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    Ask the Chef: What's So Great About Turmeric?

    By Julie Morris, Superfood Chef | March 30, 2015


    What's so great about turmeric?

    There's been a lot of buzz about turmeric lately, and for good reason: with studies linking it to the prevention of serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity, Alzheimer's disease, and arthritis, it's hard not to be at least a little intrigued! Let's learn more about this ancient yellow spice and why it should be on every health-conscious eater's spice rack.

    Turmeric is an orange colored-root, similar to ginger in appearance (it's actually a member of the ginger family), and best known as a curry spice. Inexpensive and readily available, turmeric is traditionally grown throughout India and China. Turmeric has one of the highest antioxidant values of any spice, plus it is full of fiber, vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, iron, manganese, and zinc.

    Yet most of turmeric's health claims to fame are derived from its extreme concentration of a phytochemical called curcumin. In the medical field, curcumin is a known potent anti-inflammatory agent, metabolic syndrome fix, and cancer-prevention nutrient. There have been so many studies about turmeric and curcumin lately that it's hard to keep up! A 2013 study published in the Journal of Pain Research found that 400 mg of curcumin was comparable to taking 2,000 grams of Tylenol, making it effective for pain and inflammation. Both a 2009 USDA Human Nutrition Research study and a 2010 McCormick Science Institute study concluded that turmeric is promising to help prevent obesity. Additionally, here are some of the most promising health benefits of turmeric:

    • Aids weight loss
    • Reduces soreness and muscle strain
    • Relieves arthritis pain
    • Controls high blood pressure
    • Cancer prevention (colon, pancreatic, colorectal, and cervical)

    It's no surprise that with properties like these, turmeric is quickly becoming a go-to superfood for health enthusiasts, and thanks to its intriguing floral flavor, there's plenty of ways to incorporate it! As a powder (it's most common, spice-rack form), turmeric is wonderful added to soups and curries, sprinkled in a veggie stir-fry, or added to rice. You can also find turmeric fresh in many markets, which can be grated into soups and sauces, or it can be juiced fresh and added to juices, smoothies and elixirs for an extra potent health experience. To reduce your chances of getting sick this spring, try my Immunity Juice, which blends fresh turmeric with carrots, an orange, ginger, lemon, camu powder and goji berry powder. You can't go wrong with all the amazing immune-boosting ingredients in this flavorful juice!

    For an even more convenient, turmeric on-the-go experience, I recommend packing Navitas' Superfood + Turmeric Almonds for a deliciously powerful snack! Chock full of curcumin, healthy fats, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein, and fiber, these fan-favorites are sure to keep you energized throughout your day.