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The Best Herbs & Spices: Turmeric

Go back a few blog posts you'll find a post I wrote on ginger and why it is so darn good for you, and the reasons why you should include it in your diet. As it was well received I've decided to do this as a mini-series in which I choose my favourite go-to herbs and spices I use and recommend to clients.

Herbs and spices are highly underrated, and a lot of people miss a trick by not cooking with them. They are super cheap but have amazing health benefits you might not even know existed.

Today we will look at turmeric and why you should include it in your diet.

What's it used for?

Commonly used as a taste enhancer for Eastern cuisine (think flavourful curry dishes) it does more than just add incredible flavour to food as turmeric packs a punch when it comes to nutritional effectiveness.

The active component of this spice is curcumin which you may have heard of, or more likely have seen in your food. It can be spotted by its yellow colour. It is the curcumin that holds all of the nutritional goodness we need.

One such nutritional benefit is that it has super anti-inflammatory properties. If you read my previous post on ginger, you'll notice that it too has a powerful anti-inflammatory affect. Pair these two together in a dish and you will create quite the healthy food cocktail.

When we refer to the term anti-inflammatory this really can mean a number of things, but most commonly it refers to a swelling at a joint, muscle or even a sore throat. Quite simply the area has become inflamed.

You may have had an injury and noticed the injured body part swells up like a balloon. This is an inflammatory response which has been activated by the body and is crucial to healing. We need this or injuries could become a real problem.

What we are referring to is the chronic day-to-day low-level inflammation that plays a role in a host of diseases such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease, one example is a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids in comparison to omega-3 fatty acids.

If you have some form of joint pain or muscle pain it might be worth adding turmeric to your diet to counteract this.

It has also shown to provide anti-cancer properties and may be a potential for treating cancer patients [1]. This goes hand in hand with the anti-inflammatory effect as it may protect against some forms of cancer progression.

And people say that curry is bad for you!

How to take

Start to add it to your main dishes, especially eastern based dishes. Thai dishes also use turmeric which goes great with a ton of vegetables so you get double the nutritional whammy.

There’s also nothing wrong with seasoning your veg or marinating your chicken with the spice either. People have also been known to add it to hot water, along with ginger and neck it in the morning. If you like to make fruit and veg smoothies, stick some in.

You can also supplement with turmeric if you are not keen on the taste. Go for 2-4 grams per day. If you do add it to meals, a few times per week should cover you.

Quick tip - for even BETTER absorption just add black pepper to your meal which aids in the absorption process of turmeric.

That's it for now! See you next time for another post on herbs and spices!

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References 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20924967

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