Turmeric is a plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native in southeast India and is best known as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor and color curry powders, mustards, butters and cheese.
The root of turmeric is also widely used to make medicine. The spice can be used for treating arthritis, heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, gallbladder disorders, headaches, bronchitis, colds, infected wounds, bruising, inflammation and more.
Talk about a super root!
Top Five Reasons to Add Turmeric to Your Diet:
- Fat Blocker & Liver Detoxifier: Curcumin, the most active constituent in turmeric, helps your body block fat, while improving liver function. It does so by suppressing the blood vessels that are used to form fat issue. Turmeric detoxifies the blood by producing enzymes that break down toxins in the body. Because of this, turmeric is also a great hangover cure (you’re welcome).
- Boosts Immune System: Turmeric contains a substance known as lipopolysaccharide, which helps stimulate the body’s immune system. Its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents also help strengthen the immune system making it a great addition for daily use, as well as extra awesome for those time you’re feeling under the weather.
- Reduces Inflammation: The volatile oil fraction of turmeric has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models. Even more potent than its volatile oil is curcumin, which has been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone, as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike OTC or prescription drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects, curcumin produces no toxicity. Curcumin has also been proven to be an effective treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
- Assists Cancer Prevention: Curcumin’s antioxidant actions enable it to protect colon cells from free radicals that can damage cellular DNA. It also helps the body to destroy mutated cancer cells, so they cannot spread through the body and cause more harm. Turmeric has been shown to be powerful enough to stop the growth of existing cancer and destroy cancer cells and many researchers have found that the active components in turmeric makes it one of the best protectors against radiation-induced tumors.
- Reduces Cholesterol Level: Turmeric’s cholesterol-lowering effects are the result of its active ingredient, curcumin, which is a messaging molecule that communicates with genes in liver cells, directing them to increase the production of mRNA that directs the creation of receptors of LDL (bad) cholesterol. With more LDL-receptors, liver cells are able to clear more LDL-cholesterol from the body.
Top Five Ways to add Turmeric to Your Diet:
- Smoothies: Add ½ – 1 teaspoon of turmeric to your favorite smoothie. A good combination to try is a couple handfuls of kale or spinach, 2 cups of almond or coconut milk, 1 cup of frozen pineapple, 1 cup of frozen mango and a bit of fresh ginger.
- Tea: Make a turmeric tea by boiling water, adding 2 ½ teaspoons of turmeric, some fresh lemon juice and raw honey. Cinnamon, ginger and black pepper are also tasty additions to this tea.
- Spice Up Vegetables: Add turmeric to your vegetables just as you would salt and pepper. Turmeric goes great on sweet potatoes, cooked greens, cauliflower and broccoli.
- Yellow Mustard: Yellow mustard gets its bright yellow color from turmeric. Use yellow mustard as a condiment and add it to salad dressings with some extra virgin olive oil and your favorite vinegar.
- Soup: Turmeric is great in a variety of different broth-based soups. Try making a ginger carrot soup with spiced chickpeas and turmeric.
In her free time, Emily enjoys cooking nutrient-dense foods and baking with superfoods and gluten-free flours, and without refined sugar (and then posting her creations on her Instagram @cleaneatswithcleo). She is a fitness enthusiast and makes an effort to break a sweat each day, whether it’s through a run, weight training session, or kickboxing. Emily thrives on helping people become their most vibrant self through clean eating and exercise.
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