What is Turmeric Powder and What is it Good For?
You've seen it on the shelves of your grocery store and probably your drugstore, too, so you might be wondering what is turmeric powder and what is it good for? Here is your guide to buying the spice and cooking with it, as well as buying diet supplements that contain it.
Judging from the scientific research and historical use, many health benefits are associated with consuming turmeric and dishes that contain it. But, the biologically active compound that it contains is called curcumin and like many other plant compounds it has limited bioavailability. So, if you are interested in the health benefits, you must choose your supplements carefully. First, we'll look at cooking with the spice and then we'll get to health supplement selection.
What is turmeric powder used for cooking?
The most common uses are to make curry, chutney and pickles. But, it is also used to flavor chicken, turkey, vegetables, rice and salad dressings. The flavor is buttery, but slightly bitter, with a hint of mustard or horseradish. When purchased fresh, rather than in the powdered form, the flavor is sweeter, more similar to ginger. The aroma of fresh spices is always a bit stronger. Ground discharged or powdered turmeric should be stored in an airtight container and protected from sunlight and heat. It begins to lose its flavor after about six months. So, unless you cook with it frequently, only buy small amounts at a time.
What is turmeric powder comparable to, as far as spices go?
It has been compared to saffron and is sometimes referred to as Indian saffron, but chefs would not agree that the flavor is the same. It can be substituted teaspoon to teaspoon for dry mustard and will add a deep yellow or orange color to anything that you cook. Use it sparingly while you are experimenting, until you learn to suit your own taste buds.
What is turmeric powder good for when it comes to your health?
It may reduce your risk of cancer. It can reduce inflammation and the pain associated with arthritis, colitis and other inflammatory diseases. It may reduce your risk of blood clots and reduce varicose veins. Regular wake may even reduce your risk of Alzheimer's. Research is underway concerning that benefit. But, there are some drawbacks.
Most of the supplements on the market contain high dosages that can cause indigestion and heartburn if taken on a regular basis. But, to help with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, it must be taken regularly.
If curcumin is combined with piperine, its bioavailability increases by 2000%, making high doses unnecessary. If the supplement is a tablet with an enteric coating, then curcumin is protected from the damaging effects of stomach acid and your stomach is protected from heartburn and indigestion.
Now that you know more about what is turmeric powder, you may enjoy cooking with it. But, if you want to get the most benefits to your health, you'll take a daily supplement that contains it.