You may think of turmeric simply as a spice added to food to enhance the flavour, but it is so much more. While turmeric is a major ingredient in Indian curries, and is used to give mustard its bright yellow colour, it is also a rich source of vitamins C, E and B6, and minerals such as potassium and iron. It has been used for centuries as a medicine and is widely known its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antioxidant qualities.
Turmeric has been in the news recently as research is now showing that turmeric can add relief when it comes to more serious conditions, such as arthritis and cancer. The National Institutes of Health lists several studies on the effects of turmeric and its chief component, curcumin. Recent research has shown that curcumin seems to delay liver damage, inhibit the growth of skin cancer, melanoma and, with pre-treatment, make cancer cells more vulnerable to chemo and radiotherapy. Epidemiologists have also hypothesized that turmeric is one of the reasons why India has such a low rate of Alzheimer’s disease when compared to the United States. India's rate is less than one-quarter of that of the United States in people aged 70 to 79.
You can add turmeric to your diet by consuming curries and adding mustard as a condiment to various foods, but there are other options as well. For example, you can add turmeric to a pot of soup or stew, as it adds a subtle flavour that most people find appealing. You can also drink turmeric as tea by adding one teaspoon of ground turmeric to four cups of boiling water, letting it simmer for 10 minutes, than straining the tea through a fine sieve into a cup and adding honey and/or lemon as preferred. Turmeric and curcumin can also be taken as supplements. Talk to your doctor about which option is best for you.