Food of the Week: Turmeric
Do you eat foods from India, Thailand or Morocco? If so, you've probably eaten plenty of this Food of the Week. Turmeric is a spice with a distinctive mustard-yellow color that's popular in the Far East, especially in curry-spice blends. It's a member of the ginger family and, like ginger, comes from the root of the plant. A key component of turmeric is curcumin, which has long been used medicinally in the east and has been studied in the west.
Especially when you consider that many of us with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome also have intestinal problems, it sounds strange to suggest a seasoning with such a pungent flavor. However, turmeric has proven effects that could make it worthwhile for us -- even those of us with digestive issues.
Turmeric is a proven anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, and some research shows it can boost your immunity. Researchers say curcumin attaches itself to cell membranes and stabilizes them, making it harder for infectious agents to get in. They add that eating it in conjunction with black pepper helps your body use curcumin more effectively. More and more researchers are looking into viruses in connection with our illnesses, and many experts say we should do what we can to shore-up our immune systems.
It seems counter-intuitive, but some research suggests that turmeric actually relieves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It may also alleviate menstrual pain and arthritis symptoms, which are especially common in us.
I love food from that part of the world, so I eat it frequently. I haven't specifically tracked any health effects, but I can say that I don't have intestinal problems from it. (If you have IBS or other digestive problems, however, go slow like you would with any new food.)
I haven't cooked with turmeric yet, but I've been trying to cook more often lately, so it's on my list of things to try soon. I went poking around the About.com Food Channel and found some helpful articles:
You can find lots more recipes containing turmeric on these sites:
Do you cook with turmeric? How do you use it? Have you added turmeric to your diet for health reasons? Leave your comments below!
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