Turmeric – it’s that mystery spice – and while it might sound exotic, chances are you grew up eating it often - in the form of mustard. The bright yellowish-orange pigment and much of the flavor of mustard actually comes from blending turmeric with ground mustard seeds.
COOKS NOTES: Turmeric is an essential ingredient in both Asian and Indian curries, lending a bright, pungent flavor and great color. Turmeric is a rhizome, a root that grows at the surface, much like its cousin ginger. Take care when grating fresh or using powdered turmeric: if that orange pigment gets on your French gel manicure, just wipe it off with an alcohol pad and it will miraculously disappear! Milk helps to remove it if it gets on fabric and a little chlorine bleach can take it off of your cutting board.
KEY NUTRIENTS, PHYTONUTRIENTS AND POTENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS:
I first learned about turmeric in my acupuncture training, because it’s has been used for millennia in Chinese and India’s Ayurvedic medicine to reduce the pain of arthritis, menstrual cramps, indigestion and more.
Turmeric root concentrates a set of plant chemicals, called curcuminoids that exert profound anti-inflammatory effects in animal cells. A growing body of research is demonstrating that curcumin has powerful anti-oxidant effects, and helps protect against oxidation of LDL cholesterol. In addition, it supports liver detoxification and has been used traditionally to treat fatty liver, diabetes and heart disease.
Its most important role may be as an anti-cancer agent, suppressing the genes that trigger metastasis. It appears to normalize the cell’s cycle of replication and supports programmed cell death. Researchers around the world are racing to develop curcumin into the next blockbuster chemotherapeutic drug.
But don’t wait to start using turmeric at home! I’ll show you how - in my Red Lentil Dal, Red Thai Prawn Curry and Indian vegetable chicken curry, cauliflower rice and more. It’s also delicious in a soothing coconut milk drink, at breakfast or bedtime.
- Red Lentil Dal (Kitcheri)
- Red Thai Prawn Curry
- Indian Chicken Vegetable Curry
- Cauliflower Rice
- Curried Lamb or Chicken Meatballs
- Coconut Turmeric Tea