Does Turmeric Really Deserve Its Superfood Status?

By author photo Jenny Craig Team

health · 09 Oct 18

My first experience of fresh turmeric was an absolute disaster. I had gone out and purchased the real deal, the yellow root from my Asian grocer and I was SO excited to try it. I got home, started slicing it up to pop in my NutriBullet and it just so happened that the same day I had treated myself to a manicure that morning (French tip, mind you). Ok, so you can probably guess what happened next. Yep, as I looked down at my beautifully manicured white tips, I suddenly noticed they had turned a murky shade of yellow… OMG. Panic. Sets. In. Actually, in all honesty reflecting back now it really wasn’t that bad, but I must admit I did have a slight #firstworldproblem moment. So, take note ladies, this is strong, powerful stuff and let’s just say that my nails never quite looked the same again. So, was this turmeric worth my nail spoilage and what really is so super about this superfood?

When we look back in time, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this ever-so-nice spice brings all things nice. Because when you look at the traditional diets across the world, there are so many good reasons to follow a traditional eating pattern, such as reduced rates of cancer across Indian populations compared to the Western world. This may have a lot to do with their intake of lentils, pulses and vegetables, but there has to be some magic in there somewhere with regards to all those lovely spices in their diet.

So, what’s so good about turmeric and why are turmeric latte’s suddenly appearing on every café menu under the sun? Well, researchers have discovered a compound in turmeric known as curcumin, which has been found in some small research studies to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. You see, curcumin is an antioxidant, and so it acts to protect the body from free radical damage. Some small-scale studies have also linked it with reduced joint pain and other health benefits. In fact, curcumin has become so popular that it’s now been formulated into high-strength supplements which are going gangbusters across the world. Now, although more research is needed, and a lot of the exciting data is based on animal studies, it’s an exciting time for turmeric and I’m sure we will learn a lot more about it in due course!

So when it comes to the cost, how does turmeric rate? Well, I’m pleased to share that unlike your acai berries and mushroom powders, turmeric won’t cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, you can buy a jar of turmeric from your local supermarket for less than $2. Talk about a good bang for your buck! It’s also good to know though that more is not necessarily better, just like most things in life. So, the best advice I can give you is to use turmeric in your cooking as you know best (for example in a delicious Butter Chicken) and why not try throwing some turmeric into your vegetable soup or your warm bowl of porridge in the mornings with a dash of cinnamon (to help balance out its kick).

On that note, if you’re looking for a delicious way to have your turmeric and eat it too, then why not try this delicious Golden Latte recipe. I’ll often have this as a little nightcap before I go to bed (far more healthier than a nip of scotch), and I’m sure that those amazing spices and warm milk helps me sleep a little better too. And before I go, I have to share this hot little tip with you. Black pepper, believe it or not actually helps turmeric’s ability to do its thing by increasing its absorption, thanks to a compound called piperine, so the pepper in this recipe is not just for kicks (pardon the pun). Enjoy and stay spicy guys!

Golden Latte

Serves: 2

You will need:

½ tsp turmeric (fresh grated or powder)
½ tsp fresh grated ginger
Pinch of cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and cayenne pepper (optional)
2-3 peppercorns
2 cups skim milk
Natural sweetener e.g. stevia

Method:

Toast the spices in a dry pan over low heat until fragrant or simply add them with the peppercorns to milk in a pot and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 2-3 minutes and strain into 2 cups. Enjoy!

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