Superfoods - Turmeric
India is a country that has a very ancient and rich civilization. Our grandmothers’ practices and food habits are now being rediscovered as healthy and are being repackaged and fed to the world with research back up. One such “superfood” is the very humble spice that is a staple and must have in every Indian kitchen – turmeric. There can be no Indian kitchen that does not have turmeric in it. So why so much noise around this humble food product?
Turmeric is a rhizome that belongs to the ginger family. It goes by the scientific name Curcuma longa. It is native to Southern Asia and is used widely as a spice in everyday cooking, be it lentils, vegetables or curry in India and few other Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan.
The benefits of turmeric have been under the scanner for a few years now and there are a few thousand research articles that have studied the benefits of turmeric for various purposes. The benefits of turmeric are due to the presence of certain compounds call Curcuminoids in it. In specific turmeric has a compound called curcumin that is responsible for its many health benefits.
1. Potent anti-inflammatory agent
2. Improves brain function
3. Treatment of Alzheimers
4. Treatment of depression
5. Potent antioxidant
6. Treatment of Arthritis
7. Prevention of Cancer
8. Reduces risk of heart disease.
9. Lowers blood cholesterol
Most, if not all the diseases of the human body are linked to inflammation and free radical damage. The benefits of Curcumin are chiefly because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is the reason why its been shown to be beneficial in most chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease etc.
To reap the full benefits of curcumin its better to consume an extract of it or a supplement that contains this extract. The amount of turmeric that we normally use in our cooking is not sufficient to get the full benefits of it.
Turmeric latte is a term that usually makes me smile. Not because there is something funny about it but because I have memories of my mother giving me warm milk with turmeric and pepper in it most nights when I was younger. She would claim that it would keep me from falling sick. The tantrums I would throw to gulp this shot of turmeric milk were innumerable. Now I pick up a shot of turmeric latte from a fancy coffee shop since research proves its doing good for me. Listen to your mommas and your nonas people, they definitely are smarter 😊. So here’s a simple recipe to make your turmeric latte at home.
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Milk – 100 ml
Turmeric – 1 heaped teaspoon
Pepper – ½ teaspoon
Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp
Honey – If necessary
Heat milk in a saucepan with the turmeric, pepper powder and cardamom powder until it just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and strain. Once it is warm enough to drink add honey if necessary and enjoy when warm.
* The benefits of adding pepper to this is that piperine (active ingredient in pepper) increases the bioavailability and absorption of curcumin. Without pepper the curcumin will not be absorbed properly. Therefore to get the full benefits of the turmeric that you are ingesting, consume it with some pepper.
* I normally add the turmeric and the pepper to my smoothie everyday. And the taste is not overpowering enough to bother me. The taste of the other fruits and vegetables in the smoothie dulls the taste of the turmeric and the pepper just adds a bit of zing to the smoothie. Try and see how it works for you guys.