The Royal Spice
Turmeric is the King of Spices, and as such, should always be within easy reach on our spice rack. Boasting a plethora of science-backed health benefits, this versatile antioxidant-packed orange-gold spice (from the root of the Curcuma longa), is native to tropical south-east Asia.
It has endless culinary uses, and is fabulous for flavoring countless dishes, curries, biryanis, soups, rice, greens, sabzis, bread and other baked goods, tonics, teas, shakes, smoothies, juices, chutneys, and toppings. And as a bonus, it brings them alive with the most magnificent color.
Ayurvedic Secrets Have Gone Global
Once the secret of just one corner of the world, people from all over, are now learning that turmeric contains a highly valuable component named curcumin (which is the spice's main active component). And as curcumin has proven powerful biological properties and health benefits which are being continually promoted in the media, turmeric is skyrocketing in popularity.
In fact, it seems likely that turmeric (a cousin of ginger), is called upon millions of times per hour, as professional and amateur cooks in countless homes and restaurants across the world magically transform all kinds of dishes.
Spice Up Your Life
Playing a lead role in more dishes than anyone could list, it doesn't take much ground turmeric powder to revolutionize your meals, snacks, and beverages - and just a small amount of this fabulous cost-effective super spice goes a very long way.
The best rule of thumb is that, as the flavor is quite intense, start off with just a small amount (let's say a quarter a teaspoon for a dish for two people), and then increase the amount once you become accustomed to it.
Different Types of Turmeric
Did you know that there are various forms of turmeric, yet, when it comes to cooking outside India, only two types are used: powered and fresh turmeric? The latter comprises the tender fresh root, which before being cut in the kitchen, resembles a lean creeping ginger rootstalk, with tinges of orange.
What Are the Health Benefits of Cooking with Turmeric?
Cooking with this King of Spices is a win-win - incredible taste, and outstanding health rewards. There is a truly miraculous list of research-backed benefits just waiting for us!
These include: potent anti-inflammatory properties which promote healthy digestion, and ameliorate common diseases such as arthritis, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and Crohn’s disease.
As well as weight loss; the prevention of fatty tissue growth; keeping off new weight gain; and enhancing insulin sensitivity .
And there's even more great news, studies also show that curcumin may improve liver function, and assist in slowing down and preventing the spread of cancer. Further, in the case of those who have chemotherapy: helping to protect their body's healthy cells from harmful radiation damage; and making chemotherapy more effective.
And there's even some evidence that this delicious golden spice can work as a pain reliever . So, as these lists include so many health conditions, adding turmeric to the dishes we serve for ourselves and our families and loved ones, is a giant step towards leading our best lives.
Tip For Improving Curcumin Absorption
When we consume turmeric, if we combine it with both black pepper and a source of fat (for example, coconut oil or olive oil), we can boost its rate of absorption, and thus gain more awesome benefits!
Have Fun with Vegan Recipes
Suggestions include something super-simple such as Golden Turmeric Hummus:
- 5 ounces of Chickpeas (keep the liquid from the tin)
- 3 tablespoons of quality olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of the Chickpea liquid from the tin 1tablespoon of tahini
- 1 clove of garlic (large) 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric (ground)
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (grated)
- Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until creamy. Options: add an extra one or two tablespoons of Chickpea liquid from the tin if you give a thumb's up for lighter hummus.
Reaching Higher Ground
You can find delicious recipes for other exotic offerings such as: Vegan Turmeric Curry, Turmeric Rice, Vegan Turmeric Soup, Chickpea Turmeric Stew, Turmeric Latte, and thousands of other offerings, online.
Is Turmeric Potent Once It's Cooked?
As this super spice is moderately heat-sensitive, we do not have to boil it for too long. A good rule of thumb is that if you cook it for under 15 minutes, it not only preserves the turmeric, it also increases its bioavailability - meaning our bodies absorb more of its benefits!
. Watson, K. (2017). "The positive and negative health effects of turmeric." Medical News Today.