Turmeric-The Queen Of Spices

Surely you have heard of this natural seasoning, Turmeric, considered one of the best spices in the Eastern world due to its properties, used in curry and other eastern foods as a condiment, as well as a tincture and medication.

Nowadays Turmeric powder is being recommended as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, as well as to treat digestive disorders, let´s call it the healing spice for long life. So, let me invite you to discover the benefits and properties of this Queeny:

  1. The origin of Turmeric
  2. Turmeric properties
  3. Turmeric and pepper
  4. How to introduce them to your diet
  5. Conclusion

1. The origin of Turmeric

Turmeric is native to India and Southeast Asia, dating back to more than 4,000 years ago. Its incredible beneficial effects on health and to preserve food, together with its beautiful bright orange color linked to the sun, favored its symbolic and ceremonial use.

The word turmeric derives from the word Kartuma in Sanskrit, which later gave Kurkum in Old Persian, pronounced today kurkum or kharkum in Arabic. It was used as a spice, as a food coloring, but also as a cosmetic and medicine.

And just in case you wonder why its use is found in both traditional Asian and Arabic medicine, this is due to being exchanged during commercial transactions, a reason why it has been found throughout the Arabian Peninsula, as well as in the Near and Middle East.

The Turmeric plant requires a warm climate between 30 and 35°C, moist and well-drained clay soil or fertile sediments, and a pH between 5 and 7.5, growing in tropical and subtropical regions, mainly in India and Southeast Asia, and at altitudes between 400 and 1,000 meters above sea level. Also in India turmeric is considered ¨a symbol of prosperity plus a physical and spiritual purifier¨.

It has no waste, its versatility is incredible and will not cease to amaze you, so keep reading!

2. Turmeric Benefits

Turmeric is used in Ayurveda, a system of traditional medicine that originated in India, being practiced nowadays worldwide, which approaches health from a holistic, comprehensive, personalized, spiritual, and philosophical point of view.

Concerning its nutrients, the main active component of turmeric is ¨curcumin¨, a type of polyphenol known for its anti-inflammatory principles and antioxidant effects that I would like to show you:

2.1 Inflammatory activity. The root and rhizome of turmeric contain curcumin, coloring matter with clear antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The grayish-brown rhizomes on the outside are hard and scaly, while the inside is yellow/orange.

Curcumin has a great ability to dissolve in fats and stimulate the secretion of bile since it is not soluble in water. And what i´s great about it, it´s that it can be a good alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs (good efficacy and less toxicity), because it also allows acting synergistically with treatments that use anti-inflammatory drugs to enhance the effects and reduce gastric adverse effects.

2.2 Antioxidant activity is essential to mention as well because turmeric extracts can capture free radicals, protect cells against oxidative stress while repairing damage caused by radiation in proteins. They make it an aid against arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, or any inflammatory process.

2.3 Anticancer activity. There are different investigations and continue nowadays, which confirm the potential of the use of curcumin as a therapeutic agent to fight cancer. In a review published in 2007, its authors tried to determine the relationship between curcumin and cancer, analyzing the antitumor, anti-invasive, and anti-metastatic effects of it.

Epidemiological studies also show that those who consume turmeric frequently enjoy a lower risk of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer. And needless to say, how advantageous is for the cardiovascular system, as well as its contribution to neurodegenerative diseases and ¨Alzheimers in particular¨.

The disadvantage found is its reduced bioavailability, because when it´s ingested orally most of it is excreted without being absorbed by the small intestine.

What can we do to absorb it better? find turmeric a spice partner…

3. Turmeric and Black Pepper

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) and turmeric (Curcuma longa) are two spices of Indian origin that are used both in food and for their medicinal properties. You may still wonder what happens when turmeric and pepper are used together. Let me explain it briefly:

The grace of taking these two spices combined is that together they ¨enhance their health benefits¨. Piperine, one of the components of black pepper, increases the absorption of curcumin, present in turmeric, by our body.

Isn´t that great? Both spices together improve their action against inflammations, pains, help us lose weight. And in addition, they have antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties.

What else can you ask for!

4. How to introduce them to your diet

  • In general, it is recommended not to exceed 1.5 g of dry extract per day (half a teaspoon, or a teaspoon dessert if it´s grated fresh turmeric). As I mentioned before, what´s important to bear always in mind is that to enhance the intestinal absorption of the turmeric medicinal substance (curcumin) it is necessary to mix it with a pinch of black pepper, olive oil, or flax oil.
  • Turmeric can also be incorporated into coconut or almond milk, a green smoothie, or even an infusion.
  • Just remember how easy is to include black pepper and turmeric virtues within your life, since they can be added to various dressings, such as cooking recipes that contain curry to which we will add a pinch of black pepper. Both spices perfectly accompany the sautéed vegetables (and we will add them at the end of cooking).
  • Another tip, if you don´t want to add these spices to your diet, maybe because you don´t like their taste. You have the great option of taking them in capsules to gain all their benefits as well!

5. Conclusion

If you don´t know where and how to start from, here I offer you some recipes so you can be inspired easily, to add not only color to your life but also a lot of flavor and health with the inseparable anti-inflammatory couple: ¨The Queen of spices + Black pepper¨.

I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions, you can ask me anytime!

Love always,

Mónica :-))

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