What’s Turmeric and Why Do Dieticians Love It?

Turmeric, a root from a plant in the ginger family, has been hailed as a health food by many. Two teaspoons contain 15 percent of your daily recommended intake of manganese, 10 percent of your iron, five percent of your vitamin B6 and three percent of both your fiber and copper. In addition to these nutrients, scientists have studied it for its myriad of health benefits. A component of turmeric — curcumin — has been linked to lowered heart disease and cancer risk and has anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, turmeric has been found to help balance blood sugar, alleviate pain from digestive disorders and arthritis, ease depression and aid cognition and kidney function! Even more studies have found it to help the liver, relieve gas and lower cholesterol. The list goes on and on!

Turmeric is frequently used to emulate the color of saffron, though it cannot be used to replace the flavor. Turmeric has a bitter taste that fits well as a curry seasoning ingredient. While you might not use huge amounts at once, doctors say you can include an unlimited amount of the spice in your diet.

It can be consumed in many, many ways, not just in curry! Add it to your vegetables, stir it into rice, use it to spice up salad dressing or mix it with almond milk and honey to create golden milk. There are also many recipes for tasty turmeric teas, many of which claim fantastical results. Turmeric is not a cure-all. It can help your health, but only a doctor can give you medical advice. Tea is hot, beneficial and is especially good for digestion but it’s not to be used in place of medications.

A study of 117 people with metabolic syndrome found that people who had one gram of turmeric daily had lower inflammation and blood sugar after two months. People on a placebo had worsened inflammation and high blood sugar at the end of the study. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of health issues that can add up to serious medical problems. This research is important to aid future health as one-third of adults in the U.S. live with metabolic syndrome.

Curcumin can interact with medications and may worsen stomach ulcers in some people. That’s why it’s important to speak to your doctor before adding something new to your routine. While turmeric might be beneficial to the majority of people, it’s not for everyone. 

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