It’s easy to spice up your meals with an herb that not only adds great flavor, but may add positive benefits to your health. I’m talking about turmeric – the golden child of herbs!
Whether you pronounce it TERMERIC or TOOMERIC, both are correct actually, your body may appreciate its healing properties. Turmeric is a plant with a root that looks like ginger, but it is bright orange on the inside rather than yellow. It has a long history of use for gut and liver health; and is a common ingredient in Ayurvedic and Indian recipes. It has a mild spice with a bitter, earthy taste.
There are many benefits of turmeric. When used as a digestive bitter herb to improve the body’s ability to break down food to improve nutrient absorption, it decreases inflammation in the GI tract. Turmeric improves protein digestion, and this is important because undigested proteins can cause inflammation in the gut and disrupt the integrity of the gut lining by impacting the gut bacteria and ultimately, the immune system.
Turmeric improves the secretion of bile from the gallbladder into the intestines. Not only does this help to prevent gallstone formation, but bile is important for the digestion and absorption of fats, and for encouraging regular bowel movements.
Most people are aware of the anti-inflammatory properties that turmeric boasts. It is anti-microbial and prevents histamine producing bacteria. Curcumins, the primary compounds in turmeric, are largely credited as being responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is best to consume turmeric as a whole, because curcumins have low bioavailability as isolated chemicals, and other turmeric components also have anti-inflammatory activity.
Turmeric has protective effects on the liver and can be helpful for people with digestive conditions. It may be used as a restorative spice for the gut lining and may be helpful for ulcers.
So how do you use this powerful food? Since turmeric is fat soluble, it is best to consume it along with some other fat, like avocados or olives. If you do consume oils in your diet, coconut or olive oil can also be used. Turmeric can be minced like garlic and added to a veggie stir fry; or used to season whole grains, quinoa, or curries. It can be added to sauces or salad dressings. I love to add turmeric to my tofu scramble – a breakfast favorite that I do regularly on the weekends! Check out the blog for that breakfast scramble recipe! I honestly don’t taste the turmeric in that recipe but it makes the tofu a perfect “scrambled-egg color”!
You can even juice the root to boost your fresh green juices; or add to a smoothie. Try adding some turmeric to your hot tea or to a warm non-dairy milk with some vanilla and maple syrup.
Enjoy your creations!