Turmeric – the number one spice for what ails you- best spice award
I often get asked what is the best spice to start with for those individuals who want to make the first move in a healthful direction. What spice would you say is the most important one if you want to introduce just one ?. I answer turmeric for several reasons. (This is not to be confused with the first spice I recommend to introduce to infant feeding which is cinnamon.)
Turmeric with curcumin the main active ingredient thought to have food super powers- mostly from its anti inflammatory properties . It has been used for thousands of years in cooking. In the Geographic regions where turmeric is a food staple the populations have much less chronic inflammatory associated disease; heart, prostate, intestinal, and cancer. Turmeric acts as an antioxidant helping neutralize free radicals that cause damage thus slowing aging , keeping your skin elastic, and preventing harm to your cells.
Turmeric helps enhance your immune system. It helps fight disease and the associated inflammation.
Turmeric helps with everyday illnesses
In my line of work it is helpful in keeping the inflammation associated symptoms like pain, fever, coughing and congestion from viruses to a minimum while helping fight the infection.
Turmeric has a mild taste. A little chalky but it blends well and is not overpowering in whatever you put it in. Not real spicy. Main drawback is the yellow color which to me is sign of health but to children and those new to spices when visual cues are sometimes just as important as taste may be a problem. Try to begin its use in foods which have a color that masks the yellow.
Goal to introduce turmeric (curcumin) slowly to avoid developing an aversion from the child or adult. Start with 1/4 teaspoon slowly over the first week or two going up by 1/4 teaspoon per week for a goal of 2 teaspoons a day and even more when you are not feeling well or having aches pains or for specific conditions
When I feel like I am getting sick I double or triple my daily turmeric dose heaping portions at every opportunity .
How to use it?
I use it as often as possible and carry it with me!
My first recommendation is to add it to your version of chicken soup or vegan non chicken soup, yellow vegetables like squash, hash browns, even sweet potatoes. I also make a point of including them in any vegetable dishes and meats if you are not vegan. A parent recently said she adds it to pancake mix, grains, and eggs.
Turmeric is my base for all my meals to make sure I get enough throughout the day..
Any chance you get add turmeric to your food.
I put a quarter to half teaspoon in my morning tea every day along with ginger.
I put one to two teaspoons on my vegetable mixture for lunch
I sprinkle turmeric along with my spice mixture on salad or any dressing I use.
Even put it on pasta or quinoa .
All my soups I add turmeric.
I take a spice mixture in a small container with me whenever I eat out (with a turmeric base), And add it to salads, soups, vegetable and bean dishes, etc. Any where, any time I am ready to add my spices beginning with turmeric,
To improve absorption of turmeric
Add black pepper along with it to food. In tea add a little coconut milk. Adding a small amount of healthy oil or fat to turmeric helps absorption -seeds and nuts have oil in them and can be added to any dish to serve as a vector for turmeric absorption, as well as the overall health benefits from seeds and nuts versus empty oil calories. Also avocado is a good fat to mix with turmeric to enhance its absorption.
Turmeric has been shown to have benefits for all sorts of diseases and illnesses.
Latest studies and those currently under review are indicating very positive results and benefit from large doses of turmeric including inflammatory bowel disease, joint disease, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, autoimmune conditions , and even cancer . Please consult your physician or particular specialist before beginning any mega dose trial of turmeric for any one of these conditions .Doses at this level usually comes in a pill form and precise medical information regarding dosing is not widely agreed upon yet.
Brands and form of turmeric
Consumer labs has reviewed a number of brands of turmeric for safety regarding foreign substances, and contamination. In general it is better to have organic turmeric and even better to buy it and grind it yourself. Some of the organic brands for reasons that seem logical have a percentage of bug parts and some non organic brands have chemical residues. It is better to include turmeric in any form. But your physician, grocer, or health food specialist might be helpful in selecting a safe and healthy brand.
If you are going to add one food supplement in natural form to improve your health make it turmeric
Warren Krantz MD, FAAP