If you are looking to optimize your health and prevent disease, it’s vital you aren’t overlooking the beneficial effects that herbs and spices can offer. One such herb is that of turmeric.
Turmeric is the main spice that is involved in curry, so if you have ever had a curry based dish, chances are, you’ve experienced this herb before. If you have yet to try it, now would be a great time to start because as you’re about to see, the benefits are really endless.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits that turmeric has to offer and how you can get started incorporating it into your diet today.
Health Benefits Of Turmeric
The first major health benefit that turmeric has to offer is anti-inflammatory properties. While short-term inflammation can be a good thing if you’ve just become injured and are looking to heal the body, long term inflammation is a whole other thing.
Systemic inflammation, which is currently on the rise in today’s world, can lead to issues such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Many of the major illnesses being treated in hospitals today stem from inflammation, so the better you can minimize this, the healthier you will generally be.
Turmeric can help. Research indicates that turmeric may be as beneficial in fending off inflammation as some anti-inflammatory drugs (1).
Turmeric is also excellent for acting as an antioxidant in the body as well. When our bodies undergo oxidation, free radicals are damaging our cells and this can increase our risk of disease over time. Turmeric can help to slow this process down by providing antioxidants (2), which neutralize those free radicals. The end result is better health and well-being.
Heart disease is another condition that turmeric can help ward off thanks to the fact that it helps to improve the overall function of the lining of the blood vessels, thus improving the transport of blood to and from the heart (3).
If cancer runs in your family or it’s a condition that you are very concerned with preventing, turmeric can once again come to your assistance. It may help to reduce the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, thus reducing the spread of cancer and may also help with causing the death of cancerous cells as well (4).
Those who are suffering from arthritic pain may also notice great relief from including turmeric as part of their overall treatment plan. Arthritis can be a very debilitating condition and unfortunately, many of the pain medications come with unwanted side effects. Luckily, natural help is available. By using turmeric, many patients were able to report an improvement in their overall symptoms (5).
As turmeric is essentially calorie free providing just 16 calories per 2 tsp. serving, it’s a great addition to any diet as it won’t pose any threat of unwanted weight gain. Being all natural, this also means it doesn’t come with unwanted side effects so anyone can use it worry free.
Just do keep in mind that if you are taking in larger doses of turmeric, you may experience some minor nausea and/or diarrhea. This has been reported in a few individuals however most people will tolerate it just fine. Anyone who is currently pregnant or nursing should speak to their health care provider before adding turmeric (in larger doses on a regular basis) to their diet plan.
It’s also going to provide you with a small dose of the nutrients manganese, iron, vitamin B6, copper, as well as potassium, so that’s another reason to be adding it to your day.
How should you incorporate it into your meal plan?
Here are a few delicious ways to incorporate this herb.
- Add turmeric to a healthy egg salad recipe, using hard boiled eggs and mashed avocado along with a little lemon juice. This will also give your egg salad a nice color as well.
- Try adding some turmeric to your rice dishes. It’s a great way to add more flavor and enhance the appearance of your side dish. Try it along with some raisins and slivered almonds.
- Combine the delicious taste of turmeric with lentils for a fast and easy side dish to serve next to your main protein source, or as a vegetarian meal on the go.
- Use turmeric when preparing home-made salad dressings to give it an extra bold flavor
- Sprinkle turmeric over some steamed cauliflower and then lightly sauté in some olive oil for a delicious way to serve this vegetable
Choosing Your Turmeric
Finally, note that choosing good turmeric is essential in order to reap all the health benefits that it provides. You’ll want to try and choose organically grown turmeric whenever possible and if you can, opt for fresh over dried format. Fresh turmeric is going to taste the best and offer the most powerful benefits.
Keep in mind as well that turmeric is not the same as curry spice. Curry spice contains turmeric, but also contains a wide variety of other herbs and spices as well. So, while you will get some benefits from it, it won’t be as powerful as using plain turmeric on its own.
If you are going to use dried turmeric, in order to help it retain its healing properties, make sure that you store it in a cool, dark and dry place, preferably in the fridge.
Or, as an excellent and easy alternative option, consider investing in a curcumin supplement. Curcumin is the primary compound found in turmeric in which most studies are performed, so is the real active agent you want to focus on here in order to reap full health benefits. Using these supplements can be a great way to reap the rewards if you don’t often cook with turmeric.
So there you have the main facts to know and remember about turmeric. If you have not been including this in your diet plan, it’s definitely a herb to start thinking about. It’s a great low-calorie way to add more flavor to your foods while also reaping numerous health benefits at the same time.