Turmeric Powder, The turmeric on shelves and in spice cabinets is made of the ground roots of the plant. The bright yellow color of processed turmeric has inspired many cultures to use it as a dye. Ground turmeric is also a major ingredient in curry powder.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the bright yellow spice used throughout Asia for centuries, has in recent decades been embraced by the West, not just for its ability to satisfy our appetite for curry, but for its impressive list of health benefits. Turmeric is quite literally, hot stuff.
Grown for its root, turmeric has an ancient history of uses in cooking, fabric dyeing, cosmetics and traditional medicine in China and India.
Curcumin is a pigment found in turmeric that not only gives it it’s characteristic bright hue, but also has a range of health benefits. These include antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. Because of these wide-ranging functions, turmeric has been studied in relation to arthritis, eye conditions, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and more.
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Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is a necessary process in the body, as it fights off harmful invaders and repairs damage caused by bacteria, viruses and injuries. However, long-term inflammation has been implicated in most chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer, so must be controlled, which is where anti-inflammatory compounds come in. The curcumin in turmeric has proven, strong anti-inflammatory properties that block the action of inflammatory molecules in the body. Studies show positive effects of curcumin on people suffering from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, amongst others.
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant
Curcumin has been shown to be a robust scavenger of oxygen free radicals, which are chemically active molecules that cause damage to the body’s cells. Free radical damage, along with inflammation, is a key driver of cardiovascular disease, so curcumin can play a part in preventing and managing heart disease. In addition to antioxidant effects, turmeric has also been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in people at risk of heart disease, and may improve blood pressure.
Antioxidants in turmeric may also reduce the risk of cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Turmeric might be brain food
There is growing evidence that curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. It works to reduce inflammation as well as the build-up of protein plaques in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers. There is some evidence that curcumin can help in depression and mood disorders. Turmeric supplements lowered depression and anxiety symptoms and depression scores in multiple trials.
While most of the current research is being carried out in a lab or on animals, the results are encouraging, and this wonderful spice will continue to be investigated as a powerful tool in improving our health. And it’s a great excuse to make a curry!
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 10 g||15%|
|Saturated fat 3.1 g||15%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0%|
|Sodium 38 mg||1%|
|Potassium 2,525 mg||72%|
|Total Carbohydrate 65 g||21%|
|Dietary fiber 21 g||84%|
|Sugar 3.2 g|
|Protein 8 g||16%|
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