Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years and in the last couple of decades, has become a popular ingredient all over the world.
It has numerous health benefits and is a fantastic addition to everyday dishes!
Let’s look at the benefits of this spice and how can you easily add it to your diet.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric root comes from the plant Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), native to India and Southeast Asia.
Fresh turmeric looks a bit like tiny wrinkled sweet potatoes. The flesh is bright orange but when dried and ground, it’s a deep yellow/orange colour (that stains everything it touches ;). It has a slightly bitter taste but it’s mild enough to add to stews and other flavour-rich sauces.
How does it influence your body?
Curcumin, as well as other compounds in turmeric, affects lots of mechanisms in the body and has many health-giving properties – here are just a few:
- Anti-oxidant (neutralises free radicals that can damage cells) 2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26528921/
- Anti-microbial (inhibits the growth of bacteria such as C. difficile) 4https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213716519302590
- Contains vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc.
What health conditions can turmeric help with?
How can you include turmeric in your cooking?
The curcumin in turmeric is not easily utilised by the body, however, when combined with black pepper and oil/fats, it becomes much more bioavailable (its ability to be used by the body).
- Piperine in black pepper slows down the liver enzymes that normally metabolise curcumin. So, adding a pinch of black pepper along with turmeric will increase the bioavailability of curcumin 2,000%! 12http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3917507
- Oil/fat helps transport curcumin and other compounds into the bloodstream.13http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17999464
- Adding turmeric to chilli, stew, pasta sauce, or curry is a great way to get a dose of curcumin as these dishes contain both oil and black pepper.
- Add turmeric to French-style dressing.
- You can even add it to chocolate brownies!
One tablespoon of ground turmeric powder contains approximately: 14https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-turmeric
Who should be cautious about consuming turmeric?
People with gallstones or kidney stones should be cautious of consuming high levels of turmeric due to its high oxalate levels.
Always check with your GP or consultant before making any changes to your diet that could have an effect on your medication or health condition.
Find out what ginger can do for you here!
Feel free to contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat from 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays for bespoke advice on gut wellness.