Turmeric is most well known as a spice that is heavily used in Lebanese and Indian food (at least in my corner of the world). It has a distinct, earthy smell to it and a bright orange-yellow color that surely must mean it’s loaded with goodies since the more vividly colored a food is, it usually means it’s also healthier.
Not only is this spice delicious in certain foods or as part of a curry flavoring, it also has some very potent health benefits, mostly because it is a powerful antioxidant as well as a powerful anti-inflammatory spice. The main reason behind its health benefits is the substance it contains called curcumin. One study recently showed that turmeric can actually relieve pain and inflammation better than a dose of ibuprofen if dosed correctly.
The brightly pigmented spice was used as a dye for centuries, as well as a spice for cooking. Its colorful presentation really lends itself to saturating other things with color. I remember one time I made some fried up cubed potatoes with some turmeric in them and wow did they come out really yellow, and only from using a bit of the spice too!
Interestingly, turmeric can also be used topically as a skin brightener because it’s so brightly colored and complimentary to the skin. Some women add this spice to their lotion or makeup to give their skin an extra glow, you just have to be careful because the consistency can come off a bit chalky if it’s not done right.
Turmeric has also been heavily implicated as a potent anti-cancer spice. Because it is such a concentrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food, it can target some of the main underlying causes of cancer before they occur. Many cancers are caused or aggravated (start growing) because there is repeated inflammation in the area of the body where the cancer started.
Turmeric calms inflammation and cell irritation, which can help prevent healthy cells from mutating into cancerous cells that won’t stop dividing. In addition, turmeric scrubs for free radicals, which lend themselves to cancer formation, so it acts like a free radical scavenger on a daily basis.
Also, it has been linked to faster wound healing and tissue preservation. So it may help keep skin cells healthy (hmm, I may start adding this to my face cream after all!)
Turmeric consumption has even been linked to a lower incidence of the scary memory-robbing disease alzheimers. It may just be for the same reasons that it helps prevent cancers and keeps you healthy, it’s simply a “super spice”.