Among the many food trends that have taken 2016 by storm, one of the most colorful, healthful, and spicy favorites is the humble-yet-exotic root, turmeric. Similar to its root-relative ginger, packed with powerful nutritional benefits, and familiar to anyone who loves Indian curry dishes, turmeric garners praise from ethnic food enthusiasts and health-nuts alike. Today, we take a closer look at this remarkable rhizome!
Believe it or not, this trendy root has actually been revered for both its unique flavor and medicinal properties for ages in the Eastern half of the world. These days, health-conscious folks have noticed the impressive anti-inflammatory properties turmeric contains—and are likely to recommend it for everything from boosting weight loss to soothing aches and pains.
The taste of turmeric is a little peppery, a little earthy, and even a little tart. You can find it powered—like in curry mixtures—or juiced, or even pickled. It has a bright orange or yellow color, and it can be a helpful and more affordable substitute for saffron as well as provide a vivid color for products like yellow mustard or even some types of candy.
When it comes to health benefits, it’s all about a special component of turmeric called curcumin. This powerful compound is extracted from the turmeric root and used in concentrated form as a supplement in natural medicine.
Here are some of the purported benefits of curcumin:
- Anti-inflammatory effects. For some experiencing pain, swelling, and other uncomfortable symptoms of inflammatory illnesses like arthritis, curcumin may be as effective as a pharmeceutical drug. This is thanks to some helpful selective inhibitors contained in curcumin that block a particular inflammation enzyme.
- Improved cognitive function. One study compared the test scores on a mental state exam among elderly Asian people and found that those who occasionally or frequently ate curry performed better than those who rarely or never ate curry. Other studies support an improvement in working memory in participants who took curcumin supplements.
- Possible cancer-fighter. Curcumin has also been found to inhibit the growth and spread of certain cancers such as melanoma.
- Cardiovascular benefits. In animal studies, curcumin has helped regulate blood triglyceride levels and blood pressure, and it lowered cholesterol.
Whether in a juice, a curry, or something else you discover in your foodie explorations, try some turmeric this weekend. Your body, mind, and palate will thank you!
And, of course, for something a little weird…
Everyone’s familiar with the taste of pumpkin-pie spices in their coffee, but many inventive baristas are taking the spiced espresso beverage concept to exotic new territory with turmeric-spiced lattes. Check out this article and learn where you can find some tasty turmeric lattes in Los Angeles!
Happy Foodie Friday!
** NOTE: Foodie Friday exists solely for entertainment related to exploring the world of food, not diagnosing or treating illnesses, making substantial health or nutrition claims, or advising readers on matters of diet and lifestyle. Please consult with your doctor and other health professionals when considering making changes to your eating habits or trying therapeutic supplements!