Why eating Turmeric is good for you.
Turmeric, known for its ability to stain a white shirt yellow while eating Asian food, is most commonly recognised as a cooking ingredient in its powder form. In Asia, for generations it has been well-regarded for its health benefits.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is from the ginger family and is comprised of rhizomes which when broken, reveal a deep orange colour inside which stains anything it touches.
Used in millions of homes and restaurants, turmeric is a vital component of the spices which make up South-Asian, Persian and Middle-Eastern cuisines, and is also used to a lesser extent as a natural dye (e.g. for, textiles).
The leaves of the plant are used, in South India to wrap and cook food, and this imparts a distinctive flavour.
Health benefits of turmeric
Turmeric has been widely used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for generations, and now Western medicine has a growing interest in its uses. It contains the chemical compound Curcumin which is well-known for its medicinal benefits as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial.
High Cholesterol, Osteoartheritis, Pruritus, Stomach complaints, Skin wounds, Cancers, Depression, Gum disease, IBS, TB, headaches, and many more.
Curcumin’s medicinal properties cannot be achieved by consuming turmeric alone. This is because of its poor bioavailabilty due to its rapid metabolism in the liver and intestinal wall. However, it is interesting to note that when used with freshly crushed black pepper, its bioavailabilty increases by approximately 20 times.
You can find more information on medical uses for Turmeric here.
Cooking with turmeric
Beneficial in its cooked form or eaten raw, Turmeric should be in every pantry. It contains beta-carotene, calcium, flavonoids, iron, niacin, potassium, zinc and other nutrients.
When cooking with turmeric, only use a small amount as too much will over-power the flavour of the dish. If using the powder, make a paste with water before adding to the dish to ensure even distribution.
Try this recipe for Turmeric Pickle which will keep in your refrigerator for a couple of months.