Fans of Indian food may already be familiar with turmeric, the flavorful spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric, a relative of ginger, has been a popular medicinal herb in countries like India and China for thousands of years. Turmeric root has been used in folk remedies to relieve everything from depression and liver disease to ringworm and skin problems.
The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, may reduce the risks or symptoms of a range of illnesses and ailments. Although many of the studies conducted on curcumin are preliminary and not proven in humans, research has proven that turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which may be helpful to those suffering from joint pain.
There is insufficient evidence that turmeric can help relieve other ailments; however, some studies have suggested that curcumin may offer the following benefits:
- It may help prevent the plaque buildup that can lead to heart attack or stroke.
- It may help improve digestion and reduce bloating and gas in those suffering from indigestion.
- Although the effects of turmeric on the brain have yet to be fully understood, turmeric may improve overall memory in Alzheimer’s patients.
- Taking curcumin capsules may delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in pre-diabetic patients.
So how can you get more turmeric — and therefore more curcumin — in your diet? While upping your curry intake is a good start, there are other simple ways to put it on the menu. Add a pinch to scrambled eggs and frittatas, sprinkle it on roasted vegetables or even blend some fresh turmeric root into your smoothie.
Before you revamp your diet, realize that turmeric may slow blood clotting and could interact with other medications you may be taking. As always, consult your healthcare provider before making major dietary changes or before taking dietary supplements. Taking turmeric supplements or adding turmeric to your diet is never a replacement for any medications prescribed by your provider.
For more ways to add healthy key ingredients to your family's diet, talk to a registered dietitian at Goshen Health Nutrition Therapy.