Spotlight On: Turmeric

This golden spice has a long history of medicinal uses and health benefits. Its first appeared in Ayurvedic medical texts which recommended turmeric ointment to relieve effects of food poising. It is also mentioned in traditional Chinese medicine to aid with digestion and liver function, arthritis pain, and regulating menstruation.

Today, turmeric is commonly used to facilitate healing of illnesses and ailments including: heartburn, stomach ulcers, gallstones, inflammation, and cancer. One study found that turmeric worked as well as ibuprofen for reducing osteoarthritis pain. Curcumin is a chemical found in turmeric that may have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant properties. 

popcorn

Other highlights? Turmeric has shown to increase the absorption of DHA in the liver. DHA is an essential omega-3 fatty acid that is only found in meat, fish, and algae. Many vegans and vegetarians have low DHA which increases their risk of cognitive-related complications such as anxiety, attention disorders, and depression. Turmeric can help convert ALA - an omega-3 fatty acid found in plant sources such as flaxseeds, walnuts and some vegetable oils - to DHA to decrease the chance of deficiency for vegetarians. 

Rather than turning to supplements, the best way to incorporate turmeric is as a cooking spice. The benefits are based on the use of the whole, intact herb allowing all of its components to work synergistically.

Try or Turmeric Popcorn for an easy way to incorporate this super spice. Homemade popcorn is a great snack because it tends to be low in calories and high in fiber.

Ingredients:

• 3 tbsp popcorn kernels

• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for popping

• 1/2 tsp himalayan sea salt

• 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

• 1 tsp garlic powder

• 1 tsp turmeric

• pinch of cayenne (optional)

 Directions:

1.     Place kernels in saucepan with olive oil on medium heat

2.    Add spices

3.    Place lid on pan and let it pop!

Serves: ~6 cups