One of nature's most powerful healers, Turmeric is an amazing superfood with a myriad of health benefits. Used for over 2500 years in India, the power of turmeric has been slowly revealing itself over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that it can be helpful in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.
Turmeric provides a wide variety of benefits, but there are seven standouts. Once you know about these seven benefits you’ll be eager to add the spice to your diet.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is known as a powerful antioxidant. This means it targets dangerous free radicals in the body and reduces the damage they are able to cause. When cells are healthy the body is healthy, which means turmeric offers general wellness benefits, as well as targeting specific health problems.
Curcumin also has anti-inflammatory qualities. This makes it effective for fighting heart disease, osteoarthritis pain, and other health problems related to inflammation. Researchers believe there are many links between inflammation and chronic illness, and curcumin is believed to reduce certain enzymes in the body known to trigger the inflammatory response.
3. Heart Health
Turmeric reduces the risk of blood clots and prevents the build up of plaque in the arteries, which helps in the battle against stroke and other clot-related problems. There are also studies showing turmeric is beneficial for reducing bad cholesterol and improving good cholesterol, both of which play a role in a person’s heart health.
4. Slows the Progression of Alzheimer’s
Researchers studying the effects of curcumin in relation to Alzheimer’s cite the health of those living in regions that consume turmeric in high quantities. People in India aged 70 and older have a much lower rate of Alzheimer’s disease than those in the same age group in the United States. Many believe this difference is due to the high intake of Indian curries, which are made with turmeric. Further research points to turmeric’s ability to remove amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain, which is believed to put people at risk for developing the Alzheimer’s.
5. Natural Painkiller
An article in the July 2009 issue of Time magazine points to a study conducted at the University of Arizona. Researchers found rodents injected with a material known to cause joint pain suffered less when the injections were paired with curcumin. The article also cites anecdotal evidence singing the praises of turmeric for fighting a variety of pain that would otherwise be treated with over-the-counter pain medication.
6. Skin Health
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory benefits can be beneficial when applied topically, too. It is considered an effective treatment for psoriasis and other skin disorders, and it is a natural antiseptic and can be used to treat burns and cuts.
7. Cancer Fighter
The jury is still out on just how effective turmeric is for fighting cancer. Some health experts point to its anti-inflammatory benefits and draw conclusions based on the link between inflammation and the development of cancer. Free radicals and cell damage are believed to be linked to cancer, too, so if turmeric is able to work as an antioxidant it has a secondary anti-cancer effect.
According to well-known holistic health practitioner, Dr. Andrew Weil, turmeric reduces the carcinogenic compound that form when meat is fried, grilled, or boiled by up to 40%. Dr. Weil also believes turmeric is effective for fighting melanoma and in halting the spread of breast cancer. There are also preliminary studies showing turmeric could be beneficial for preventing breast, prostate, skin, and colon cancer. Since turmeric is safe and offers a variety of general heath benefits, you have nothing to lose by adding it to your diet in moderate amounts.
Once you start using turmeric on a regular basis, it’s fun to find new ways to use it in recipes. My favorite way to use it is in a delicious Tumeric-Roasted Cauliflower Soup:
Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Author: Seeds of Compassion - Budding Vegan Blog
Prep Time: 10 mins Total Time: 45 mins
Yield: 3-4 Category: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free
6 Cups of Cauliflower Florets
1 Medium Chopped White Onion
3 Cups Organic Vegetable Broth
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Tsp Cumin
1/2 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Tsp Salt
3 Large Cloves of Garlic
1/4 Cup Coconut Milk
2 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro
Preheat over to 450F. Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a knife
Place cauliflower florest and smashed garlic in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil.
In a small bowl, combine the turmeric, cumin, sat, and crushed red pepper flakes. Sprinkle evenly over caulitflower, tossing well to coat evenly.
Place cauliflower on a lerge rimmed baking sheet and bake in center of the oven until browned and tender, about 25 minutes; turning the floret occasionally so they are evenly cooked. Reserve one cup and set aside for a garnish.
Meanwhile, heat a medium pot over medium heat, and use to sautee onion in a couple teaspoons of vegetable broth, until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the 3 cups of broth and transfer the remaining roasted cauliflower to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook covered on low for 15 minutes.
Use a hand blender (available here) and blend until smooth.
Salt and pepper to taste as needed, and stir in coconut milk.
Serve topped with roasted cauliflower and cilantro with extra coconut milk for drizzling.
Check out this video to see how it all comes together:
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
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