I'm delighted that I've once again struck a health chord with my previous posts on the benefits of the time-tested Indian spice turmeric. It really is having its superfood moment - move over kale and avocado - the powerful saffron-coloured spice is in the hot seat. I use it so often that the tips of some of my fingers even have a rich saffron tint from peeling and chopping the root.
In Ayurvedic medicine turmeric is often referred to as 'Indian solid gold' and used to help curb inflammation and treat a wide variety of disorders from infections to stomach upsets and arthritis. Mixed with honey it forms a thick paste which can be taken orally for sore throats and colds and the sticky paste can be applied directly to the skin to relieve infections and skin concerns like acne and rosacea.
The active ingredient responsible for these and many other benefits is a group of polyphenol plant pigments called curcumin, which give the distinctive saffron/orange colour. Studies have shown how powerful curcumin is in the body as it helps protect against arthritis-related joint pain, inflammation, high cholesterol and so much more. Most importantly for us middle years folk, curcumin’s potent anti-inflammatory properties are believed to offer protection against age-related cognitive decline too.
If you are wondering how best to get your daily turmeric dose - try either of these simple and fast recipes. No excuses as they are SO easy to prepare and will fix you up for the day and well beyond.
Mix a fingernail-sized slice of grated fresh turmeric or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder with 1/2 tsp black pepper in a glass of warm water. It is thoughts that the pepper combined with turmeric helps prolong the activity of the turmeric in the body (although not sure if there is scientific proof to support this!).
Turmeric & Lime Tea
Mix a fingernail-sized slice of grated fresh turmeric or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder with a large slice of fresh lime. Top with boiing water and drink.