Turmeric is the latest superfood to hit the wellness world – and Instagram. Many foodie accounts are showing off recipes with that distinctive deep yellow color. Ever wonder why so many people have started using this spice? Well, I can promise after learning more about what it has to offer, you’ll want to jump onto the turmeric bandwagon too!

The history:

turmeric root

Despite just recently finding its way into so many people’s diets in the United States, turmeric has actually been around since about 2000 BC, utilized by both Chinese medicine and the Indian healing practice of Ayurveda

Turmeric is a root spice that is part of the ginger family. It can be found in its natural root form or as a powder in many grocery stores. 

The benefits:

Turmeric is most highly praised for its anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is the phytochemical responsible for the anti-inflammatory component of turmeric (as well as that bright yellow hue). Curcumin prevents inflammatory enzymes from entering cell nuclei. When inflammation of the cells occur too often, it gives rise to disease. There are numerous factors in our daily lives that can cause inflammation including pollution, contaminated food and water, and plain old stress. Turmeric’s effects are so strong that is has been compared to prescription drugs, and it can relieve pain and swelling within the body without side effects that often accompany painkillers. 

Some diseases turmeric has been proven to aid include heart disease, cancer, and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Here’s a quick look into turmeric’s effects on each. 

  1. Heart disease: Turmeric regulates and balances cholesterol levels by prompting the increase of HDL (good cholesterol) and decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol). This helps prevent the build up of plaque and blood clots in arteries. 
  2. CancerResearch is still in the early stages, but results are already looking very promising and are being recognized by the American Cancer Society. So far, studies show that turmeric is preventing, surpassing, and destroying cancerous cells. This is because curcumin fights and neutralizes the free radicals that give rise to cancer cells. 
  3. Alzheimer’s: Curcumin has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier to provide protection of brain cells from toxic molecules as well as give overall improved cognitive function

Along with preventing and fighting serious disease, turmeric also helps with more common ailments. 

  1. Digestion: Turmeric protects the lining of the stomach from acidic foods, curbing heartburn. It stimulates the gall bladder, which reduces bloating and gas. It also increases bile flow which breaks down any excess fat within the body. 
  2. Skin: Turmeric promotes healthy, clear skin by preventing pigmentation from occurring, leading to a more even complexion. 
  3. Immune-boosting: Turmeric is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. It works great for soothing sore throats and fighting off colds.

How to use it:

Though it can be also be used to spice meat, vegetables, and make curries, one of the most popular ways to add turmeric to your diet is with golden milk. Don’t let the name fool you – it’s actually dairy free so it can be incorporated into any diet. It’s easy to make for a one time try or it can be prepared in large batches for meal prep if you really like it.

If you want to give golden milk a try, use this recipe for a single serving. 

If you enjoyed that golden milk and want to easily incorporate it into your daily diet, meal prep a golden milk paste with this recipe when you have some extra time. Once it’s made, all you have to do is add a tablespoon of paste to a warm glass of non-dairy milk of your choice.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely want a whole lot of this spice in my life!

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About The Author

Kelsey is a sophomore at Binghamton University in New York studying psychology. Some things she loves includes: taking spin classes, going on hikes, eating ice cream, and baking all kinds of fun desserts. If she's not in class or studying, she's probably at the gym or watching Parks and Rec on Netflix.

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