Picking up in popularity, turmeric drinks and dishes can now be found all over the place! Somewhat subtle in flavor and very vibrant in color, you might be wondering what is so great about this spice?
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a bright yellow spice obtained from a plant in the ginger family. Native to India, it is the primary spice that gives curry its color. It has a slightly bitter, earthy taste that can easily be masked by other flavors. Turmeric contains bioactive compounds with medicinal properties, curcumin (a powerful anti-inflammatory), and is a good source of antioxidants. For these reasons, people are incorporating turmeric into their diets on a regular basis.
Why Should You Eat Turmeric?
Help Prevent + Possibly Treat Cancer
Of all the research conducted on curcumin, its effects on cancer are one of the most thoroughly studied areas. A number of laboratory studies have found curcumin to have anticancer benefits — both in preventing cancer and treating affected cells. It has shown to be most effective against colon, breast, stomach, bowel, and skin cancers.
Turmeric is well-known for its ability to fight inflammation. When studied, experts have found that the main active ingredient, curcumin, is a more effective anti-inflammatory than both aspirin and ibuprofen. Inflammation plays a part in a number of diseases and working to prevent it could help support your health long-term.
High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals, helping to detoxify the body and mitigate the effects of harmful carcinogens. Thanks to curcumin, turmeric is an excellent source of antioxidants!
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. Turmeric is thought to lower your risk and benefit the cardiovascular system in a number of ways. Alongside reducing inflammation, turmeric also assists vascular function. In particular, curcumin is thought to improve the health of blood vessels and alleviate oxidative stress.
Improve Gut Health
With strong anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, turmeric may help to soothe the gut and relieve stomach issues. Supporting the stomach lining, colon, liver, and intestines, curcumin has been known to provide relief from stomach pain, nausea, and IBS.
Curcumin has also shown promise in combating depression. In a small controlled study, curcumin performed as well as Prozac as an antidepressant. Other tests performed on humans and animals have shown similar results.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric increase skin’s glow and luster. Turmeric is also believed to heal wounds faster and aide in controlling acne and psoriasis.
Boost Brain Health
Traditionally, turmeric has been relied on to boost cognitive abilities, memory, and concentration. Recent studies have confirmed turmeric’s benefits to the brain. Furthermore, the studies have led to more research pertaining to its relation to degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
How Can You Incorporate Turmeric into your Diet?
Now that we have identified many ways turmeric can support your health, you may be wondering how to start enjoying it!
Unfortunately, the main active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is not absorbed well by the blood stream on its own. However, consuming turmeric with black pepper greatly increases the absorption rate of curcumin — up to 2000%. Use as much as ¼ teaspoon black pepper per 1 teaspoon turmeric to help with absorption. Amounts as low as 1/20th teaspoon black pepper have been shown to help though — so even a pinch will be effective!
You can incorporate turmeric and black pepper into a number of dishes, sweet and savory. Try using the combination in smoothies, curry dishes, tea, roasted veggies, rice, pasta, mustard, soup, or salad dressing. One of our absolute favorite ways to enjoy turmeric is in a vegan golden milk latte.
Made with fresh organic soy milk, Svelte® plant-based protein pairs wonderfully with turmeric. Our creamy French Vanilla flavor compliments the earthiness of the turmeric spice while bringing a lightly sweet twist.
If you dislike the taste of turmeric, you can also find it in supplements. Make sure you find one that includes piperine, a compound found in black pepper.
To enjoy the health benefits of turmeric, experts from the University of Maryland Medical Center recommend taking 1 to 3 grams of dried, powdered turmeric root daily (about ½ to 1.5 teaspoons).
Turmeric is considered safe when eaten in these doses, but may cause stomach upset if ingested in excess. In any instance, you should speak with a doctor prior to making any dietary changes or adding supplements to your diet.
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