Do you know what gives American mustard its yellow color? It’s turmeric, a culinary spice that has been used, particularly in Indian and Ayurvedic medicine, for a very long time. In fact, an Ayurvedic compendium dating to 250 B.C recommends turmeric as a remedy to stimulate digestion. Two millennia plus later we have a strong body of research that shows that this root is probably the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent discovered so far. Let’s have some more turmeric in our lives. Come and cook with us!
Turmeric is a bright-orange colored root that is closely related to ginger. It can be used freshly grated, but we see it most often in the spice section. Turmeric is packed with more than two-dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin has an earthy, slightly bitter taste, a mustardy smell and is known for its potential to treat an array of diseases due to its wide range of biological effects such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti tumor, antibacterial and antiviral activities. And if all this weren’t enough, turmeric has shown to fight depression, too.
The easiest way to use turmeric is to add the dried ground root to curries and stir-fries. It can also be turned into a tea that is very common in other parts of the world. While the ground version is clearly more convenient to use, it’s worthwhile to experiment with freshly grated turmeric for a more vibrant flavor. It’s worth to note that adding a sprinkle of freshly-ground pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric. And while I’m no fan of supplements instead of eating the real thing, a turmeric supplement can be a great option although whole turmeric is more effective than isolated cur cumin for inflammatory disorders. And, golden turmeric tea tastes of so delicious! Come and cook with us!