Super Spice: Turmeric

What is turmeric?

Turmeric is a plant grown in India and other tropical regions and is a relative of ginger. It is commonly known for its uses in butters, curry powders and cheese and for coloring mustard. Its root contains curcumin which is the plant’s most active component.

Why should you eat turmeric?

Medicinally, it’s known for decreasing inflammation in the body. The American Cancer Society explains that some practitioners suggest patients using turmeric to relieve inflammation caused by sprains, swelling or pain from injuries or surgical incisions.

Also, according to WebMD, it can be used to alleviate arthritis, heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever and menstrual problems.

There are also claims that turmeric can prevent and slow the growth of some cancer tumors. Researchers speculate that it can prevent the growth of tumors found in the esophagus, mouth, intestines, stomach, breast and skin. The American Cancer Society explains that some studies have shown circumin to interfere with molecular pathways that are crucial to cancer development, growth and spread. Other studies have shown the curcumin has inhibited the formation of cancer causing enzymes in rodents. Trials are currently being done to test if it effective for cancers found in humans.

Adding turmeric to your diet

There are many ways to get more of this spice into your body! You should know that there are supplements which you can take, but not many studies have been done to ensure the safety of taking it in supplement form. I would stick to eating it with foods or drinking it as a tea. MindBodyGreen suggests adding it to salad dressings, rice dishes, roasted potatoes, soups, scrambled eggs, roasted cauliflower or sauteed onions.

Dr. Weil, founder and director at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, suggests making a turmeric tea which basically consists of mixing boiling water with turmeric and your choice of lemon or honey to taste.

As the weather heats up and you are testing out new smoothie recipes, consider adding a dash of turmeric to them! Doing so will add a nutritional punch to your refreshing snack without altering its flavor.

It always amazes me to learn about how nutritionally packed spices can be, but I honestly never take advantage of them! Once you know what dishes to add them to, it’s easy to do though. I urge you to add turmeric to your diet this summer, and look into other spices as well.


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