Last month we posted a link to Golden Milk, a yellow beverage that’s making the rounds on the Internet as we approach flu season. The most important ingredient of Golden Milk is the one that makes it super bright yellow: turmeric! What is turmeric? We’re glad you asked!
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is the root from the Curcurma plant, which has been cultivated for thousands of years. In traditional South Asian (Indian) and Chinese medicine, turmeric has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide array of conditions including menstrual cramps, aches and pains, jaundice, and colic.
The root has a dark brown skin and a bright orange center, which is why it is also used as a coloring agent in food and textiles.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, turmeric has been used for almost 4,000 years as a natural remedy to treat a wide variety of conditions. Although some studies were conducted with an injectable form of turmeric (curcumin), or using test tubes and animals, there is overwhelming evidence that turmeric is beneficial for the following conditions:
Indigestion: Curcumin helps the bladder produce bile, which can aid in indigestion. One study did show that turmeric can reduce gas and bloating! In Germany, turmeric is approved as a supplement to aid with digestive problems. Next time you have troubles in the gut region, try some turmeric tea!
Heart Disease: We’ve all seen those commercials showing cholesterol-lowering medicines breaking through the build-up of plaque in arteries. (The clogged arteries can lead to a stroke or heart attack.) Well, turmeric may prevent this build-up of plaque, and keep the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels down.
(See: Baum L, et al. Curcumin effects on blood lipid profile in a 6-month human study. Pharmacol Res. 2007; 56(6):509-14.)
Cancer: There has actually been a lot of research on the anti-cancer effects of turmeric, and many studies show it is useful as a complementary therapy in combatting prostate, breast, colon, and skin cancer. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, this might be due to the antioxidant properties of turmeric, which helps protect the healthy cells from chemotherapy and radiation damage.
(See: Gescher A J, Sharma R A, Steward W P. Cancer chemoprevention by dietary constituents: a tale of failure and promise. Lancet Oncol. 2001;2(6):371-379.
And: Goel A, Kunnumakkara AB, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin as Curecumin: from kitchen to clinic. Biochem Pharmacol. 2008;75(4):787-809.)
Now, before you start tossing a couple tablespoons of turmeric in your morning coffee, you should know that this powerful powder has a bit of a bitter flavor, so take some advice from trusted recipes until you figure out exactly how you like youre turmeric! We’ve listed a few recipes to help you get your daily dose of turmeric! Check ‘em out below.
Healthy Turmeric Recipes
- Creamy Turmeric Tea by Mark’s Daily Apple (Top Left)
- Golden Milk by Health Care Above All
- Persian Date Bread by My Kitchen Treasures (Bottom Right, Finla Noronha)
- Curried Vegetables with Chickpeas by Frugal Nutrition (Bottom Left)
- Fragrant Yellow Rice by Eat Your Greens (Top Right)
- Middle Eastern Turmeric Cake by May I Have That Recipe
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. All information is aggregated from scientific studies and research. Always consult your physician for serious medical conditions.