What's so good about turmeric? A look at the health benefits of the bright yellow ingredient

November 27, 2018

Our new Wellness tours offer the perfect balance of awe-inspiring destinations, rejuvenating activities, and healthy food experiences, helping you return home feeling even better than when you left. Each of our Wellness tours covers three important pillars: Mindfulness, Movement, and Nourishment. In this new blog series, we want to shed a little more light on exactly what this will look like once you embark on your tour. Here, a look at the nutritional benefits of turmeric.

In the Western world, turmeric has recently entered the health-food market with a bang: you'll find it in lattes, skincare products, supplements, and other foods and wellness products. But in Southeast Asia, the region to which the plant is native, the bright yellow root has long been an integral part of not only cuisine, but medicine, as well.

Turmeric is in the ginger family, and the part of the plant that is consumed is actually its root, which is boiled, then dried and ground into the powder most commonly seen at food stores and supermarkets (though the root is also sometimes used fresh — and whole — in certain dishes). Due to its distinctive — and vibrant — yellow colour, it's easy to tell when turmeric has been used in a dish even before tasting. It is a key ingredient in many curry powders throughout Asia and the Middle East; in Morocco, it is a cornerstone of the ras al hanout spice mix. The turmeric lattes that have recently become popular in Western countries may be more familiar to those of Indian and Pakistani descent as haldi doodh, a warm combination of milk, turmeric, and other spices.

In terms of its health benefits, turmeric is often touted as an anti-inflammatory; it contains high levels of curcumin, which might help with inflammatory diseases and conditions, though there is insufficient evidence that this is the case. Curcumin has, however, been shown to ease symptoms of hay fever, lower blood pressure, and pain associated with osteoarthritis. It has also been shown to further ease the symptoms of depression in those who are already taking medication for depression.

And there is research ongoing regarding curcumin's other health benefits: among its potential curative properties are the ability to decrease recovery time after surgery, ease menstrual pain, prevent diabetes in individuals with prediabetes, and improve mental function.

Even if you don't consume turmeric for its health benefits, it's delicious: it lends a slightly peppery mustardy flavour to curries, soups, sauces and some desserts. Not sure where to find it? Just look out for that bright, golden yellow hue.

Getting there

You'll be sure to try some turmeric-infused dishes on our Wellness India tour.

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