Meet Ginger’s Cousin – Turmeric
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)is a cousin of Ginger – both roots have a long history of providing health benefits and are used liberally in Asian cuisine. If you partake of curry you are partaking of turmeric, the main ingredient in curry powder. Ancient customs associate the spice with fertility, prosperity and good luck. India supplies about 94% of the world’s turmeric.
Turmeric’s golden color is responsible for making the mustard in your fridge yellow and is used in India to dye Saris (traditional ladies clothing of India). The yellow pigment in turmeric comes from ‘curcumin’ – the active ingredient that packs a nutritive punch. Turmeric contains calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin C. It helps protect the liver from toxins, thins the blood by inhibiting platelet aggregation, aids the circulation, lowers cholesterol and improves blood vessel health. It has been shown to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. Turmeric has even inhibited the spread of HIV in laboratory tests.
Turmeric is best when used six months from purchase and should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Organic turmeric provides the most benefit because it is not exposed to potentially harmful chemical pesticides, herbicides and is not irradiated.
Turmeric should be avoided in medicinal quantities if you are pregnant, having surgery or have a biliary tract obstruction.
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