I have been eating a whole food plant based diet for almost a year and a half, cutting out almost all processed food and following a mostly raw vegan lifestyle. I have recently been looking into and studying essential herbs and spices as a way to enhance my health and take things to the next level. Herbs and spices have more antioxidants than most of the fruits and vegetables we are consuming and can greatly boost the nutritional quality of your current diet.
Spices and herbs are low in calories but very rich in vitamins and minerals. They also boost your metabolism to help your body burn calories while also making you feel more easily satisfied when eating. When I refer to herbs and spices I am not talking about the ones sitting on your local grocery store shelf for who knows how long. I’m talking about fresh, unprocessed and organic if possible.
Many consider turmeric the king of spices. People in India and China have used the spice for thousands of years, come suggesting as far back as 10,000 years. They used it in both of their systems of medicine and not merely as a flavoring or condiment. Turmeric is from a perennial shrub which originates in south and southeastern Asia and western India. Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma plant and the orange inside is covered by a tough brown skin. It is the spice used to make curry and has a sort of bitter, peppery flavor. And it is definitely warming. Some describe the flavor as a mix of ginger and orange.
One of the main and most powerful ingredients in turmeric is curcumin, a cancer fighting compound. There are a multitude of health benefits to be provided by this ancient spice. It is a great for reducing inflammation and improving joint health which is great for those with arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.. It is also used for lowering cholesterol, improving liver function, regulating your digestive system, promoting immune health and improving memory. It Is a natural painkiller and also may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric is a great source of iron and manganese, along with vitamin B6, potassium and fiber. There really is a lot to love about this spice.
And due to the antioxidant nutrients, turmeric also promotes healthy skin and could be considered a very beneficial “beauty product”. It helps to cleanse and maintain the elasticity while providing nourishment to the skin. Turmeric prevents and heals dry skin, can help to slow skin from aging and also be used to diminish wrinkles. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent and can be sprinkled directly on a cut or burn to speed the healing.
So you see the many health benefits of this wonderful spice. Now what are some ways that you can incorporate it into your diet? It is one of the main ingredients in curry and as such goes well with dishes in which you would use curry. It goes really well with recipes using ginger. Next time you use ginger in a dish throw in a bit of turmeric as well. It also compliments dishes using lentils in the recipe as well as steamed cauliflower. Mix turmeric with brown rice and throw in some raisins. You can even make a great healthy tea out of it. For those of us following a raw foods diet you can sprinkle it over your raw vegetables. It works really well with broccoli, cauliflower, celery and jicama just to name a few. It can also be used in many salad dressing recipes. Try mixing it with oil and vinegar based dressings as well as mixing it with tahini or nut based dressings. I made one today with carrot juice, avocado, turmeric, garlic, sea salt and black pepper that turned out really tasty. As with any herbs and spices, or any ingredients for that matter, play with it. Experiment and see what you like and what unique recipes you can come up with.
I hope you have found this information on turmeric helpful. This will be a continuing series on essential herbs and spices so be sure and stay tuned for the next segment. And please feel free to comment. I would love to hear any additional information and any uses you might have for this spice. This is a sight for interaction and the sharing of ideas so I always welcome your input.