Turmeric is one of those ingredients, like coconut oil that seems to be trending excessively with the ‘health conscious’ in recent times. After creating a smoothie over the weekend using this flavourful wonder spice, I decided to investigate and find out what this simple ingredient has got to offer.
Most of us know and use turmeric in the form of a powder, to add vibrant flavour and colour to dishes from all over the globe. It is one of the key ingredients in many Asian dishes, especially in Indian curries.
Native to India, turmeric has been used for centuries for its healing capabilities. It’s a major part of India’s Siddha and Ayurveda medicines and many studies now show that it has major benefits for both your mind and your body.
I’ve listed my top 6 finds on this magical seasoning.
Turmeric has been deemed to carry super anti-inflammatory powers!
In this day and age, with the many illnesses we are exposed to, it is known that chronic inflammation plays a major role in many of these diseases and ailments. The major component of turmeric is an active compound called curcumin. It is responsible for the bulk of turmeric’s healing properties. Studies indicate that Curcumin may have potential as a healing agent in diseases such as heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis as well as certain types of cancer.
2. High level of antioxidants
I’ve spoken allot about anti-oxidants in past posts. Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the main culprits behind ageing and many diseases so its important to incorporate foods rich in antioxidants into your daily diet.
Antioxidants protect our bodies from free-radicals – chemicals that can travel through the body and cause great amounts of damage to healthy cells and cell membranes. Curcumin not only neutralises free radicals present in our bodies, it also boosts the activity of our bodies own antioxidant enzymes.
3. Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases
Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. This includes depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin is thought to increase levels of BDNF which in turn increases the growth of new neurons.
4. Alleviates indegestion
Curcummin is known to stimulate the production of bile in the gall bladder, thus preventing high levels of acid and relieving ailments like heart burn and indigestion – something I personally have suffered for years.
However – Curcummin is poorly absorbed in the body so it helps to add a pinch of plack pepper or even a whole peppercorn. Pepper contains piperine – a natural substance that helps absorb curcummin by 2000%
5. Excellent anti-bacterial agent
An anti-bacterial agent, with anti-fungal and anti-viral properties which aid the body in the healing processes of skin wounds, scrapes, cuts and minor burns.
6. Huge source of daily vitamins
Turmeric contains high levels of vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Manganese, Copper Zinc and Magnesium
100 g of turmeric provides : 53% of dietary fiber, (% of Recommended Daily Allowance, RDA per 100 g)
138 % of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
32% of niacin,
21 % of vitamin E,
54 % of potassium,
517 % of iron,
340 %of manganese and
40 % of zinc.
but 0% cholesterol.
When buying your turmeric powder, try to source a higher grade than your average supermarket brands. And if possible purchase turmeric that comes with Bioperene – the same as Piperine, found in black pepper.
There are obviously so many more interesting facts that can be found on the web, but as I am I’m no scientist, I will just leave you with my top 6, simplified and easy to understand.
In addition, I will leave you with this delicious recipe for a summer flavoured, turmeric infused smoothie cocktail!
Turmeric, Coconut and Mango Smoothie
1 mango, chopped into pieces
1 cup of coconut milk or coconut water
1/2 cup of ice
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1 small tsp turmeric powder (or 1/4 cup of juiced fresh turmeric root if you can source)
1 tsp maca powder
dash of honey (add more as desired)
Blend all ingredients until smooth.