“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
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I love curry! I think the complex taste is absolutely wonderful. It has definitely been a super huge pregnancy craving for me during these past eight months.
But did you know that turmeric, a major ingredient in most curries, is considered to be a super food? I have used turmeric for tons of different purposes from it’s medicinal qualities to just for fun.
Turmeric is so versatile – here is my quick list of 5 different uses for turmeric:
- Flavor enhancer. This should be a no brainer, considering turmeric is a common spice in Eastern cooking. It is popular in dishes with chicken, curry, lentils, and rice. People also use this handy spice in breads, pancakes, mustards, muffins, eggs, hummus, macaroni and cheese, veggie dishes, soups, in glazes for meats, desserts, etc. The possibilities are almost endless, as this bitter spice has a flavor that is mild enough to go well with both sweet and spicy dishes. I will add turmeric, local honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to freshly made rice for my daughter as a quick snack that is not only healthy but she loves the mild sweet taste.
- Daily Boost. This root boosts energy and promotes a healthy mood, so it is often added to breakfast smoothies. One teaspoon blends in with the other flavors, or you can add two teaspoons for a more raw turmeric taste. If you want the turmeric to be even less noticeable, add some coconut oil to your smoothie. Turmeric strengthens the immune system, helps with mental clarity, and can improve sex life. For women it has been reported to help regulate period cycles. It promotes a healthy heart, mind, and gut.
- Natural Medicine. Turmeric is a anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-cancer wonder drug (except without being a drug, which is the best part). It contains several vitamins and rich nutrients such as calcium, fiber, potassium, iron, curcumin, zinc, magnesium, along with vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C, and D. People have reported turmeric aiding in the fight against several gut-related issues, allergies, cognitive issues, skin conditions, cancerous tumors, colds, etc. Women have used it in combination with ginger, a root closely related to turmeric, to help with morning sickness. Turmeric can be taken in a capsule form for those who do not like the taste, but many herbal clinicians believe the best way to take turmeric for medical purposes is through teas and tinctures. If you do not want to make your own tea, I recommend Traditional Medicinals Turmeric Tea. Traditional Medicinals has been a long time favorite tea brand of mine, as they are not only organic but well researched in using herbs to heal the body.
- Natural Dye. Turmeric can make some incredibly frustrating stains, but with that comes it’s fun ability to dye things! From Easter Eggs to clothes, turmeric has been used as a natural dye for centuries. It creates a lovely golden-yellow hue.
- Natural Toothpaste. My daughter has cavities in her top, front four teeth. Being a first time mom, I did not know exclusively breastfed babies do not have to poop everyday. I thought something was wrong with her; when bringing this up to her Naval doctor I was told to give her watered down apple juice in a baby bottle since apples are a natural laxative. This was bad information, as the apple juice was not needed and the fructose (sugar) was bad for her teeth. As a result, her teeth came in yellow and got progressively worse. I didn’t know what to do, and this is when I really got into researching the benefits of turmeric. Turmeric not only helps relieve the pain caused by cavities, it can also help heal the teeth naturally. I have seen this first hand in my daughter. Before I started using a homemade toothpaste on her teeth, a dentist friend of mine told me her teeth would need to be pulled. Now, only one needs capped – the other three are almost completely healed. No pulling necessary.
Why is Turmeric so effective for so many things?
Turmeric is a nutrient rich root which means it has loads of health benefits. However, the main reason it is so effective as a medicine is because of a specific part of turmeric called curcumin. There are several studies on the effectiveness of curcumin (I will post a link for a collection of articles from PubMed below) against tumors, cancers, and other health conditions.
If your turmeric powder doesn’t have the curcumin content listed, it is probably 2% or lower, which means the spice you have is mainly meant for flavor. What you want is turmeric with a curcumin content of at least 3-4% if you plan to use it medicinally. I recommend using Organic Turmeric Powder which has a curcumin content meant for medicinal use as well as cooking.
I hope this encouraged you all to invest in the power of turmeric. It has been so useful for my family with a taste even my picky husband will tolerate for the massive amount of benefits. If you know of any other ways to use turmeric, or want to share your experience with using it in one of the ways I described above, please leave a comment telling me about it!