Have you ever wondered what the paste is applied to the bride and groom’s faces and arms in Indian weddings? It’s actually the spice turmeric. Turmeric is the ingredient in curry that gives it a vibrant yellow color. Actually, Indian traditional beauty secrets are handed down by ancestors to young women for skin radiance and hair removal using turmeric paste. Interestingly, turmeric has multiple health benefits and is a real power spice. Turmeric’s health benefits lie in the active ingredient curcumin. Curcumin has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, stomach soothing, and heart/liver protective qualities. It is thought to reduce histamine levels and stimulate the adrenal gland to decrease inflammation. It is often used to ease joint pain associated with arthritis. It is rich with antioxidants which are disease fighting substances that bind up free radicals (oh yes, cousin Joe that wacky guy) which are responsible for premature aging and cancer as well as destroying your marriage (see previous post on free radicals). Some animal studies even show that turmeric may benefit liver health and protect the liver from damaging toxins like alcohol (which cousin Joe definitely needs with his strong affection for Sun King). It may even harbor anti platelet activity which reduces the body’s ability to form blood clots and ultimately improve circulation. As always, you need to do your research if you are interested in taking a turmeric supplement and should check with your doctor first. However, I do have patients that have begun cooking more with turmeric and have seen some decrease in their arthritis symptoms.
Please be careful using turmeric since its deep color can stain.
Here are a few suggestions for cooking with turmeric–
1. Add it to egg salad
2. Mix brown rice, raisins, and cashews with turmeric, cumin, and coriander
3. Add it to steamed cauliflower or green beans
4. Add it to lentils
Turmeric 2 tsp:
0.24mg of manganese
1.82mg of iron
0.08mg of vitamin B6
0.93g of fiber
111 mg of potassium
******One interesting tidbit is that if you add a spoonful of turmeric to the water in water-cooled radiators, it will stop leaks!
Many patients are currently taking 500mg of turmeric twice a day and claiming that it is really helping with joint pain!
I have linked an excellent article on the benefits of Turmeric HERE
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