Using Healing Spices to Prevent Disease - Try Turmeric

Instead of focusing on which box has the "best" nutrition label, get into the kitchen and experiment with healthful foods that have been used for hundreds of years and can benefit your health in a multitude of ways.

Turmeric is a great place to start! This spice used in Indian and many other cuisines is considered to be one of the most powerful healing spices found in nature.

turmericThe active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Healers in India have used turmeric for many purposes including soothing the digestive tract, speeding wound healing, relieving headaches and clearing nasal passages. There has been research suggesting turmeric may be protective in many disease conditions. The benefits we focus on today come from turmeric's strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities.

Benefits of an antioxidant

Oxidation is a process that occurs in the body as a result of many factors including sun exposure, pollution, or diet. This oxidative stress can lead to low levels of inflammation throughout the body that will increase the likelihood of disease progression. Inflammation is associated with many disease conditions from arthritis to heart disease to Alzheimer's disease. Consuming antioxidants in the diet can be beneficial to reduce the oxidative stress and reduce inflammation. Brightly colored foods, such as many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that are beneficial for reducing this oxidative load and inflammation. In addition, consider choosing foods or recipes that incorporate spices that have these important health benefits.

Adding turmeric to your meals

The best known recipes that incorporate turmeric are curries. Though cuisines from all over the world use turmeric from India to Japan to England. One of my favorite recipes is Dahl Fit For A Saint from Rebecca Katz's The Longevity Kitchen. The spice has a ginger and orange scent with a bit of a peppery taste. It may be considered harsh when it is raw, which is why Indians will always use it in meals cooked.

You can use turmeric in many simple ways. Begin by heating oil in a pan and sprinkle in turmeric continuing to stir it so it does not burn. You should begin to smell it's aroma. If it doesn't have much smell your turmeric may be too old and should be thrown. Turmeric is not used best in dishes containing dairy as it tends to cover turmeric's delicate flavor. It can be a great flavor, though, in dishes containing coconut milk.

Add to a stir-fry with meat and/or vegetables.
Saute oil and turmeric with meat, poultry or fish.
Add to cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, kale, cabbage or broccoli.
Mix in dips or dressing.
Scramble in eggs.
Add to soups, stews or chili.
Heat before adding to rice.
Toss it with roasted vegetables.
Marinate meat for grilling.
Explore new recipes.
Don't be afraid to give it a try. Though finding a recipe you love may seem safer, you can expand your expertise in the kitchen by experimenting with different flavors and finding combinations you love.

Lynda Enright

Lynda Enright, MS, RD, CLT is certified as a Wellness Coach and LEAP Therapist who partners with women who want to look and feel amazing by helping them lose weight and reduce inflammation which can cause fatigue, bloating, acid reflux, congestion, brain fog or achy joints.

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