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tumericEveryone needs a little spice in their life, be it in the form of dancing, pursuing hobbies or special interests, travel, basically anything that breaks the monotony of day-to-day life.  All of these are good for our mental and /or physical health.  I have discovered some amazing benefits to adding a new spice to my life.  This spice can be found on the grocery shelf.  It’s called Turmeric.

Turmeric, also known as Indian Saffron,  is widely used in the traditional Chinese and Indian medical systems.  Turmeric contains an antioxidant called curcumin.  Curcumin contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties.  A completed study done at The University of Arizona College of Medicine found that turmeric may prevent rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, and can ease the joint pain associated with arthritis.  The study also suggests that turmeric may improve the inflammation caused by asthma, multiple sclerosis, and has benefits for liver health.

It is traditionally used as a digestive aid, because it helps digest fats by stimulating the flow of bile.  It has been used to treat diarrhea, heart burn, and flatulence.  In some laboratory studies,  turmeric kills cultures of human leukemia cells.  The more I studied about turmeric, the more health benefits I discovered.

Turmeric is safe for everyone when used in food preparation.  If taking a turmeric/curcumin supplement, check with your physician first.  When taken as a supplement, there can be side effects for pregnancy, those who have gallstones, or those with bleeding disorders, are on any type of medication, or have congestive heart disease.  As with all supplements, purchase only those from pharmaceutical “GMP” compliant facilities.  These facilities must adhere to very stringent manufacturing standards.  Other supplements can contain too much or too little of the ingredient, and can contain harmful contaminants as well.

When adding turmeric to food, a little goes a long way.  Its pungency gets stronger as it cooks.  It’s used often to add yellow color to food.    It goes well with chicken, turkey, salad dressing, vegetables, and rice.  Some people sprinkle a tiny bit in their yogurt.  If you are new to cooking with turmeric, I have included a recipe to begin your experimentation with it.  I encourage you to add some spice to your life and to your food.  Reap the benefits derived from this amazing spice called turmeric.

Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pecans

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cook Time:  15 minutes

4  Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shelled pecans
  • 1-1/2 cups couscous
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup thawed, frozen peas
  • 3 scallions, very thinly sliced
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1/4 cup shredded, fresh basil

Toast pecans in a shallow pan at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Combine the couscous, cranberries, and turmeric in a large bowl.  Pour boiling water over the mixture.  Cover bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.  Fluff the couscous with a fork.  Cover and let sit another 5 minutes.  Stir in pecans, peas, scallions, cucumbers, and basil.

Lemon Dressing

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Put ingredients in a jar.  Cover with lid and shake vigorously.

4 thoughts on “Spice Up Your Life with Turmeric

  1. I have also read that it is helpful in reducing blood sugars for diabetics–don’t know for sure.

  2. You are correct, Pat. In the process of my research, I read about how there is evidence that it reduces blood sugars and also reduced cholesterol and blood pressure. It’s just not used as a medical treatment as it is for arthritis and other inflammatory illnesses.

  3. I’ve been taking tumeric for years but I didn’t know about all the new health research and findings on the spice. Thanks, Pam, for your insight on the topic and thanks also for that great recipe. I’m trying it–looks delicious!

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