Turmeric is a spice that comes from the Curcuma Longa plant and has a long history of use in India and other countries. It is commonly known as an ingredient in curry dishes, but there is so much more to this amazing spice! I started eating it to relieve my joint pain and now enjoy it for even more benefits and in a number of unique ways.
Curcumin is the active constituent of turmeric and best known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric can be purchased either in the root form, as a powder, or as a supplement. It is widely studied and adding it to your diet is associated with a number of important health benefits.
When I first learned about the extensive benefits of turmeric, I decided to do a research project on its benefits for joint pain, since that was my health issue. I learned that the supplement relieves pain naturally, and can be more effective than NSAIDS for osteoarthritis, without the side effects. It removes the free radicals that can damage our healthy cell membranes, and it decreases the enzyme that causes inflammation.
As a bonus, I discovered that consuming turmeric on a regular basis also helped my brain function, with improved memory and concentration. Studies have also been completed on turmeric’s role in other important health conditions such as weight management, Alzheimer’s, depression, heart disease and cancer.
Turmeric’s absorption is maximized if it is combined with black pepper and/or healthy fats.
I first started trying to be consistent with it by leaving the powdered form out with the salt and pepper shakers to remind me to sprinkle it on everything. It’s amazing how many things I found to sprinkle it on! … kale chips, eggs, and sautéed onions to name a few. I have now found some other great ways to incorporate turmeric into my cooking so that the whole family can benefit from its health properties:
- In a morning breakfast smoothie (recipe here)
- Juiced with other vegetables and fruits
- In afternoon or evening tea
- Added to the broth/water when cooking brown rice
- Spicy cauliflower: roasted with cumin, red pepper flakes, and oil
- Cheesy cauliflower: roasted with nutritional yeast and oil (this gets frequent requests from my kids!)
- Added to soups
- Included in homemade salad dressings