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Posted on Feb 06, 2020, 4 p.m.

Turmeric has been dubbed as one of the most powerful and potent spices, but haldi, the cherished cousin to ginger, has been in every Indian’s household as the go to item for many centuries before becoming popular in Western countries. 

Turmeric is a staple root that has many kitchen and health uses, it is bright orange-yellow with a strong fragrance and earthy taste with a dash of citrusy bitterness and numbing pepper punch, the primary compound is curcumin which provides the yellow tinge which can stain.

The impressive beneficial potent arsenal includes being an antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, and anti-inflammatory which are all backed by science. The use of turmeric dates back to being embedded in ancient Ayurvedic medicine, and it has been cited to promote holistic health of the mind and body ever since.

The anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to help provide relief from arthritic pain in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, while the antioxidant properties fight free radicals that damage cells. Consuming this spice on a regular basis may help to provide some relief from mild joint pains and inflammation. 

Another compound called ar-turmerone within turmeric has been studied and found to promote repair in brain stem cells, these are the same stem cells that can help in recovery from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and stroke; curcumin is also suggested to help improve memory in those with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Those suffering with a digestion problem may find some relief by consuming some raw turmeric to aid in digestion, as the major components help to stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile and make the digestive system more efficient; it has been shown to help reduce the symptoms of gas and bloating. 

The natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties in this spice also make it a great disinfectant. Powder sprinkled to an affected area may help to promote healing. Those that experience heartburn or an upset stomach may also benefit from the healing properties.

The natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been found to help delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in those with prediabetes, helping to moderate insulin levels, and boost the effects of medication that treat the condition. It is recommended to consult with a certified medical professional before combining turmeric with any medications. 

Another compound called lipopolysaccharide within turmeric with antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties helps to stimulate the immune system. Just a single teaspoon of this spice in a glass of tea or warm milk every day can help to reduce your risk of catching a cold/flu. 

This spice has also been shown to help increase the production of vital enzymes needed to detoxify the blood in the liver by breaking down and reducing toxins. Turmeric helps to improve blood circulation and promote optimum liver health. 

To store fresh turmeric it should be placed in an airtight bag or container and kept refrigerated, where it will stay fresh for 2-3 weeks. You can also chop it into units and freeze them for up to 2 months as long as it is properly packaged to prevent drying out. Powder is best from pure and organic sources which must be in an airtight container. 

When you take into consideration the numerous health benefits this root spice has, it is worth adding to a variety of dishes to help improve your overall health and wellbeing. It can be added to smoothies, tea, milk, stir fry, salads, curries, rice, soups, and in any other dish you like. Supplements are available, but raw organic turmeric is considered to be the most potent and effective. 

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