Did you know? Indians consume approximately 80% of turmeric produced in the world!
Hailed as one of the top spices in Indian cuisine, turmeric offers so many benefits that once you get to know them, you will be tempted to add it to almost every meal you make. Turmeric was often used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat various ailments and is one of the most popular spices used in South Asia. Its origins lay in the larger part of Asia (India, China, Malaysia) and the East African countries and some parts of the Caribbean (like Jamaica).
In this modern era, the spice is easily available in most grocery stores that sell Indian spices. Some of the most common types of turmeric are ground powder, paste, essential oil, and raw turmeric.
Many culinary books have recipes that include turmeric in them as it is easily available everywhere due to its popularity. But what makes turmeric so special? The powerful compound called curcuminoids.
What Are Curcuminoids?
They are natural polyphenols compounds present in turmeric. It is used as a spice, pigment, and additive for many things. Turmeric is yellow in color because of curcuminoids. This compound is an active ingredient that is also used in many medicines and beauty products.
Curcuminoids are mainly present in Curcuma longa, which is the most common variety of turmeric. The other major variety is the Alleppey Finger turmeric.
Research over the last few decades has shown that there are many important functions of the curcuminoids that work as a neuroprotector, antitumor, and an anti-cancer agent.
Fun Fact: The percentage of curcuminoids present inside your turmeric powder can be measured through an isolation process that uses a special solvent to extract curcuminoids from other components inside the turmeric powder.
If you want to use your culinary expertise and make use of healthy ingredients to whip up delicious meals, then adding a bit of turmeric will make it so much better. Here are some benefits of turmeric:
Doctors these days are touting golden milk for its powerful benefits for speeding up healing and recovery from injuries. This golden milk is milk mixed with a teaspoon or two of turmeric. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that help to strengthen the bones and antioxidants that heal the skin. People with joint problems can also benefit from turmeric as it helps relieve pain. Curcumin in turmeric is so powerful that it is also ranked at par with many anti-inflammatory drugs, which is why many arthritis patients take curcumin supplements.
Your body’s immune system is responsible for fighting against different diseases and parasites, but did you know that a huge part of the immune system is linked to gut health and the digestive system? The digestive system rids the body of all the waste and absorbs all the essential nutrients for optimum functioning of the organs. Turmeric has anti-bacterial properties that cleanse the digestive tract from toxins, thus boosting immunity.
Loaded with Antioxidants
The curcumin present in turmeric combats against free-radicals, thereby making it one of the best anti-aging ingredients in skincare. It helps to retain collagen in the skin and prevents age-related brain diseases thanks to the power of its phytochemicals.
Promotes Weight Loss
Turmeric is known for increasing metabolic function and regulating blood sugar levels; hence, it helps in reducing excess weight. It also helps in decreasing cortisol, which is a stress-inducing hormone that causes a lot of people to binge eat when they are stressed out.
How Do You Use Turmeric in Food?
Here are a handful of ways through which you can add the ‘spice of life’ in your diet:
- Sautee it with onion, garlic, and other veggies before the cooking process for a wonderful aromatic flavor
- Use it as seasoning/condiments with your meals
- Add it in milk to create the ‘golden milk’ that helps cure inflammation
- Used as food coloring in various food products
On the whole, a dash of turmeric can keep you away from all sorts of health problems!