30th October 2017

Embrace Turmeric – the Queen of spices

Not only does turmeric give curries a beautiful yellow hue, the nutritional benefits are endless.

Dare I say it, as students we often neglect our own health, focusing more on appearances than our precious internal system. We tend to be creatures of habit, quickly reaching for a painkiller or a glug of night nurse no matter our ailments. We are young, we lead a lifestyle we enjoy and embrace, but our bodies can pay for it at a later date.

All I am suggesting is a slight tweak, an incorporation of the yellow chalky power into our day to day routine. Unlike joining a gym or cutting out red meat, including turmeric into your diet plays no havoc with the day-to-day. Adopting this sunny spice into your lives takes little effort and will make your insides beam with happiness.

Sprinkle it on your eggs, add a teaspoon to soup, blend into a smoothie, mix with hot milk and honey, toss with roasted vegetables or make a turmeric tea. Traditionally used in curries for colour, its flavour is mild and unobtrusive so it can easily be added to a variety of meals/ drinks.

Turmeric, or Haldi as known in Ayurveda (Indian herbal medicine), has been used for centuries for its bolstering of the immune system, promotion of digestion and the circulatory system and its support of the brain and nervous system.  Tumeric contains curcumin which is a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

As a natural anti-inflammatory compound, it helps the body fight foreign invaders and has a role in repairing damage. It is believed that low-level inflammation plays a major role in every chronic western disease such as heart disease and cancer. Hence anything that can help fight the inflammation is important in preventing and even treating these diseases.

Anti-oxidants are beneficial because they prevent our bodies from aging and many diseases. Curcumin is a potent anti-oxidant and it also boosts the activity of the body’s own anti-oxidant enzymes, a win-win scenario. Curcumin has also shown some promise in treating depression. There is evidence that it can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.

On a whole turmeric seems a pretty magical spice. However, it is important to note the amount of curcumin in turmeric can vary and a lot of the studies conducted use turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin alone. Regardless it is a welcome addition to the diet and can be bought in any health food store or you can take a trip down Curry Mile. Turmeric powder should be stored in a cool dark place for up to a year. Be careful as it can easily stain clothing.

Thank me in 2040.

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