Should You Add Turmeric to Your Diet?
By Amy Silva
Turmeric is used worldwide as a spice in different kinds of cuisine but is popular in India and Caribbean cooking. It's used to add a fun, bright yellow color to food, and is described as both subtle and bitter. This is why it's often used with other spices or herbs when seasoning dishes. If you've ever had traditional curry, you've had turmeric. Turmeric also has potential health benefits, according to studies.
Turmeric is a root similar to ginger. It can be found in many forms such as the whole root, which can then be sliced and added to food. It can also be bought as a dried powder, as other spices, to add to food dishes. It can also be taken as a dietary supplement. Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, is an antioxidant and has medicinal properties. If turmeric is consumed in its natural or powdered form, it's best to add black pepper to the dish. This helps with absorption since our bodies aren't great at absorbing the curcumin. Many turmeric dietary supplements already have black pepper added for this reason.
Possible Health Benefits of Turmeric
The curcumin in turmeric lends its anti-inflammatory properties to the spice, and it's thought that this can help combat cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. One trial showed the curcumin found in turmeric was as effective as an antidepressant, and multiple studies show it can be helpful in treating arthritis. A study done on rheumatoid arthritis sufferers showed that the curcumin found in turmeric was more effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis than a medication that was prescribed.
How to Use Turmeric in Foods and Drinks
Turmeric can be added to many different types of food and drinks such as eggs, rice, pasta and soups. Other examples include:
- Drinks - Add turmeric to hot tea or smoothies
- Vegetables - Vegetables, such as those being stir fried, can be slightly flavored with turmeric alone, or mixed with it and other spices for more flavor
- Meat and seafood - Turmeric can be added to meat and seafood marinades or directly on top for added flavor or color
Turmeric can add color and flavor to food dishes, and the type of foods that can be enhanced is seemingly endless. Turmeric also has health benefits that make it worth adding to your diet in any form, whether in its natural root state and sliced, powdered or even as pills.
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