I was recently asked about the health benefits and safety of turmeric....and I wasn't comfortable giving an answer.
When this happens.....I view this as an opportunity to learn! So I hit the internet in search of answers and this is my conclusion on this deep and rich orange-colored spice.
Research shows turmeric to have been in use for over 4000 years....not only as a flavorful addition to food...but as a dye for textiles.....used in religious ceremonies as well as for healing ailments.
Today...turmeric is widely used for seasoning savory dishes......and has received a lot of attention as being used as an anti-inflammatory. Are researches able to prove that turmeric really works to help with inflammation? It doesn't appear from anything that I read that this has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.
What I do know is this......turmeric taste good.....and it is full of micronutrients....both of which are qualities I look for in my diet!
Tumeric is a root (or rootstock) and is widely grown in Asia. It is known for its bold orange/golden color and can be ground into a paste....or dried and made into a powder....which is the form most of us seem to be familiar with.
In my opinion....turmeric has a mildly bitter taste...similar to ginger root...when eaten alone. But it certainly seems to enhance the flavor of any food when added to a dish. It smells delicious when using it to cook....and adds gorgeous color! I eat a LOT of green food....so a touch of vibrant gold to my plate is always welcome!
When I was first diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis (see my story HERE).....I had SOOOOO many people telling me to take turmeric supplements and to cook with it daily! Heck.....I even had people gifting me spice containers of turmeric...not kidding!
So with a little research, I did learn that turmeric is VERY nutrient-dense!
So without hesitation, I added into my arsenal of AIP approved spices. I do not, however.....take it as a supplement.
Tumeric offers a relatively hefty dose of both manganese and iron....two very important minerals....in just a single tablespoon. It also contains small amounts of Vit. B6, Vit. C, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, calcium, folate, riboflavin, thiamine, Vit. K, Vit. E AND.......anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids!!
So.....based on that last paragraph alone....that is enough reason for me to incorporate this spice into my kitchen routine!
I did find something interesting in my research though......and it has to do with absorption of turmeric.
Evidently, turmeric is not highly absorbed into the bloodstream. So simply adding it to your recipes here and there will not offer you the full benefits....without a few key components.
1. Adding pepper to your recipe alongside turmeric....helps to increase absorption of turmeric by 2000%!!!! What the heck??? Ok....turmeric ALWAYS with black pepper!
2. Cooking turmeric with a source of fat increases its bioavailability. Ok.....turmeric plus a fat.....always! (ex: coconut oil, coconut cream, avocado)
Now don't get over-excited here and go all turmeric crazy! As with anything else in life.....MODERATION!! Too much of ANYTHING is too much! Tumeric, when consumed in large doses....can be toxic. So just be smart....and sprinkle a dose into your nightly dish....or blend into your smoothie....and don't forget your pepper and/or fat!
I hope you've learned something new today about the health benefits of turmeric! I sure do love researching these topics for you! Click HERE to see MY personal FAVORITE spice...that I eat almost EVERY DAY!
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