever junk food – chocolates, candies, fast food etc) would decrease the energy you have for your workouts and your ability to recover since most junk foods are laden with sodium and sugar. Both those are topics for another day 🙂
Here are some of the main health benefits:
- Powerful anti-inflammatory
- Effective treatment against inflammatory bowel disease
- Relief from rheumatoid arthritis
- Help for cystic fibrosis suffers
- Cancer prevention
- Improved liver function
- Cardiovascular protection
- Lowers cholesterol
- Protection against Alzheimer’s
Wow…Is there anything it can’t do? Seriously.
I bet you’re thinking to yourself, “Where can I buy this wonder spice?”
Well…pretty much at any grocery store but I recommend you buy organic to get a better flavour and a fresher product. It’s best to buy turmeric straight up to get maximum benefits and not the curry powder since the amount of turmeric in the composition tends to be diluted, so to speak.
I come from an Irish Catholic background so of course, I did not grow up with this spice. In my home, salt and pepper were the staples and paprika was the most exotic spice I’d ever heard of until I moved out on my own and explored other cultural dishes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But now that I’m living on my own and cook my own meals, I make sure that I use it in my cooking at least 3 to 4 times a week. You don’t necessarily have to make curries all the time, just add about a 1/4 tsp in with your other spices if you make a stir fry or add it home made salad dressing. I recently discovered turmeric tea which isn’t half bad (with a bit of agave/honey). More on that later. To get the maximum benefits they recommend 1.2 to 1.8 grams a day (1g = 1 tsp in case you were wondering).
This week, I’ll share with you my experiences with said tea and I’ll share with you a different twist on making chicken curry!