Get Turmeric in Your Diet

turmericThis magical spice is one of the best foods (or supplements) you can consume for your health. Turmeric is a perennial shrub that is common in South Asia, particularly India where it is widely used in the production of spices, and is the key ingredient in curry powder that gives the powder its yellow shade.  It was long used as a hot yellow spice to flavor Indian cuisine. In addition, it was added to a variety of mustards to give them a potent “bite.”The spice is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used in India for centuries as a natural remedy for a multitude of ailments.

While commonly used medicinally for decades, turmeric as an herbal medicine caught the attention of the modern world only recently. Scientists have only begun revealing the exact health benefits of this plant. Research and history shows how turmeric can be utilized to help treat or prevent many of the most common and serious health conditions. The health benefits of turmeric lie in the active ingredient called curcumin. This powerful compound gives turmeric its therapeutic benefits, its yellow color, and its pungent flavor. 

More specifically, curcumin harbors antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, stomach-soothing,  liver-and heart-protecting effects and alzheimers prevention. 

Anti- Inflammatory

Turmeric is thought to reduce inflammation by lowering histamine levels and it may also stimulate the adrenal glands to increase production of a hormone that reduces inflammation.  It’s believed to reduce certain enzymes in the body known to trigger inflammation. It is often used to ease joint pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. However, it is also used to reduce joint pain and in inflammation in other disorders as well.

Antioxidant

Turmeric (curcumin) also harbors rich stores of antioxidants. Antioxidants are disease-fighting substances that mop up the continuous onslaught of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that damage cells as they travel through the body and are responsible for premature aging and diseases such as cancer if left unchecked. Tumeric targets dangerous free radicals in the body and reduces the damage they are able to cause DNA and cells. When cells are healthy the body is healthy, which means turmeric offers general wellness benefits, as well as targeting specific health problems. In fact, Naturopaths often recommend turmeric for situations in which high concentrations of antioxidants are required.

Liver Health

Studies with animals show that turmeric benefits liver health. Several animal studies suggest that turmeric protects the liver from the damaging effects of certain toxins, including alcohol. These findings certainly lend credence to the herb’s history of use in liver aliments. Curcumin seems to delay liver damage in some instances that can eventually lead to cirrhosis.

Heart Health

Turmeric can help lower blood cholesterol levels and keep low-density lipoprotein levels from building up in your arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Keeping your LDL levels low can reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack. Turmeric also keeps platelets from clumping together, which means it might stop blood clots from forming on your artery walls.  The herb reduces the ability of the blood to form clots and, as such, this action may improve circulation as well as offer some protection against heart attacks and strokes.

Digestive Aid

If you suffer from digestive problems this may be the herb for you. Turmeric helps digest fats by stimulating the flow of bile. No wander it was used traditionally as a digestive aid. Turmeric contains curcumin, an agent that might stimulate the gallbladder to produce more bile. This may help you improve a variety of digestive problems, such as gas and bloating.  Turmeric powder might also relieve symptoms of dyspepsia, particularly nausea, appetite loss, belching and stomach discomfort. The curcumin might also effectively treat various inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Anti – Cancer

Laboratory studies indicate that curcumin has anti-cancer activity. More specifically, it destroys some types of cancer cells. For example, in the laboratory, curcumin kills cultures of human leukemia cells. This action may be due to turmeric’s antioxidant properties or some other anti-cancer activity. Turmeric might prevent cancer because its antioxidant properties keep cells from becoming damaged. The curcumin might also suppress the growth of cancerous cells by simply inhibiting the blood vessels that supply the cancer cells Turmeric reduces levels of heterocyclic amines – carcinogenic compounds that are formed when meats are barbecued, boiled or fried – by up to 40 percent. Curcumin inhibits the growth of a skin cancer (melanoma) and also slows the spread of breast cancer into the lungs.  Needless to say, more research is needed to determine turmeric benefits as a potential cancer agent.

Alzheimers

Early studies indicate that curcumin helps to block the formation of the plaque thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease. Further research points to turmeric’s ability to remove amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain, which is believed to put people at risk for developing the Alzheimer’s. Turmeric that is part of daily curries eaten in India may help explain the low rate of Alzheimer’s disease in that country. Among people aged 70 to 79, the rate is less than one-quarter that of the United States

Now that you know how good turmeric is for you here are some ways to get it in your diet!

1.   Sprinkle it on your eggs in the morning!

2.  Add it to your vegetables!

3.  Add it to your dressings!

4. Golden milk! Make a small amount of turmeric paste that you can store in the refrigerator and use every day for a few weeks which makes it quick and easy to have on a regular basis.

Turmeric Paste

Take 1/4 cup turmeric powder, mix with 1/2 cup pure water and simmer over medium-high heat for at least 7 minutes, stirring constantly. You will notice a thick paste form. If it get’s too dry while cooking you can add additional water. Once cooled, put into a glass jar and put in fridge. This is good for a few weeks to one month.

Golden Milk

Add 1 tsp of the turmeric paste to 1 cup. hot milk (cow, goat, soy, rice, almond, or any combination), maple syrup or honey to taste and 1/2 tsp. of almond or sesame oil. Gently heat and stir and then Enjoy!golden milk

5. Drink a warm cup of turmeric tea to unwind. To make it, add 1/2-teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/4-teaspoon of ginger, 1-teaspoon of honey and 1-teaspoon of cinnamon to 1-cup of warm almond milk. Stir and enjoy. If you do not wish to use almond milk, you may substitute 1-cup of water.
6. Sprinkle Turmeric on your salads!!

 

As you can see there a lot of ways to use turmeric!!  I think I’ll make me some golden milk right now!!!!

 

 

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