3 Health Benefits of Turmeric Root, the Yellow ‘Superstar’ of Superfoods
What is your favorite Indian dish? No matter which one you choose, there is a high probability it’s a vivid color, which is part of the awesomeness of Indian food. I clearly recall when I was younger and Indian food was making its way into American mainstream culture: there were people outside Indian restaurants handing out samples of their foods and everything was exotic about it —the smell, look, and naturally the taste.
To me the most interesting aspect was the vivid colors. It was like 3D food.
I’ve always been adventurous and was instantly seduced by this exotic cuisine.
When I wandered inside a restaurant one day there was this service window from the kitchen where you can see what was going on inside. I just happened to peek and see that all the cooks’ hands were yellowish. I was instantly intrigued. Why was that?
They were not using any weird produce. Nearly all the ingredients I could see—cabbage, eggplant, onions, garlic, TONS of chilies—were recognizable. It was later during a trip to India, where I saw my first pile of turmeric while walking in a market. This root cousin of ginger has a special place in this ancient cuisine and today we know the wide and frequent use of this root goes beyond just aesthetics and flavor and color. It really packs a punch—make that several punches—for your health and wellbeing.
The use of turmeric is an ancient secret dating back by some estimates to up to 10,000 years. In fact, while some of us might find this spice a complete novelty, it has been in use for quite some time.
This root dyes everything yellow, so if you’re using it in food, consider kitchen gloves or at least wash your hands immediately. Otherwise you’ll look like the cooks I saw back in the Indian restaurant with very noticeably yellow hands.
Here are 3 health benefits of turmeric root that make it worth adding it to your foods—yellow hands and all:
- Anti-inflammatory properties. This seems more of a buzzword today than an actual benefit, however, very few products can boast the long, anti-inflammatory track record of turmeric. Ancient traditional Indian doctors have been administering turmeric for topical and internal inflammation relief long before Western cultures ever started to uncover its medicinal properties.
- Gastro intestinal benefits. Got digestive issues? Turmeric has answers. Depending on your digestive issue and how severe it might be, turmeric is an all-around team player. It is known to benefit enzyme production and secretion along with reducing spasms and other uncomfortable digestive situations.
- Antimicrobial aid. You will hear it from me again and again on how important the little tenants living in our digestive systems are to our health. Without the right ones happily living in your digestive system, you will leave space for some very noisy, very problematic tenants to move in and cause all sorts of problems, among them parasites, fungus, bacteria, and so forth. Turmeric helps to keep those “problematic tenants” in check something like a hallway monitor ensures everybody gets to class on time and nobody strays, ditches, or loiters causing problems.
These are just 3 health benefits of turmeric root that prove it should be a regular part of your diet. Really, the only downside to turmeric that you have to be VERY careful to make sure you don’t stain yourself when you use fresh turmeric in a recipe. It has to be peeled to be thrown into a smoothie, but if anything splatters on your clothes, it is there to stay. On the bright side, it that does happen, you can see it as a constant reminder of how good turmeric is for you.
Turmeric can be used in almost any dish. Start with a small amount and work your way up from there. For a simple start to adding turmeric to your diet, try my Totally Awesome Tumeric Smoothie recipe. It is just five ingredients. It doesn’t get much easier—or tastier!
Do you already use turmeric? What is your favorite way to incorporate the spice into your diet? Share in the comments below.
Love the Life You Live,
- AKRAM1, SHAHAB-UDDIN1, AFZAL AHMED CURCUMA LONGA AND CURCUMIN: A REVIEW ARTICLE ROM. J. BIOL. – PLANT BIOL., VOLUME 55, No. 2, P. 65–70, BUCHAREST, 2010