The new year brings people to making resolutions that will inevitably make them a better or healthier person; with changes to diets topping the list for many. Healthy eating is the backbone to a highly functioning immune system, better physical performance and an overall better feeling about one self. When I first starting making sauces and soups, often I would be stirring a 55 gallon steam kettle and thinking that I felt a lot like a wizard making a magic potion. When you break down what cooking is really doing, mixing ingredients to make a flavorful dish seems too simple to be a magic potion; that is until you are sick with a cold and have a craving for some chicken noodle soup.
The ingredients that we choose to eat play a vital role in our health, and in healthy eating. Today I would like to discuss turmeric, a spice that has been used for centuries for its healthy attributes. Most commonly used as a basis in making curries, turmeric is very popular in Indian cuisine. Turmeric also lends itself very well to Moroccan, southeast Asian and Thai cuisines. Used as a heating function with a bittersweet and pungent taste profile, turmeric can be used in almost any type of cuisine with coriander and cumin matching exceptionally well. Adding this versatile spice to sweet chutney’s offers a great balance and tasty pairing.
One of the main reasons turmeric is so healthy is due to the curcumin, which is a natural chemical component in several types of plants. Curcumin has very powerful anti-inflammatory characteristics, which can be very beneficial to those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia or other chronic pain diseases. In a study conducted by the Journal of Effective Disorders, they discovered that turmeric helps show significant increases in a person’s mood and behavior, and can help dramatically with medications to improve depression. Turmeric also is a strong antioxidant, helping to strengthen our immune system. There is also evidence that curcumin can lead to better brain activity, lowering the risk of brain diseases and boosting Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. BDNF behaves with certain neurons of the central nervous system to encourage growth of new neurons throughout the body.
Turmeric offers an exceptional balance in spice, while adding a complexity of flavor with a certain level of sophistication to any meal. All things considered, turmeric has started to become known in the scientific community