Since travelling to Morocco, North Africa and the Middle East, I’ve become some what crazy about spices!
I literally spent hours wandering the amazing spice markets in Istanbul and Marrakech, lamenting that due to various constraints, such as several months of back-packing with zero (and I mean ZERO) room in my pack, as well as Australian Customs regulations, I was not going to be able to bring them back with me.
Spices (and herbs) are great for so many reasons. Not only do they add flavour, depth, complexity and punch to cooking creations but they are jam packed with health benefit to boot!
One spice we use a lot (as testified by the slight yellow sheen that seems to cover my kitchen) is Turmeric.
Turmeric is native to Indonesia and southern India, where it has been harvested for more than 5,000 years. As well as being used to spice up curries with it’s peppery taste, it has long been used in both Indian and Chinese Medicine, providing many health benefits.
The main active compounds behind turmeric’s health properties are turmerone and curcumins. Turmerone is a ketone responsible for the largest share of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.
The better-known curcumin is a natural phenol that greatly complements the benefits of turmeric, as it possesses antioxidant properties, a savory aroma, and provides it with its distinctive yellow-orange or “golden” color.
A number of studies show that Turmeric could be beneficial in
- Relieving inflammatory pain
- Preventing the onset of dementia
- Lowering LDL cholesterol levels (more on cholesterol in a future post)
- Preventing atherosclerosis
And for those of you not keen on rummaging through reams of scientific data – here is the obligatory pretty picture that explains it – courtesy of Herbazest.
Don’t you just love Infographics?
Don’t forget to check out our Recipes for inspiration on how to get more Turmeric into your diet.