I was asked my thoughts on turmeric, it’s benefits and ways to naturally incorporate it into your diet and
healthcare regime. Turmeric is a spice made from the root of a plant — Curcuma longa. It comes from the same family as another powerhouse: ginger. Turmeric derives its benefits from the natural curcumin found in the plant. It has a bitter, warm flavor and is commonly used in curries. It also goes hand in hand with baked cauliflower.
Commonly noted benefits of turmeric are:
- Medically it has been used as an anti-inflammatory for centuries. I suggest this over ibuprofen in many cases.
- Chinese medicine touts its benefits for treating depression.
- It is known to be a strong antioxidant and can help control cholesterol
- Some studies show that turmeric can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It does this by removing plaque buildup in the brain.
- It is helpful for those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
- In addition to these benefits some studies show that it can be helpful for arthritis, can protect the heart, has brain boosting qualities and may help fight diabetes and cancer.
- Turmeric can be used as a poultice for soothing skin, inflammation and itches.
- For eczema, psoriasis, sprains or breaks you can make a poultice from castor oil, black pepper and turmeric and apply to the affected area. Be careful of the strong yellow color as it can stain. Taking a bath or shower after the poultice has been in contact with the skin for a while can help minimize staining.
Before adding turmeric to your health regime, you should mention it to your doctor. There are some health dysfunctions and medications turmeric can interfere with. If you decide to take turmeric, adding a dash of black pepper or drinking it with a form of milk with fat in it has been shown to dramatically increase absorption and the effects of turmeric.
In this study turmeric has been shown to be as effective as Prozac in a study of 60 individuals with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The extra benefit of turmeric over Prozac is that turmeric helps eliminate the feelings you want to be free from while at the same time boosting other systems in your body as mentioned above. Prozac is definitely proven to help with depression but it also comes with the potential side effects.
Rather than taking turmeric in large doses or in supplemental form try and incorporate small amounts regularly in your diet so it simply becomes part of your natural repertoire.
Turmeric can be bought in bulk at stores such as Whole Foods. When purchasing the spice Turmeric make sure you get an organic version.
Turmeric also pairs well with Apple Cider Vinegar in many recipes. Some options for recipes using turmeric are roasted turmeric parsnip fries, roasted/grilled cauliflower steaks, and Baked honey garlic turmeric chicken.
If you need more information or have additional questions feel free to ask in the comments there are lots more tidbits about the benefits of turmeric but to keep this short I tried to include only the most important facts.
For other recipe inspirations see this article.