Belonging to the same family as ginger, the turmeric plant is commonly cultivated in India, China and tropical Asia. The thick rhizome has brown skin similar to that found on ginger and is bright orange-yellow inside. The tubers are collected cleaned and dried for culinary purposes as well as medicinal use.
The deep-orange turmeric pigment has been employed as a dye since ancient times, and is a vital ingredient in Chinese as well as Ayuvedic medicines. Turmeric has also been held in high regard in Indian religious ceremonies for centuries. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine endorses curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, as a potential supplement based on preliminary evidence.
Golden Tropical Turmeric Smoothie
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup mango chunks
- ½ teaspoon powdered turmeric
- Honey to taste (optional)
Blend everything until smooth and creamy and enjoy chilled.
An initial view of turmeric’s nutritional profile may not appear to be highly impressive. Two teaspoons of powdered turmeric contains 16 calories, elevated levels of magnesium (17% of the daily recommended dosage), and iron (10 % of the daily requirement.) Additionally it contains moderate amounts of vitamin B6, copper, potassium and fiber.
The nutrient of interest in turmeric however is curcumin, a strong anti-inflammatory agent that has attained significant attention recently due to its high potential as a cancer and Alzheimer preventing agent.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
According to laboratory and animal studies, turmeric and its primary constituent curcumin have been shown to possess antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Nutritionist Jonny Bowden, in his book states that numerous studies have shown curcmin to be successful in “either reducing the number or size of tumours or the percentage of animals who developed them.” Furthermore, researchers believe that the compound’s anti-inflammatory properties may have sufficient strength to break apart the amyloid plaques that play a vital part in Alzheimer’s disease.
Initial studies also indicate that turmeric might be helpful in reducing the gravity of viral and bacterial infections. It may also aid in improving insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients, as in animal studies it caused sugar levels in the blood to drop.