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Are you like me with a drawer (shelf/rack) full of spices you rarely use? The health benefits of spices are numerous. Spices also add flavor and body to your food without salt. This is the first of several newsletters featuring a spice, its health benefits and tips for increasing that spice in your life!
Turmeric is a yellow-orange spice common in Eastern and Middle Eastern dishes. Turmeric gives curry it's yellowish color. Turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and may be the most studied spice for its health benefits. Curcumin is responsible turmeric's pigment and is thought to be the primary source of turmeric's health benefits. Turmeric (curcumin) has been found to be effective in treating:
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Colon cancer
It also boosts the body's own antioxidant power and improves the function of the body's endothelium (the blood vessel lining) reducing heart disease risk. It may also aid in the treatment of depression.
Black pepper (containing the the compound piperine) increases the body's ability to absorb turmeric, so it's best to combine these two spices. Fat (eg. olive oil) also increases absorption.
But be careful when working with turmeric as the strong pigment can stain. You may end up with yellowing hands (it does eventually go away) or towels.
It's best to buy organic to ensure the spice was not irradiated or heat treated potentially decreasing its health benefits. I also order spices from Mountain Rose Herb sometimes (no affiliation). Supplements of turmeric, curcumin, and piperine are widely available, but I recommend getting these compounds from actual food as much as possible.
Tips for increasing your turmeric intake:
- Add to egg salad for an even bolder yellow color
- Add to scrambled eggs
- Add 1/4 tsp to a pot of grain while cooking (rice, quinoa, lentils or millet)
- Stir 1/2 to 1 tsp into a pot of soup
- Sprinkle on sauteed apples
- Sprinkle on steamed cauliflower and green beans mixed with onions
- Add a healthy pinch to a container of hummus
- Add a healthy pinch to smoothies
- Stir a sprinkle into yogurt
- Add a healthy pinch when sauteing vegetables such as cauliflower florets, broccoli, onion, carrots, sweet peppers
- Try mixing together 1 Tbsp ground turmeric, 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1 tsp ground black pepper and add to soups, stews, casseroles, curries or other dishes.
- Drink turmeric as tea.
Health really does happen at home,
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