For those of you who have never tried Turmeric, it’s is the spice that gives curry its yellow color. So if you love curry, you’ll love turmeric. And even if curry’s not your thing, you’ll probably enjoy turmeric’s warm, mild flavor.
Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. The National Institutes of Health lists 24 current studies on the effects of turmeric and its chief active component, curcumin. Such studies have indicated that turmeric contains compounds, including curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a potent antioxidant. Therefore, evidence suggests that this relative of ginger is a promising preventive agent for a wide range of diseases, probably due largely to its anti-inflammatory properties.
For example, turmeric may help prevent various forms of cancer, reduce cholesterol, improve liver function, guard against Alzheimer’s disease, aid in easing inflammatory bowel disease, and even treat depression. Yes, it’s true: new research has found that 1,000 mg daily of curcumin proved to be just as effective at lifting depression as Prozac.
Great! Now the question is…how can we add more turmeric into our meals – and our lives?
Although, turmeric is available in a supplement form for those who want to ensure they are getting enough curcumin, cooking brings out the wonders of this miraculous spice. Because curcumin is fat soluble, it works best incorporated into foods prepared with healthy fats. Studies have also shown that black pepper boosts the absorption of curcumin into the blood stream, so make sure your pepper grinder is close at hand. The following are six easy ways to incorporate turmeric into meals that you and your family and friends will love:
#1 Scrambled Eggs – Sprinkle 2 tsp of turmeric as you mix your raw eggs. Add some salt and pepper. Scramble in a sauté pan with butter. You won’t believe how the turmeric brings out the flavor of the eggs – Yum!
#2 Sauces and Dressings – Turmeric is great in everything from mustard vinaigrette to cashew cream sauce – and, of course, curries!
#3 Chilies and Soups – Turmeric adds a zingy depth and warmth to bean and meat chilis and all kinds of hearty soups. Add a tablespoon or so when you are sautéing your onions and garlic – and don’t forget the pepper!
#4 Roasted Veggies – skip the rosemary and thyme and coat your veggies in some coconut oil, turmeric, and pepper instead.
#5 Stir Fry – instead of sodium-laden soy, try turmeric, sesame oil, apple cider vinegar, onions and garlic and red pepper the next time you bring out your wok.
#6 Tea – Yes, you can add turmeric to your favorite loose teas. Try it with ginger or cinnamon for a warming tea or with mint and lime for a summer pick-me-up. Remember to pair it with a healthy fatty snack or meal for the full benefits.
Of course no food or spice will cure everything that ails you, but as part of a lifestyle that includes a clean diet, exercise, stress-reduction, a daily sprinkle or two of turmeric in your cooking can be a valuable addition to your healthy meals, and a great habit to start today!