A TWIST ON TURMERIC There’s so much more to this wonder-root than curry!
You’ve probably heard about the awesome healing powers of turmeric, and that we should all try to include more of this ginger-like root in our diets. But beyond curry, how do we do that?
Vibrant ochre in colour and exotic in its origins, turmeric is, of course, best known as an integral spice in the most delicious of Indian and Asian dishes. But there is so much more to this humble-looking root, a green plant in the ginger family, than simply spicing.
Its healing powers are well-documented, as it has been used medicinally throughout the tropics – especially in India and Indonesia where it is grown – for over
4,500 years, appearing in some of the earliest known records of plant medicines.
Turmeric plays an important part in Ayurveda, the Indian system of herbal medicine, where it is thought to strengthen and warm the body. It is used speci cally to improve the digestion system, to regulate menstruation, relieve the in ammation associated with arthritis and balance the metabolism. It can also be used as an anti-in ammatory and antibacterial agent for coughs and colds, or on the skin for burns, cuts and bruises.
Most recently, research has focused on the anti-cancer properties of curcumin, its main active ingredient. This antioxidant has been shown to have anti-in ammatory e ects with the potential to lower the risks of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer.
Pass the turmeric
Eating more turmeric sounds like a good idea to us, and it’s currently thought that consuming about a teaspoon a day – fresh or ground – is helpful for promoting gut health and general wellness.
Traditional ‘golden milks’ and tonics have become increasingly popular, along
with turmeric tea. Keep a look out for the fresh root alongside ginger in your local greengrocers, too.
While turmeric on its own is quite pungent and bitter (making it perfect for roasting vegetables, salad dressings and, of course, richly spiced curries and soups) it combines beautifully with honey, so can be used in desserts, baking, breakfasts and even ice cream. Plus, used carefully (try not to dye yourself yellow!) it is also a wonderful natural beauty ingredient. Think outside the spice jar and try these three health-boosting recipes, along with our top turmeric tips...
Add black pepper
Black pepper contains the compound piperine that helps increase absorption of curcumin. It isn’t necessary to always consume turmeric with black pepper, but it has been shown to boost the body’s ability to absorb the bene cial properties.
Eat it fresh
The ground turmeric we are familiar with comes from the ‘ ngers’ that grow from the root. The root is cleaned, boiled and then dried at a low temperature before being processed into a powder. Turmeric can also