Turmeric has really been coming into its own lately and getting the press it so richly deserves. Long used as the principle ingredient that lends a wonderful flavor and a glorious golden color to curries, this humble spice is also a nutritional powerhouse. More about that in a minute, but first, here’s a bit of information about this amazing spice. Turmeric or Curcuma longa, is actually a root that is native to southwest India and the turmeric that you see in the spice isle at the grocery store is made from grinding the roots of the plant into a powder. As well as what you find in the spice isle, Turmeric is also found in your grocer’s produce department as fresh turmeric root that is typically sold by the pound. The best places, in my experience, to find it are Whole foods or your local international foods grocer. Hint: the international foods grocer is much cheaper! Ok, so what makes it’s a nutritional powerhouse? The active constituent of turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin has been found to boost immunity because of its potent anti-oxidant properties and it’s also anti-inflammatory. To quote Dr. Joseph Mercola, “5 to 8 times stronger than vitamin E and stronger than vitamin C, this antioxidant breakthrough may help boost your immunity, maintain normal cholesterol levels, and put the brakes on aging”. In short, turmeric is just amazing and best of all, you can effortlessly add it to your daily diet. Here’s some of my favorite ways to get you started:
- Use a thumb size of the fresh turmeric root (no need to peel) in smoothies, yum!
- Peel and chop a thumb size and steam with vegetables. You will get hooked!
- Peel and grate a thumb size onto a green salad.
- Add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder to rice dishes. It gives the rice a gorgeous color and is delicious too!
In addition to food, this miracle worker is also used in skin care products like one of my favorites, Pratima Skincare’s Revitalizing Turmeric Cream. You can find it HERE. As you can see, turmeric is very versatile. Please comment about some of the ways you have found to use turmeric.