Turmeric isn’t just a spice used in food and drinks. The different parts of the turmeric plant are considered as different herbs in Chinese medicine and are used for their medicinal purposes in Chinese herbal formulas. It’s another example of food as medicine.
In more recent years, turmeric has become increasingly popular due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. When you hear about turmeric, you may have also heard about curcumin. While turmeric is a plant with the root used to make the spice, curcumin is the naturally occurring compound within the turmeric plant’s root. Curcumin is a carotenoid compound that gives turmeric it’s bright yellow color and is a strong antioxidant.
Turmeric or curcumin can be used to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar, decrease cholesterol, and decrease fungal and bacterial growth. The health benefits are numerous. Turmeric can be used in cooking, in drinks, or as a supplement. It is important to note that turmeric is better absorbed with a fat. Cooking turmeric with fats such as olive oil or coconut oil can help it get absorbed better by the body as it provides medicinal effects. When taking a turmeric supplement or drinking a turmeric tea, it helps to either take it with another supplement such as fish oil or foods that contain or are cooked with a little fat.
Due to the health benefits of turmeric, it’s a great food to incorporate into one’s diet.