Everywhere you turn these days, turmeric is being touted for its health benefits. Turmeric, an ingredient in this blend of spices, as well as tasty recipes like this grilled cauliflower side dish, is commonly used in India and China and has developed a reputation around the world as a superfood. That’s because curcumin, a naturally occurring chemical contained within turmeric, is thought to provide pain relief, reduce inflammation, fight heart disease and provide a more natural way to fight chronic health conditions.
Here are four ways that health experts say turmeric contributes to better well-being:
1. It Provides Arthritis Relief
The Arthritis Foundation supports the use of curcumin in fighting joint inflammation as a proven method to relieve pain and swelling in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Its anti-inflammatory properties seem to modify the immune system response and help in preventing inflammation.
Cold water fish such as salmon are also known for their ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent and recommended by professionals for those suffering from arthritis. Turmeric is a perfect companion spice when used with seafood. Try poached salmon with dill and turmeric for a healthy and flavorful main dish.
2. It’s a Germ Fighter
The National Center for Biotechnology Information reviewed a study showing curcumin contains significant antibacterial properties. Along with proving itself to fight some bacterial infections, curcumin also provided patients within the study with relief from inflammation due to infections.
Creating a Moroccan spice blend to use in soups or to give your favorite recipes a little more flavor is a simple and easy way to add turmeric to your diet.
3. It Boosts Heart Health
Listing several ways in which turmeric can offer health benefits, the University of Maryland Medical Center indicates that turmeric could help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Studies show the spice helps stop platelets from clumping together, thus preventing them from building up along arterial walls. There is also evidence that turmeric prevents plaque buildup, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
4. It May Speed Up Recovery
In an opinion piece written for TIME.com, physician Scott Haig describes the remarkable recovery of a patient who unexpectedly bounced back from surgery. The 73-year-old man used turmeric daily, and his quick recovery was accompanied by minimal pain. While there is not a proven correlation between his use of turmeric and his recovery, the physician viewed the connection as a positive sign of the spice’s superfood powers.
Give Turmeric a Try
With consensus among health-care professionals over turmeric’s health benefits, it’s worth adding to your diet in the recipes we mentioned and others you can get by typing “recipes with turmeric” in our search tool. You also can take it as a supplement. As a general rule of thumb, shoot for 500 milligrams a day for the best results.