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Turmeric: the “Holy Powder” That’s a Nutrition Powerhouse

Posted Feb 28 2011 1:42am

Recently I touted the anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger . Another nutritional powerhouse, turmeric  (the spice in curry that makes it yellow) is so treasured in India, that people there refer  to it as “holy powder”. It’s no wonder since curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is believed to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, digestive aid and Alzheimer’s Disease preventative.

Turmeric has been shown to be  as effective as non-steriodal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) for arthritis sufferers , but without the negative side effects associated with NSAIDs. While turmeric is available in supplement form, I recommend adding the whole spice to your meals – it can add flavor and color to many dishes (keep reading for my suggestions)!

Furthermore, new  research shows that eating curry once or twice a week could help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Apparently, curcumin prevents the spread of amyloid protein plaques, which are thought to cause dementia. Scientists speculate that the high consumption of turmeric among Indian people is one of the reasons why they have lower rates of Alzheimer’s.

Turmeric has a warm, peppery flavor and is delicious when used in cooking. I particularly like using it during the winter months because like ginger it warms you up and, also like ginger, it aids in digestion. While I love the taste of curry powder, for maximum benefit I recommend using pure turmeric powder as research has found curry powders typically contain less curcumin than turmeric powder. I sprinkle turmeric powder on my salads, my steamed veggies, in soups – even on broiled chicken. Be forewarned, however, that the strong, vibrant yellow spice stains easily – everything from your porcelain sink to the porcelain crowns in your mouth to your fingernails, so use with caution. Wash your countertops and/or your sink immediately after cooking with turmeric and brush your teeth after eating dishes containing it.

Be Well,

Carolyn


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