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TURMERIC the Majestic Golden Spice of Life!

DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE FIVE MAIN VARIETIES OF TURMERIC WHICH ARE USED IN AYURVEDA,WITH DIFFERENT HEALTH BENEFITS?

Turmeric, the golden spice, is a native of India and South East Asia. It has been used throughout India and South East Asia for thousands of years in diverse Indian cuisine, making pickles, milk drinks-lattes- the popular golden milk, as well as an auspicious herb in ceremonies and rituals.

There is no curry without turmeric! You will also find fresh diced turmeric root often served with Indian meals in every home and in restaurants in India.

Most notably, application of turmeric paste during wedding celebrations to the bride and groom, holds an essential place in the pre-wedding ritual!

Even today, in traditional Indian weddings, you will see pictures of brides with yellow turmeric paint being applied to their face, arms , legs and whole body, often with sandalwood to make her look most beautiful amongst all!

Turmeric has been used in various industries as an eco-friendly colorant, making paints, colours and dyes.  

More importantly, turmeric is an essential ingredient in many natural medicines and cosmetics used for the treatment of multiple diverse conditions.

People have taken turmeric daily for longevity, good health and wellbeing! No wonder Turmeric is so much in demand worldwide now, as it was in the olden days of Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome!

 

Have you ever wondered why Turmeric has become such a popular, sought after supplement today?

 

The Incredible Key Benefits Of Turmeric can be summarised as:

  • Maintain general wellbeing
  • Boost immunity
  • Fight against viral infections, help coughs and colds
  • Protect liver
  • Blood purifier
  • Detoxify the body by scavenging the free radicals
  • Have normal radiant skin / treat skin conditions
  • Prevent and Reduced inflammation
  • Reduce risk of heart disease.
  • Delays aging and reduces risk of age-related disorders.
  • Help maintain healthy cholesterol, sugar levels and weight management
  • Improves IBS symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome and other disorders

 

Turmeric is a major herb used in many important therapeutic formulations in Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, traditional Chinese and Unani medicine for centuries. Hindu tradition and the Vedas describe turmeric – haridra or haldi as a divine herb- because of its multiple health benefits.

 

Do you know why turmeric is such a unique health food with multiple health benefits? 

The wide array of nutrients in Turmeric:

Turmeric is now known as containing the highest amount of antioxidants compared to other herbs. The prominent antioxidant is Curcumin, a polyphenolic compound in the root, which is the primary pigment that imparts deep orange colour to turmeric. Curcuminoids are a group of many different polyphenol chemicals which impart the anti-oxidant action.

It is very rich source of many essential vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B6), choline, niacin, and riboflavin, and vitamin C which help with various energy and immunity functions at the cellular level.

Turmeric also contains good amounts of minerals like potassium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure and maintains the salt balance in the body.

Manganese is a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase which helps clean up free radicals. Iron is an essential co-factor for cytochrome oxidase enzymes at cellular level metabolisms and required for red blood cells productions.

 

Why should turmeric become an essential food in every household in the world?

Turmeric is one of the readily available, affordable herbs that contain multiple nutrients. That is why it could be the key herb to improve the health of all people round the world.

People worldwide have realised the enormous benefits to their health and wellbeing by including Turmeric as a spice in their daily diet and taking it as a supplement to boost their inner healing.

 

What is Turmeric and Curcumin?

Turmeric is the raw root or dried powder of the root. Curcumin is the orange yellow ingredient of turmeric which is one of the functional chemicals found in turmeric root.

Turmeric -Curcuma Longa - belongs to the ginger family- Zingiberaceae. Turmeric – called Haridra in Sanskrit and Haldi or Haldar in Hindi, also known as Indian saffron.

It is a small herbaceous plant with long green leaves and rhizome roots which look like ginger root but are yellow orange in colour.

The root rhizome is eaten as fresh salad or dried golden powder in soups, daals, curries, rice, deep fried and almost in every other savoury dish.

In Sri Lanka, the leaves are used in popular cuisine and curries. Turmeric is grown extensively in India and China.

 

Turmeric according to Ayurveda

In Ayurveda turmeric has at least 21 names, depicting its various health benefits!

The more commonly used are Haridra- “Golden yellow” spice, Mehagni- destroyer of Diabetes, Mangalprada- auspicious herb, Harita- brown green colour of the fruit- also divine, Anesha – one who has no superior, Dirgharaga- giving longevity, Nisa- to sprinkle, Laxmi- wealth giver! 

 

Do you know the phyto-chemical natural ingredients in Turmeric?

Curcumin, a polyphenolic compound in the root, is the primary pigment that imparts the ant- inflammatory and antioxidant effect.

However, turmeric also contains several essential nutrients including, fibre, protein, carbohydrate, healthy fatty acids as essential oil, vitamins and minerals.

 

Here is a nutrition is a nutrition table for turmeric, taken from the authentic FDA, a central reference point for nutrition of foods, herbs and spices which  you may find useful: 

 

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Nutritive Value per 100 g.

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle

Nutrient Value

% of RDA

Energy

354 Kcal

17%

Carbohydrates

64.9 g

50%

Protein

7.83 g

14%

Total Fat

9.88 g

33%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Dietary Fiber

21 g

52.5%

Vitamins

Folates

39 µg

10%

Niacin

5.140 mg

32%

Pyridoxine

1.80 mg

138%

Riboflavin

0.233 mg

18%

Vitamin A

0 IU

0%

Vitamin C

25.9 mg

43%

Vitamin E

3.10 mg

21%

Vitamin K

13.4 µg

11%

Electrolytes

Sodium

38 mg

2.5%

Potassium

2525 mg

54%

Minerals

Calcium

183 mg

18%

Copper

603 µg

67%

Iron

41.42 mg

517%

Magnesium

193 mg

48%

Manganese

7.83 mg

340%

Phosphorus

268 mg

38%

Zinc

4.35 mg

39.5%

 

When we make the 95% extract of turmeric a lot of these essential fibre and nutrients are lost. The pure curcuminoid is stronger in treating disease but may not give the full therapeutic benefit as whole turmeric.

 

Did you know that there are four main varieties of Turmeric used in Ayurveda and Indian food and drink?

 

The four main types of turmeric used in Ayurveda are:

  1. Curcuma longa- turmeric or haldi – the golden spice you all know.
  1. Curcuma zedoaria – karchuro – a white variety of turmeric with similar properties- often used in Chyawanprash ( the longevity tonic made with Amla Indian goose berry)
  1. Curcuma Amada- Amba Haldi- tastes like green mango – Fresh diced golden Turmeric root, Amba haldi, ginger and amla slices – Indian gooseberry, are served as a salad mix or preserved in brine. Together this provides powerful antioxidants and healing agents containing curcumin, vitamin C , sesquiterpenes, fibre, vitamin A and minerals like magnesium.
  1. Curcuma aromatica – Wild turmeric – similar to turmeric.

 

Have you ever wondered what ailments turmeric is beneficial for?

 

The simple answer is that turmeric is beneficial in many conditions.

This is backed by several authentic clinical research studies looking at the effect of turmeric on our cell DNA and our body’s inner immune and healing system.

The greater importance of turmeric lies in its power to protect the body from disease, to prevent illness, maintain normal skin beauty, normal blood vessels and cholesterol, improve circulation thereby helping the brain to prevent memory loss.

The main organs that turmeric acts upon are the blood, skin, heart, liver and lungs, in addition to the various physiological functions of cleansing, immunity and healing.

Turmeric is used for managing arthritis, diabetes- prameha- pre-diabetes and sugar control, obesity, skin conditions, digestive disorders, as a gut cleanser, blood purifier, mouth ulcers and gingivitis.

Modern research and clinical practice worldwide has established the main functions of turmeric as a powerful anti-inflammatory, natural anti - viral, and anti-oxidant for prevention of disease.

With these three actions, scientists say that turmeric may prevent damage to our heart, blood vessels and brain by reducing the plaque build up. It may prevent and help treat bowel conditions, joint degeneration and inflammation, reduce the risks of diabetes, high cholesterol and Alzheimer’s.

 

How can different combinations with turmeric help the Dosha Balance?

 

Kapha balance: Turmeric mixed with spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, helps pacify Kapha Dosha- warming up the body in stimulating metabolism .

 

It can also help recovery of muscles after exercise, relieving aching and stiffness. It can also make the mind alert and clear in the morning.

 

Turmeric is often mixed with black pepper or long pepper to enhance its bio availability and its effect on circulation.

 

Pitta balance: Turmeric used with cooling herbs like cardamom and coconut in lattes, and mint, amla, helps soothe acid and the gut, as well as any burning sensation in the body- Pitta pacifying effect. 

 

Vata Balance: Turmeric taken with nuts like almonds , cashew and a bit of ginger can help pacify vata and provide vegan protein nutrition.

 

Five ways in which turmeric works in the body...

 

How does turmeric help fight or prevent inflammation in your body?

Without being too technical, it may interest you to know that research has revealed that turmeric fights inflammation on a molecular level in our cells, by blocking NF-kB, a Nuclear Factor protein responsible for inflammatory responses within the genes as well as the production of cytokines which trigger inflammation in the body tissues.

NF-kB has also been linked to various other chronic diseases like arthritis and cancer.

Turmeric has been shown to reduce harmful bacteria in the gut and reduce inflammation by reducing the inflammatory chemical cytokine production.

 

Turmeric helps reduce oxidative stress on the body tissues

What is Oxidative stress? It is the damage caused by harmful chemicals called free radicals- which have a free oxygen molecule- produced by your body’s metabolism- that react negatively with your DNA, proteins, and fatty acids to cause premature aging and other disease.

Due to the chemical structure of curcumin, it can help to neutralize harmful free radicals.

 

How does turmeric help boost immunity?

Turmeric also helps to enhance the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes and stimulates your immune system – the different types of white blood cells - to fight infections by stimulating the antibody production and phagocytosis – gobbling up and destroying the germs that attack your body!

 

How can turmeric help viral infections and prevent cancer cells from spreading?

Curcumin has been shown in cellular research studies to prevent replication (multiplication ) of viral and cancer cell DNA, so these harmful cells cannot grow and multiply.

 

How can turmeric improve brain function?

By reducing the oxidative stress in the brain cells and increasing the level of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a hormone that has been linked to improved memory and decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Depression, turmeric may help maintain the normal functioning of the brain cells.

That is why one of its actions is said to be neuroprotective.

 

What is the optimum dose of turmeric for daily intake?

 

How much turmeric should you take daily? For how long?

2 Teaspoonfuls of turmeric powder a day is adequate for general wellbeing. Up to 3-4 teaspoonfuls a day in divided doses are safe.

You can add 1 teaspoonful of turmeric powder to your curries or soups daily.

Additionally, drink a turmeric latte one teaspoonful in 250 ml of milk (you can also use any plant based milk which has a little bit of fat e.g. almond milk).

Turmeric powder contains around 3% curcumin, compared to 95% curcumin in extracts.

The safe and effective recommended dose of Turmeric powder is 1-2 grams daily.

The safe and effective recommended dose of Curcumin extract is 500mg twice a day.

  • Curcumin 500mg – 100mg daily 

 

What is the best way to take turmeric for health and wellbeing?

Haldi dudh- turmeric latte is the time-tested way of taking turmeric in effective dose.

 

How to make a Turmeric Latte? 

 

Take one teaspoonful of turmeric latte powder in a large mug or jug.

 

Add 250 ml of hot milk. (Normal or plant based)

 

Using a hand blender, blend to create a luxurious froth and latte drink!

 

Add syrup or honey to taste.

 

Enjoy your health drink twice a day – morning and evening is the best time to drink turmeric latte.

 

How to use Turmeric in soups and other dishes? 

Add one teaspoon of turmeric to your soup, casserole or curry daily.

 

Conclusion

Now that you know more about turmeric, its health benefits and how it works in the body, it is time to implement and make it your daily ritual and feel the power of this ancient golden spice.

 

Tell us: Do you think that turmeric is one of the most powerful spices? comment below.

 

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