With its gastronomic and medicinal uses, turmeric is increasingly used for those seeking a healthy lifestyle and diet. Discover what it is, its benefits and healing properties.
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What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the same plant family as ginger. It is one of the ingredients used in curry in Indian cuisine and produces a characteristic intense yellow colour, which comes from the root of the plant. It is native to southwest India, although it is widely cultivated throughout Asia. Turmeric is known for its medicinal and culinary uses, making it one of the healthiest spices there is.
Turmeric has a strong taste and an intense aroma, is somewhat bitter and spicy and has very particular golden yellow colour that comes from the curcumoids it contains. It is used in a wide variety of dishes from East and Southeast Asia, where it has been used for over 4,000 years. Followers of the macrobiotic diet use it a lot, but it is not generally very well known in the West. However, it is becoming more popular in kitchens and for therapeutic purposes.
Benefits of turmeric
Turmeric root and rhizome contain curcumoids and curcumins, a colourant with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It also contains an essential oil with zingiberene, polysaccharides and mineral salts such as iron and potassium. Turmeric, either fresh or in powder form, contains fibre, and also many vitamins: E, K, B2, B3, B6 and B9.
Curative properties of turmeric
In both the India and Southeast Asia, it is used as a general tonic and for therapeutic purposes:
- its antioxidant properties help keep the immune system in good condition.
- It helps improve digestion by maintaining cholesterol levels.
- It promotes healthy skin
Culinary use of turmeric
Turmeric is a very versatile spice that can be used in many of the dishes we eat daily. From sautées, soups, pastas, sauces and legumes or even adding it to an infusion or yogurt. It's not advisable to use too much since its powerful taste can mask the other flavours. A dessert spoon is enough to give a touch of flavour to your dishes. It combines very well with other spices such as cumin or pepper. In fact, black pepper increases the absorption of turmeric, due to the action of piperine.