Every culture has its own spices and herbs that have proven to be nutritional powerhouses. As I write this article, I am preparing a vegetable broth with a few dashes of turmeric to stop a seasonal cold in its tracks as I believe in preventative health.
Turmeric — aka the 'golden goddess' — is widely known to be used in Pakistani cuisine and is my personal favourite. I try to incorporate it in as many creative ways as I can.
It is derived from the root of the Curcuma Longa plant, which belongs to the ginger family. Spicy and warm, it has a bold fragrance and is popular for its rich yellow-orange pigment. Turmeric can be traced back to ancient Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.
Benefits of the goddess
Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial agent, which is useful in disinfecting cuts, wounds and burns. It acts as an instant healer, prevents blood clots and aids the regeneration of new cells as soon as you apply it onto a wound.
Growing up, my grandmother would frequently dab some on my bruised knees and they would heal in no time. It also has analgesic action, which means it is a great pain reliever.
It is a potent antibiotic as well and can prevent infections such as E.Coli (bacteria that normally resides in healthy humans and animals, however, nasty strands from contaminated water or undercooked beef can cause severe infection, abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting and bloody diarrhea).
I personally love turmeric because it acts as a natural liver detoxifier. In our daily lives, we over consume and are heavily exposed to high levels of toxins,(chemicals/pesticides, water contaminants, heavy metals and food preservatives/ additives) via our food, air, personal care and home products.
These nasty toxins accumulate in our liver, kidneys, lymphatic systems and, especially, fat tissue. This toxic overload resists absorption of nutrients, carbohydrates and proteins.
Furthermore, it also reduces our body's oxygen uptake, which creates an acidic, septic and low-energy state, and leaves us prone to disease.
Using turmeric on a daily basis can help eliminate these toxins and reduce the overload, resulting in a happy liver.
Another incredible benefit of this powerhouse is its anti-inflammatory properties.
Since our modern diet is extremely rich in processed foods, high in sodium and rancid fats/oils, it causes inflammation and free radical damage in the body, which can overtime lead to inflammatory diseases (allergies, asthma, arthritis). It can also be linked to dementia, cancer, heart disease, obesity and depression.
Consumption of turmeric on a regular basis can help neutralise inflammation in the body. Furthermore, the antioxidants found in the deep yellow pigment can also eliminate free-radical damage and reverse symptoms.
According to research, turmeric has also been compared to be as potent as "over the counter drugs" like Motrin, Ibuprofen and Asprin (of course, minus the toxins and all nature goodness!).
Personally, I am also a huge fan of turmeric because it is a simple ingredient (without having to get too caught up in herbal formulas), that can significantly help balance blood sugar levels, maintain energy levels throughout the day and even better, stabilise moods.
As mentioned earlier, our modern diets, no matter how delicious are extremely high in rancid fats and cholesterol, which is not good for us.
As for cholesterol, there are two types, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) aka "the bad cholesterol" and high-density lipoprotein aka "the good cholesterol" ; rancid fats comprise of "the bad cholesterol". In most cases of hypercholesterol, anti-cholesterol drugs are prescribed.
Turmeric is a toxic-free herbal solution, which helps reduce cholesterol levels faster and more efficiently and in the long run, prevents hardening/ blockage of arteries and heart disease.
How to use turmeric
1) Spice it up: toss a few fresh vegetables (diced sweet potatoes, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, green peas, spinach or kale) with a dash of cold-pressed olive oil and turmeric, along with any other seasonings of your choice.
Roast on 400 degrees, toss once until done. And.. voila!
You have a snack/side dish or, if you are me, a dinner ready.
You can stir-fry these goodies as well!
2) Golden milk: This is an ancient Ayurvedic recipe that can be made in multiple ways.**
Essentially, it is any warm milk of your choice (dairy, goat, nut, rice or oat, I don't take conventional dairy so for me its homemade cashew milk, yes! I make my own milk with love), desi ghee or oil and turmeric paste.
To make the paste, simmer 1/2 cup filtered water and then mix 1/4 cup ground turmeric, stirring constantly until it comes to a thick consistency.
To make the golden milk, mix 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric paste with 1 cup of milk in a saucepan and cover for about 5 minutes.
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of ghee/oil before drinking.
You may also add other spices such as, cinnamon, ginger or black pepper or honey/maple syrup or stevia for some sweetness.
Store the paste in fridge for two weeks.
Ideally, drink before bedtime for a good night's rest and optimal healing benefits.
3) Turmeric tea : Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and then stir in 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.
Simmer for 10 minutes or so and strain before drinking. Add in a sweetener of your choice!
4) Spread it on your skin: Turmeric, the golden goddess has been known to reduce inflammation and itching, when applied to skin.
Just whip some turmeric with any cold-pressed oil (coconut oil, almond, castor or sesame oil) and apply.
Wash after 15 minutes. It will temporarily stain your skin so make sure you apply it on body parts you can cover easily or don't mind being orange for a while!
Now before you go and stock up on turmeric, make sure not to pick some random turmeric powder from the spice aisle and start sprinkling away and spreading on your skin!
The truth is, many of these spices are irradiated, grown through conventional methods i.e loaded with pesticides and are not organic.
If you choose to use turmeric, it is highly recommended you use the highest quality of ground or fresh turmeric to reap the best healing benefits!
(Courtesy : Dawn)