Turmeric – Superfood of the Month
Description & Health Benefits
- Turmeric is a member of the botanical family Zingiberaceae which also includes ginger and cardamom.
- Turmeric, a perennial, is a common ingredient in curry seasonings and has a bright orange to yellow color.
- The turmeric rhizome, or root, is the part used in cooking and looks similar to fresh ginger root.
- One tablespoon of turmeric is an excellent source of manganese and a good source of iron.
- Manganese plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation. It’s also essential for normal brain and nerve function.
- Iron is utilized to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It also is needed to make hormones, connective tissues and is required for growth and development.
- Turmeric contains curcuminoids, which give turmeric many of its favorable properties. Curcumin, the main curcuminoid, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Emerging research suggests curcumin may be useful in many inflammatory conditions including metabolic syndrome, arthritis and anxiety.
- The curcumin in turmeric is not well absorbed. Increase absorption of turmeric by combining black pepper in your recipes with turmeric.
Purchasing, Selecting, Storing, and Preparing Turmeric
- Purchase turmeric dried, fresh or in supplements.
- Dried turmeric can be found in the spice aisle of the most grocery stores and fresh turmeric can be purchased at health food stores and Indian or Asian markets.
- If you are considering using a turmeric supplement, speak with your physician to ensure it’s right for you as some contraindications exist.
- Select fresh turmeric that is firm. Avoid rhizomes that are soft, dried or shriveled. Store in the refrigerator wrapped in a paper towel and placed in an unsealed plastic bag. Turmeric should last for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Prepare by peeling off the skin of the root and prepare as recommended. Turmeric is easily grated using a grater or can be diced into coins or matchsticks using a knife.
- Select dried turmeric with a vibrant color. Store away from direct sunlight, in a cool dark place.
- Use fresh or dried turmeric as an addition to smoothies, teas, dressings or as a seasoning in your favorite protein, grain, soup, or salad dishes. The possibilities are endless.
- Use caution when preparing turmeric as it easily stains hands, clothing and countertops.
(1 tsp. of dried, ground turmeric)
Protein: 0.29 g
Fat: 0.10 g
Carbohydrate: 2.01 g
Fiber: 0.7 g
Calcium: 5 mg
Magnesium: 6 mg
Potassium: 62 mg
Folate: 1.0 μg