Do you know what Turmeric is? Grown right here in our Trinbago Islands and sold in our Supermarkets and Markets. The root is similar to that of the ginger, deeply orange inside and orange-tinged with beige-brown. It is a root obtained from the stem of a plant which is part of the ginger family. When ground, it produces the bright yellow aromatic powder and may be classified as one of the most effective nutritional supplements in existence and believed to have major benefits for your body and brain.
What is Turmeric
Turmeric is the main spice that gives curry its yellow colour and recently, science has agreed that it contains compounds with medicinal properties. It has a warm bitter taste and is frequently used to flavour or colour curry powders, mustards, butters and cheese but the root is also used for medicinal purposes. The most important chemical components of turmeric are a group of compounds called curcuminoids of which the most important is curcumin.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric and it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
The Nutritional Value per one tbsp (6.8grams) contains as follows:
Calories 24 *Daily % Value
Total Fat 0.7g 1%
Saturated Fat 0.2g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Potassium 172mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 4.4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.4g 5%
Sugar 0.2g -
Protein 0.5g 1%
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 3%
Vitamin B-6 5%
Vitamin B-12 0%
Vitamin D 0%
The % daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Turmeric contains bioactive compounds with powerful medical properties. The known contributing factor to many common diseases is chronic inflammation and curcumin can inhibit many molecules which play a major role in inflammation. It helps the body to fight foreign bodies thus repairing any damage which has been done.
It is believed curcumin has proven to play a major role in almost every chronic disease including heart disease, by improving the function of the lining of the blood vessels. In cancer it has been shown that with its use there was a reduction in the growth of cancerous cells.
Arthritis is another common disorder associated with joint inflammation for which we have heard time and time that there is no cure. However, many studies have shown that curcumin can help in treating the symptoms of arthritis and is more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
Curcumin has shown to have made various improvements in the process of Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the world and a leading cause of dementia. It is because of the various degenerative conditions, that we are willing to do and try anything that can assist in fighting inflammation which is important in preventing and even treating these diseases.
There is also the possibility that it can improve your memory and make you smarter because of its BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) levels, which is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. However this needs to be tested in humans.
Curcumin is also believed to alleviate the symptoms of depression as well as help in delaying the ageing process.
Please ensure to get the advice of your doctor before using Turmeric.
Along with its anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidant properties, turmeric can be used for everything from dying Easter eggs to whitening your teeth, as well as being commonly used in mustard to give it the radiant glow that it has.
To give you that pearly white smile, just sprinkle on your usual toothpaste and brush your teeth as usual. We have always been reminded to eat colourful plant foods like broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes and lentils, just to mention a few, because of their pigments associated with antioxidants which experts believe can protect our cells from being damaged and repair them. Adding turmeric to our food therefore, with its intense colour, makes it the magic ingredient to improve our health.
Adding approximately three teaspoons of turmeric to your soup will give it the golden colour and also enhance the flavour while you enjoy.
As a dandruff deterrent, you can make a mixture of turmeric and coconut oil or olive oil, message it into your scalp and leave for 15 minutes then shampoo and style your hair as usual.
You can relieve the pains of a sprain by making a paste using one third salt and two thirds turmeric, with sufficient water to make it spreadable. Apply to the affected joint and wrap, leaving on for 20 minutes to an hour.
People in Okinawa, the Japanese island nation make tea with turmeric and you can make your own and drink daily by boiling 4cups of water, add one teaspoon of ground turmeric and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, strain and add ginger and/or honey to taste.
Turmeric can also be used to dye fabric. Just add 3 tablespoons of the powder to a pot of boiling water, allow it to simmer for a while and you are ready to dye your fabric. You can even bake a Vegan Turmeric cake or make a Roasted Chicken Tandoori Dish!
You can vacuum pack turmeric powder for long storage however, you should not place it in a zip lock bag. You can also place it in a jar with a sealed lid but it is advised that vacuum packaging is best.
Fresh Turmeric can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled all you need to do is wipe it dry, if it is damp, wrap with a paper towel before placing in a zip lock plastic bag then refrigerate.