Saving the best till last! This yellow spice has earned itself quite the reputation recently, after being used in India for thousands of years medicinally. There are many quality studies into its massive benefits for the body and mind.
The active ingredients, curcuminoids, are powerful antioxidants (12, 13) – when consumed with black pepper, curcumin’s absorption increases by 2000%. However, curcumin is unique in that it boosts the body’s own antioxidant enzymes (14, 15).
Being highly antioxidative, curcumin is great at reducing chronic inflammation, which is a risk factor for many chronic illnesses including heart disease and cancer (16).
In fact, curcumin was proven more effective than pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs, but without those nasty side effects!
Curcumin also can improve brain function and risk of mental health problems (17, 18) and Alzheimer’s (19). It can boost cardiovascular health (20) and is more effective in treating arthritis than anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs! (21). Most impressive is turmeric’s ability to prevent cancer growth and even kill cancer cells (22,23).
The earthy, peppery turmeric can be grated or sliced fresh, for a bright taste, or for a milder, earthy taste used dried and powdered. It’s a common ingredient in curries and stews and in spice mixes. Make your own warm turmeric mylk.
What are your favourite spices, and how do you use them? Let us know in the comments!