The Wonder Spice…..Turmeric
Turmeric or the “golden spice” as it is commonly referred, is the staple in all Indian Cooking. Turmeric is a wonder ingredient that has been used for ages. Whether ingested or applied, the benefits of Turmeric are plenty.
Coined as the cousin of Ginger, Turmeric has incredible healing properties which include antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic which gives us a good reason to look up to it.
The benefits attributed to this bright yellow spice are often the result of the primary compound present in it known as “Curcumin” which is prized for its innumerable health benefits and with good reason. With so many benefits to offer this wonder – the spice has now resulted in increased usage of it in western countries too.
What’s So Great About Turmeric
Tracing it’s usage way back since ancient ages, Turmeric is every grandmother’s pet suggestion to treat any cut, burn, or infection. It’s a natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties make it an effective disinfectant. A mere sprinkling of the powder on the affected area or applying the paste by adding little water helps to cure it naturally.
Powerful herb, Turmeric has over 300 nutrients including beta-carotene, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), calcium, flavonoids, fiber, iron, niacin, potassium, zinc among others. The absorption of curcumin from turmeric is enhanced by 2000 times by peppering, a compound present in black pepper. While the powder form has its benefits, the raw roots too are quite helpful. It helps enhance immunity and eliminate cold, cough, and chest congestion if any.
Some Benefits of Having Raw Turmeric
· It helps in reducing inflammation
· When consumed early morning by boiling in ghee, cures dry cough and improves immunity.
· It is also applied to any form of cuts or injuries as an ointment.
· Raw turmeric is also known to regulate blood sugar levels.
· Its consumption may also help treat stomach ulcers and irritation.
· Helps facilitate smoother digestion through the tracts.
· Raw turmeric has been traditionally known to treat skin ailments.
· Turmeric has shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that could prevent chronic inflammation. Diseases that become chronic due to the failure of the immune system to fight infection resulting in inflammation.
· Raw turmeric is often used with hot milk, which is believed to keep the respiratory system healthy.
· Turmeric is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a digestive healing agent.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) National Nutrient Database, one tablespoon of turmeric powder contains:
· 2.1 g of fiber
· O.3 g of sugar
· 29 calories
· 0.91 grams of protein
· 0.31 g of fat
· 16 percent of daily iron
· 5 percent of daily potassium
· 3 percent of daily Vitamin C
· 26 percent of daily manganese needs
I am sure most of us, many a time have faced this issue and we end up turning to pills to get ourselves relief from it. But trust me, if you are in such a situation next time(God forbid) try this super spice, which is known to help to treat the condition. The components of the spice called Curcuminoids, stimulate the gall bladder to produce bile, making the digestive system more efficient.
Relief from Arthritic Pain
Through proper diagnosis and treatment for Arthritis and Joint Pains are required and wonder spice can’t be considered as a substitute for it, but the anti-inflammatory properties help in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis to a great extent. A person going through the condition should consume the spice on a daily basis, to relieve themselves of mild joint pains and inflammation.
Lower Risks of Brain Diseases and Improves Brain Function
Many common brain disorders have been linked to the decreased level of a hormone called Brain-Derived neurotrophic factor(BDNF) including Depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly Curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF.
Researches have found that this primary compound called Curcumin promotes repair in the stem cells of the brain, which helps in the recovery from neurodegenerative diseases. It is even effective in delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function.
Curcumin Should Lower Risk of Heart Diseases
In this fast-paced world, the main cause of death is due to immense stress on the heart and various factors contribute to it. Curcumin may help in reversing many steps in the heart disease process. The main benefit of Curcumin when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of your blood vessel.
The inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure results in blood clotting. Studies reveal that Curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function.
Helps in Prevention of Cancer
Cancer these days are very common and in different forms. Due to advances in medical science, most of the cases can be cured, but few still lead to death. Most studies indicate that Curcumin can reduce the growth of cancerous cells and inhibit the growth of tumors. It helps fight cancer and boost the effects of Chemotherapy.
Helps to Boost Immunity
Little change in weather and we find ourselves catching the cold or flu-related infection. This is due to low immunity of the body. Lipopolysaccharide-a substance in turmeric with anti-bacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents helps stimulate the human immune system. Warm milk with 1tsp of turmeric daily does its magic.
Helps in Prevention of Diabetes
Prevention is always better than a cure for any disease. People with diabetes or also in pre-diabetes, the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of Curcumin have been found to moderate the insulin levels and boosts the effects of medication that treat diabetes and also delay the onset of type-2 diabetes.
Points to Consider When Taken In Excessive Amount
While the “Golden Spice” provides numerous health benefits, it creates some risks that are worth considering before one plans to consume in large amounts.
Blood Thinning Properties
Not stated clearly, the purifying properties of turmeric may also lead to easier bleeding more easily. Individuals should take precautions who take blood-thinning drugs such as Warfarin (Coumadin), and avoid consuming large doses of turmeric.
Upsetting the Stomach
Consuming anything in large amounts has its side effects and the same stands true with turmeric. The digestive health can be irritated when the spice is consumed excessively. It stimulates the stomach to produce more gastric acid.
Pregnant women especially should avoid taking the spice in large amounts and its supplements because of its blood-thinning properties. Though there is no clinical data to back up the claim, it is said that eating foods seasoned with curry can stimulate labor.
As described rightfully, the golden spice has shown to have many health benefits. It aids in digestion, supports immune health, helps relieve pain, etc.
It may be not that effective for some people with ailments and therefore it is suggested to have in smaller quantities and under the supervision of Doctor.
Usages of Turmeric
Using Turmeric For Skin-
The herb is known for its versatility which possesses the capability to make skin tone fairer and free from diseases. It can be turned into a simple paste with warm water and used as a mask. It can also be added along with milk to the appropriate consistency, along with gram flour and a drop of essential oil to add extra zing. For extra moisture add a little almond oil.
WARNING- Before applying to the body, first run a test patch on your arm or chin/neck. For first time users, one may experience yellow staining.
Cooking With Turmeric
The majority of Indian dishes are cooked where turmeric is added for flavor, its nutritional properties, and color. Cooking is one of the best ways to incorporate it into your daily regimen in the best possible way.
Turmeric As A Supplement
Turmeric supplements are available in the market which can be taken as prescribed by your health care provider. An alternative method is to take the liquid extract available in medical stores.
People who are traveling, who do not have much time to think about different recipes can include turmeric supplements in their diet. You can always keep a bottle at your home or office desk.
The ongoing pandemic has made people more understanding and inclined towards the golden spice to build immunity. The market has seen a sharp increase in the sale and export of the herb since the outbreak of the COVID 19. It definitely is very useful in any form and must be made a habit to include in our diet.
What are your ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet? Please share it with us in the comments.
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