More than just an ingredient in curry, this bright orange spice also is considered to have several health-boosting properties. So what exactly is turmeric?
Where is turmeric from?
Turmeric originates from the root of the Curcuma Longa plant, and has been widely used in the east as a medicinal spice due to its variety of health benefits for the face, body and brain. One of the integral components of the spice is a substance called curcumin which is believed to be responsible for its healing properties.
Can turmeric reduce inflammation?
Turmeric is considered to help reduce inflammation and has historically been used as a dietary supplement for many health conditions, from breathing problems and rheumatism to skin conditions and even fatigue.1 It can therefore play a role in supporting conditions that involve inflammation such as joint pain and arthritis.2 In the UK alone, around 10 million people have arthritis - inflammation of the joint itself - and it can affect people of all ages, including children.3 As a result, organisations such as Arthritis Research UK recommend turmeric as a complimentary medicine.4
On top of this, the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin in turmeric are also thought to be beneficial in supporting a healthy heart5 and skin condition, and have been linked to weight loss.6
What are the other health benefits of turmeric?
Turmeric is believed to play a role in supporting cholesterol by thinning the blood to keep it flowing normally. Studies have also indicated that curcumin may help prevent the damage to blood vessels that can lead to atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries).7
Turmeric could also help to support digestion through the simulation of bile production in the liver which helps to break down and digest fats in our foods. This process of encouraging the gallbladder to release bile into the digestive tract is called ‘cholagogue’.8
Including turmeric in my diet
As it turns out, there are lots of ways to eat and drink this spice and it can be a great accompanying taste to foods like rice and vegetables.
Use a pinch of turmeric in scrambled eggs, a frittata or tofu scramble. If you or your family are new to turmeric, this is a great place to start because the colour is familiar and the flavour subtle. Try this Southwestern Tofu Scramble recipe.