As someone of Indian and Pakistani descent, I have long been friendly with this potent orange spice that has caught the attention of many foodies and health enthusiasts all over the world. I used to practically gag when my mom made me eat turmeric mixed with raw honey as a homeopathic remedy for colds. Now that I've aged (a decade does wonders), my passion for health and fitness has reconnected me with my once-despised-foe.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, cousin to cardamom, galangal, and ginger. Native to Southeastern Asia, it has been used for remedial and nutritional purposes in countries like India for centuries.
Turmeric's extolled value is due to its possession of curcumin, an antioxidant that is uniquely anti-inflammatory. Diseases like Alzheimer's, IBS, Crohn's, asthma, arthritis and Parkinson's all seem to be linked to inflammation. Inflammation, although not directly linked as a cause of heart disease, is a commonality in cardiovascular disease patients. Properties of curcumin have also been proven to reduce the risk of cancer. The antibacterial and antiviral properties of curcumin are what makes it so appealing for not only ingestion but also topical application. On top of these proven benefits, many scientists have concluded that turmeric does wonders for nervous system health and mental cognition.
The properties of curcumin are enhanced in pair with black pepper, which increases the bioavailability of antioxidants. Even a pinch of black pepper can increase the availability of nutrients substantially.
So, go get you some of that orange spice that packs a powerful punch and can do wonders for your health. Try adding it (along with black pepper) as you are cooking grains or sauteing vegetables. Just 1/4 TSP of turmeric a day can have transformative effects on your body. If you wanna go all out, maybe try some vegan Indian recipes that are heavily reliant on turmeric, black pepper, and curry powder.