Turmeric is a tasty spice that adds a burst of flavor to just about any savory food. If you enjoy Indian food, you’re probably already familiar with the spice. Most people don’t realize it’s more than just a flavor enhancer — it has a host of health benefits, as well. What can turmeric do for your health, and why do you need more of this spice in your life?
It’s Good for Your Heart
Heart disease is, by far, the biggest cause of medical-related death worldwide. Turmeric has been proven to help reduce and even reverse the effects of heart disease. Turmeric’s healing properties are due to the curcumin it contains — this natural antioxidant helps improve the function of the lining of the blood vessels. One study has even shown that a regular dose of curcumin is as effective as exercise in protecting your heart and cardiovascular system from deterioration and damage.
It Can Help Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
It’s important to note scientists are still studying this application for turmeric, but the studies that have been completed show a very positive outcome — turmeric, or more specifically curcumin, may in the future become a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. One of the most telling features of Alzheimer’s is a buildup of amyloid plaques, protein tangles that appear in the brain. Studies have shown curcumin can help clear those plaques and remove them from the brain.
We don’t know yet if turmeric will someday be a viable treatment for Alzheimer’s, but the applications so far show exciting potential.
It Can Whiten Your Teeth
Teeth-whitening substances often use harsh chemicals to make your teeth as bright as possible —sometimes damaging your tooth enamel in the process. You can use turmeric to whiten your teeth, in addition to making tasty food. Just dip your toothbrush in turmeric and brush with it, or mix it with coconut oil to make toothpaste. If you’d rather stick to your regular toothpaste, you can sprinkle some turmeric on top of your regular toothpaste to get the same benefits.
It Can Help Treat Heartburn
There’s nothing worse than getting heartburn after eating a spicy meal — or eating anything at all, for some people. Turmeric has been shown to help suppress acid production in the stomach, which can help to prevent acid reflux and heartburn in some patients.
Researchers are even looking at turmeric as a potential treatment for GERD — gastroesophageal reflux disease. Turmeric can help treat this extreme form of heartburn in two ways. First, as we’ve already mentioned, it helps reduce acid production in the stomach. Studies have also shown turmeric to have a variety of anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and discomfort caused by acid reflux.
It Can Help You Lose Weight
Are you having trouble losing weight, or keeping off the weight you’ve already lost? Adding turmeric to your diet could help change that. In mice, curcumin has been found to prevent fat formation and to help improve fat loss. It also has some thermogenic effects, meaning it can help improve and regulate your body’s metabolism. This effect does still require some additional study, but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers of some weight-loss supplements from adding the spice as an ingredient.
It is important to keep in mind that turmeric isn’t a weight-loss miracle cure — you will still need to eat better and move more to facilitate or sustain weight loss — but it can be a flavorful addition to a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
You Can Cook With It!
Full disclosure — we really like food, so being able to cook with something that gives us all these health benefits is just a bonus. Turmeric adds a depth of flavor to just about anything. A few ideas for you:
- Yellow rice — Take regular white rice and mix in some turmeric, cumin, butter and green onions for a tasty take on your normal rice side dish.
- Golden milk — Warm milk is good for sleeping, so why not add some turmeric to it? Combine milk with honey, coconut oil, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and a pinch of black pepper for a tasty bedtime treat.
- Curry powder — Make your own curry powder so you’ve got plenty on hand when you feel a craving for Indian food.
- Roasted cauliflower — Roasting your cauliflower is an excellent way to sneak some tasty vegetables into your diet. Add some turmeric to the recipe for a punch of flavor.
You can add turmeric to most savory dishes for an extra kick of flavor — just make sure you taste it before you add too much!
Turmeric adds fantastic flavor to a host of foods, with the added benefit of improving your health. If you haven’t started adding turmeric to your diet, what are you waiting for? Go pick some up and check out all the fantastic recipes you can make with it, while you’re improving your health at the same time.